The design and the politics of toilets

Handheld bidet, hand shower, push shower, toilet shower

Yet another example of a common hegemony of western design is: the toilets!

I need to wash my arms up to elbow—it is your lavatory’s design fault that it cannot contain the spill.

I need to wash my feet—it is your bathroom’s design limitation that does not allow me to comfortably do so.

I need to wash my face and neck thoroughly, often—it is your lavatory’s design fault that it cannot contain the spill.

I need to clean by bum with water after pooping—it is your toilet’s design problem that does not offer me this basic feature.

Do not point the blame of a wet toilet floor or a lavatory counter to the users alone. The designs are fundamentally flawed as well. The designs are rather continuously becoming more complicated with each new faucet having its own different twist, with zero focus on solving what needs to be solved.

This spring I was in Oxford, and they put up these signs in public bathrooms in various college facilities throughout the campus declaring them gender neutral and “inclusive” toilets (at least I saw such signs at Syed Business School, and Exeter College facilities).

There’s no issue with gender neutrality, but “inclusive?” Sorry, you are not inclusive. If you are not inclusive of more than half the population of the world who would want to wash their feet and elbow, and wipe and wash after pooping (not just muslims, hindus, buddists, protestants—washing after pooping is considered a fundamental practice of hygiene by entire Asia, Africa, parts of Europe regardless of religion) you are not inclusive of even the biggest demography, let alone minorities. Installing a simple handheld bidet is a bare minimum you should do regardless of whether “you” use it or not.

Meanwhile, dear East, discard the western designs that do not fit in your culture. Do your own R&D, build your own products. Why are you changing your habits and comfort zones to accommodate something that was not designed for you to begin with? 🤷🏻‍♂️

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