Thursday, 23 October 2008

Swedish toilets

I'm in Sweden, at this conference. Which I'm not going to talk about; instead I'm going to say that new Swedish buildings all have gender-neutral toilets (yayy), but what's strange is that they're announced as toilets by having both the little toilet man and the little toilet lady on them. Which got me to thinking about how strange it is that our sign for toilets is not, in fact, anything to do with going to the toilet, but a picture of gender - so that even when the toilets are not separated by gender, they are announced by a sign which means 'for everyone', but says it by showing a little man in trousers or a little woman in a skirt. As if 'men' + 'women' = 'everyone'. Which is kind of exactly the assumption that is opposed by many of the people who support gender-neutral toilets in the first place.

I mean, not that it's not great that the toilets are unisex. Just, isn't that interesting?

In other news, I've just found out from checking how to do a yarn over on Knitting Help that I have been a Continental knitter all along. Apparently the difference is which hand you hold the yarn in, and English knitters hold the yarn in their right hand (the hand holding the working needle, ie the needle onto which you are transferring stitches). Is this true? That looks so counterintuitive and strange to me.

I am still not quite sure whether I am doing the yarn over right. I guess we'll see when I'm a bit further along with this sock.

1 comment:

Beppie said...

I noticed that in New Zealand they have a lot of gender neutral toilets too, and yes, they also tend to use the little "man and woman" symbols.

I suppose that once gender-neutral toilets are more widespread, we might shift to a more motivated symbol that stylistically represents a toilet in some way. Hopefully, anyway.