Making men sit to pee: A new war on masculinity?

The Globe and Mail

Paradise for a man, hell for hygiene (rorem/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

First you had to put the seat down. Now you have to sit?

A Taiwanese plan that would force men to urinate sitting down, like women, for the sake of “hygiene” is not going down well with the chaps.

Stephen Shen (yes, a man), minister of Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration, recently spearheaded a policy that requires men to sit down while they do the deed in government buildings.

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“We want to learn from Japan and Sweden,” the administration’s director, Yuan Shaw-jing, told the BBC. “In Japan, we heard 30 per cent of the men sit.”

Earlier this year, Swedish politicians tabled a motion calling for genderless office washrooms with toilets only, nary a urinal in sight. They claim that sitting is cleaner but also helps men empty out their bladders more fully, which is good for the prostate.

The news elicited a predictably hysterical treatise from AskMen.com. “There is a war coming. Sweden is the aggressor. The victim is your penis,” wrote James Fell, insisting that peeing standing up is a very particular pleasure for men, not unlike opening pickle jars at the request of women.

The Taiwanese policy is inciting a similar reaction. “It’s a grand conspiracy to ensure ultimate victory in the battle to keep toilet seats down,” writes Ally Fogg at the Guardian.

“There is direct route from bladder to masculine prestige,” writes Mr. Fogg, headily recounting his primary school days when the boys held literal pissing contests in the loo, the ceiling being the target. He suggests a compromise: “Men won’t wee standing up in the bathroom on condition we are provided with a well-drained tree in the backyard that we can mark as our own.”

Most of the reaction has been gender divisive, but perhaps Taiwan’s edict should apply to women as well. I’m talking to all of you female hoverers: Your aim sucks, too.

Does the Taiwanese policy encroach on a fundamental element of masculinity?

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