The toilets are not female

I’m reliant on public conveniences this week due to my being on travel, and so my annoyance at the signs for “female toilets” is back up to a very high level. The toilets are not female. There are toilets designated for the use of female persons, but “female toilets” does not actually get that across. Why can’t we say something more like “Ladies’ restroom” and thus admit that one could wish to go into said room for more than just using the toilets themselves (i.e. washing hands, checking lipstick). I think this annoys me more than is sensible, but it does annoy me and it just seems a bit crass as well as grammatically illogical.

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7 responses to “The toilets are not female

  1. NFAH,
    In what way does “the act or process of dressing or grooming oneself, including bathing and arranging the hair: to make one’s toilet; busy at her toilet. ” (see dictionary.com) not cover washing hands or checking lipstick?

  2. I agree – the toilets are not female.

    Yesterday my 4 year old needed the restroom, and told me, so proudly, that she’d be able to know which door to go through, since she knows to look for the letter ‘L’. But the choice was Men or Women. Bah!

  3. They also had signs pointed towards a “Disabled Toilet”… was that the one with the busted seat???

  4. Rest room – you’d lie down in one and have a rest? Rather you than me!

  5. Rimfire, according to American usage you might also expect to have a bath while you’re there!

  6. > The toilets are not female

    I can’t see what the problem is. One of the definitions of ‘female’ in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. (online) is “appropriate to this sex” (i.e., appropriate to the female sex). So with this definition a ‘Female Toilet’ is a ‘toilet appropriate to the female sex’. I would have thought it odd if anyone would really think that a toilet produced ova and was able to bear young, just as it would be strange for anyone to think that in the term ‘swimming pool’ it was the pool itself actually doing the Australian crawl or the backstroke, or in ‘boxing ring’ it was the ring itself that was the combatant!

  7. If you’d had a Sharpie, you could’ve just inserted an ‘s’ and an apostrophe – females’ toilets.

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