Basically the burden of public diaper changes should fall on all parents regardless of gender
Changing tables should be installed in every men’s room anywhere, ever. Bottom line. No ifs, ands, or butts about it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case — even in 2018, when dads are more involved in childrearing than ever. The fact that so many men’s restrooms are without changing tables is incredibly frustrating for dads as well as moms. Why? Just ask educator and dad Clint Smith.
Smith shared his grievances about the lack of changing rooms found in men’s rooms on Twitter. But more than that, he perfectly outlined exactly why it’s a huge societal problem in more ways than one.
Something that’s really bothered me since we had a kid is how few men’s restrooms have changing tables for babies.
It 1) further perpetuates the notion that the burden of childcare should singularly be on the woman 2) assumes that men are never out by themselves with their kids.
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) January 28, 2018
Yes. And YES. When my husband is out with our daughter — which is often, because he is a fully competent human adult — they are both often relegated to the dreaded Car Diaper Change. It’s not really fun for either of them, especially in the dead of winter.
And more than being an inconvenience for me & other dads, it’s mostly an inconvenience for women.— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) January 28, 2018
Not only is the social expectation that women should take care of diapers, clothes, etc but there are literally structural impediments like this preventing it from being otherwise.
Becoming a dad has really demonstrated how profoundly our society is both socially & structurally set up to make it so that the burden of parenting falls primarily on moms & is set up to let dads off the hook.— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) January 28, 2018
It’s million tiny things that continue to add up.
Sure, on the surface it’s “just a changing table.” But really, like Smith says, it’s so much more. Only having changing tables in women’s rooms just complies with decades of conditioned sexism and stereotypical gender roles. Aside from dads out alone with their kids, what about families without a mom, period? Or if an uncle or grandpa wanted to take their favorite little ones out in public without the genteel presence of the fairer sex? Christ, whatever would they do?
Smith’s thread resonated with plenty of parents on Twitter.
It starts off flattering then becomes quickly maddening how often people will act like you're Super-Dad for doing mundane stuff with a kid. "HANDS FULL I SEE!" "OH YOU'RE SUCH A GREAT DAD!" "BABYSITTING TODAY??"— Bill Black (@williamrblack) January 28, 2018
Raise your hand if you’re a parent and have ever felt instantly violent whenever asked this question.
The thing which astonishes me the most is not the number of places where they have no changing facilities in the gents (sometimes I get it, as buildings with old or cramped structures may not have the room or the layout), but the number which have no changing facilities AT ALL— Matthew Dupuy (@MattDupuy) January 29, 2018
Can't count how many gross floor changes I've done because of this. The other thing that really irks me is the praise I get for changing diapers when out with my wife, as though a rote task for women should be lauded for men.— Brandon Bilinski (@bilinski) January 28, 2018
My husband always made the point of finding the manager, while holding our child(ren), and asking what accommodations were being made for fathers who needed to do changes. And the mgrs were always surprised that any men cared.— LaureenH (@LaureenH) January 28, 2018
Another solution is just more “family” changing rooms, period, where any member of any gender can just roll in and take care of their kids’ business.
In one small step for children who need to be freshly diapered, New York became the first state to require all public restrooms to have changing tables. Here’s hoping more cities, businesses, restaurants, and public restrooms everywhere soon follow suit.