Men told to move to the back of the shopping complex rather than use a perfectly good toilet inside the restaurant.
Controversy erupted online regarding a McDonald’s branch operating in the Kamio shopping center of Yokohama. The small location has been accused of “male discrimination” for its policy of only allowing women to use their single-toilet restroom during the main hours of business.
It began with a tweet by an unsatisfied customer which shows the entrance to the McDonald’s lavatory along with a note instructing male customers to use the public toilet located outside of the restaurant rather than the one right in front of them.
去年の末、上司に意見を伝えるよう店員に言っておいたマック(マクドナルド)の女性専用トイレ。 今日行ってみたら、まだ続いてました。 マックは男性差別企業なのでこれからはモスバーガーを食べようと思いました！ #男性差別 #マクドナルド… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
影夢 (@ME_OOQ) June 14, 2017
The tweet asks if this isn’t a clear case of discrimination against men leading many to agree in comments such as:
“This is not a courtesy to women. This is male discrimination.”
“I guess they don’t want male customers then.”
“There are toilets outside, so if it gets crowded anyone can use them. Why ban certain people?”
“If the genders were reversed, people would have clamored to have the store closed down.”
Of course, it actually isn’t uncommon for eateries and convenience stores to designate one-person restrooms for women. However those are typically right next to another one-person restroom open to either gender, and in my experience everyone just ignores those designations anyway.
Meanwhile, others have pointed out that the suggested toilet is only a 30-second walk away, and everyone should just relax. Still, what’s perplexing is that McDonald’s doesn’t seem to offer an explanation why they made this policy. Their sign simply reads as follows:
“Customers: Regarding the toilets used by men – During the daytime (6 a.m. to 11 p.m.) please use the toilet outside of the store indicated on the map below. During the nighttime (11 p.m. to 6 a.m.) both men and women please use this toilet.”
The reason for the time periods is that the outside public toilet closes from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. meaning the McDonald’s would have no choice but to let men use their restroom during the off-hours. A spokesperson for the Kamio shopping center also told J-Cast News that their tenants can manage their bathroom usage “at their own discretion.”
J-Cast also asked McDonald’s Japan directly why the Kamio McDonald’s don’t want men using their toilet.
“[The Kamio McDonald’s] has always considered the toilet outside of the restaurant to be the main toilets for customers to use. So, with regard to the private restroom in the store, that is used to address female customers’ needs such as cleanliness.
We are aware of the various comments on the internet regarding this matter. However, no actual complaints have been made by the actual customers of the store so far. After investigating the actual situation and customer feedback, we will review this operating policy.”
Speaking as a male, I feel somewhat conflicted by this explanation. On one hand, I too certainly consider “cleanliness” to be one of my “needs” in a restroom. On the other hand, having experienced public restrooms that were used by other men, I admit I may not be in the majority.
Unfortunately, as a male I also have little insight into the situation in women’s public restrooms, and my attempts to learn more have led to several arrests. My gut instinct tells me that men are more prone to leaving droplets of urine on the floor and creating buree-buree noises that could be heard clearly out in the dining area.
▼ Some men misguidedly think they can multi-task while operating toilets
But in light of this controversy, I realize that these are my own prejudices shaping an unrealistic picture of women, and probably the same is true for this fast food branch.
However, now that I am toilet-woke, I hope McDonald’s joins me in acknowledging that all humans regardless of gender have the potential – nay, the right – to foul up a toilet stall every bit as heinously as a man can.