Several of the eco-friendly urinals have been placed in public spots in recent months as an experiment to counter Paris’s problem of urine-soaked pavements.
But protesters in recent days targeted two on the Île Saint-Louis and near Gare de Lyon station – plastering them with stained sanitary towels and tampons, then blocking them with concrete.
Notes left behind attacked Paris authorities for encouraging men to unzip and relieve themselves without cover in open public spaces – even though public breastfeeding still elicits scorn.
“These urinals are designed to comfort men and reinforce the idea that women aren’t welcome in the public space. It is discrimination and reinforces the stereotypical, sexist idea that men can’t control themselves in any way, including their bladders.”
Police handed out 5,000 fines to people caught urinating against walls or on pavements in Paris in the first half of 2018 – almost all men. But with 450 self-cleaning public toilets across the city, many open 24 hours a day, feminists said the extra public urinals specifically for men were sexist and unnecessary.
It is an interesting dilemma. It is a legitimate issue that people – almost all men – are pissing all over the city. So city officials try something that it targeting the problem: men. But that’s viewed as sexist. Because it is. Because men are the problem.