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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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38 Responses

  1. Andie
    Andie January 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm |

    Keep it Classy, Saxby’s.

    The ‘Limited to Saxby’s Customers Only’ disclaimer lends a little extra squick.

  2. Emily
    Emily January 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm |

    Nice… Another thing that makes me think ‘What was going through your head?’

  3. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil January 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

    The ‘Limited to Saxby’s Customers Only’ disclaimer lends a little extra squick.

    My thoughts exactly. Buy our coffee and you can be a peeping tom! Alternatively, buy our coffee and and be sexually harassed!

  4. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm |

    Oy. I guess I should be thankful that it isn’t a figure of a “man in a dress” looking over the side of the stall.

  5. Fran
    Fran January 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm |

    Wow! That is really creepy. I was assaulted by a stranger in a bathroom years ago and I would certainly be uncomfortable and possibly triggered if I saw that sign at a coffee shop. The Saxby’s in my town has bible verses posted in the bathroom, so I assumed they were one of those religious places like Chic-fil-A or a franchise situation. Makes you wonder what kind of management thinks this is funny.

  6. firelizard19
    firelizard19 January 12, 2012 at 3:27 pm |

    Whoa! I’ve never been to a Saxby’s, but I think we all agree that sign is creepy- definitely not going somewhere with that little taste and respect if it ever comes up. Anyone thought of contacting them and mentioning how offensive the sign is, and how having something like that up could really hurt their business?

  7. Nickeled
    Nickeled January 12, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

    Lovely. Glad to be able to cross one restaurant off my list so easily! Will be sharing this.

  8. number9
    number9 January 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm |

    Hey, there’s a Saxby’s by my office! I stopped in a few times on the way in to work but never noticed the bathroom sign. Will check tomorrow if their sign is the same. And needless to say, even if it’s not, I’ll be taking my business elsewhere.

  9. Unsolicited Commenter
    Unsolicited Commenter January 13, 2012 at 12:40 am |

    Yes, that is a bathroom sign that shows a dude peeking over a stall door at a woman. Very cool!

    How do you know that the “dude” is peeking? I don’t see anything that look like eyes, let alone open eyes.

    Anyway, long post, summarized: I think the above pictograph is open to interpretation and not necessarily creepy.

    Trying to understand what’s really going on…

    (Which is subjective, I know, but let’s try to get into the original artist’s head, okay?)

    One common unisex pictograph is a male figure and a female figure separated by a vertical line. (See the Wikipedia page for “Gender-neutral toilet.”) A vertical line (“|”) is a common symbol used for representing the “or” operator. Thus, the common unisex pictograph can be interpreted as “Male or Female” (or “Female or Male,” depending on the order). So, in the common pictograph, the intrinsic interpretation of the vertical line is that it is only a logical operator.

    Assuming that the above pictograph is based on the common unisex pictograph, the question becomes how one interprets the actions of the male figure. Also, the environment of these two seemingly now anthropomorphic figures is relevant to consider.

    E.g. Did these two figures just become alive/self-aware? How big is their world? Is it only two-dimensional? Perhaps the male figure wants to explore his new-found world, so he climbs up the vertical line to see what is on the other side. And, then he finds a female figure. So, what does he do next? Does he say “hi” somehow? Or, just climb on over? And, what will she do? How does she feel about seeing the male figure?

    In other words, consider the common pictograph as the first panel in a cartoon strip, and the above pictograph as the second panel. Thus, how one interprets the actions of the male figure could determine the female figure’s reaction in a conjectural third panel.

    Also, this graphic dates to at least 2005 and perhaps originated at a drive-in movie theater in Seoul (see flickr.com/photos/wili/83732757/).

    ***

    Now, using this in an apparently serious place of business, a “what were they thinking” response is more in order.

  10. igglanova
    igglanova January 13, 2012 at 4:23 am |

    ^ Lol, is this pretentious knob for real?

  11. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 13, 2012 at 4:58 am |

    @9

    HAHAHAHAHA

    Are you serious? Yeah, let us get all deep and linguistically analyze this peeping Tom sign.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA

  12. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 13, 2012 at 5:31 am |

    I don’t know Unsolicited. . .I actually clicked on your link and everyone on the Flickr thread thought the sign was depicting a Peeping Tom. So that seems pretty obvious. Not sure what you’re getting at.

  13. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated January 13, 2012 at 9:22 am |

    Small salads at inflated prices,now perv and purse thief at the ladies room door. Not my kind of place at all. Makes me think of Saxby Chambliss and bad governance every time I pass by.

  14. Xeginy
    Xeginy January 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm |

    This is awful. And way to feed into the already well-established bathroom fear, too. You know, the kind of fear that causes transmen and transwomen to be harassed or physically removed from bathrooms.

  15. Unsolicited Commenter
    Unsolicited Commenter January 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm |

    I don’t know Unsolicited. . .I actually clicked on your link and everyone on the Flickr thread thought the sign was depicting a Peeping Tom. So that seems pretty obvious. Not sure what you’re getting at.

    That link was mainly for noting that this pictograph has been around for a while. And thinking something means something is different than knowing something means something.

    Are you serious? Yeah, let us get all deep and linguistically analyze this peeping Tom sign.

    Yes, I am. My original comment was directed at the interpretation of this sign in the original post. Namely, the title of this post which includes “Sign Celebrates Sexual Predators,” which I find to be harsh, and even if it’s in jest, a bit inappropriate.

    So, in my mind, the question becomes, from a neutral perspective, is this outrage justified? Therefore, an independent interpretation of the sign is necessary. At this time, I find the sign ambiguous, so I don’t join in the outrage. And, I think it’s premature to boycott a whole chain just because of the actions of one franchisee who has not been given the chance to explain herself or himself.

    E.g., according to anecdotal comments from elsewhere, it seem that this pictograph is common in parts of Asia. What if the franchisee is from a place in Asia where that pictograph is commonly used for unisex restrooms? Could this just be a case of cultural misunderstandings?

  16. Donna L
    Donna L January 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm |

    So, what does he do next? Does he say “hi” somehow? Or, just climb on over? And, what will she do? How does she feel about seeing the male figure?

    This is hilarious. It has to be a joke. “Hi there, can I climb on over?”

  17. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm |

    This is hilarious. It has to be a joke. “Hi there, can I climb on over?”

    I just hate to imagine what our knowledge of Ancient Egypt would be like today if Unsolicited Commenter had been in charge of deciphering the hieroglyphics.

  18. infoqueen
    infoqueen January 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm |

    Could it be that “Unsolicited Commenter” = Sign Designer?

  19. Angiportus
    Angiportus January 15, 2012 at 11:19 am |

    xkcd it ain’t.
    And I’d not feel comfortable with a “cartoon” where only one party gets to explore the world and the other is seen as inert, perhaps even inanimate.
    We have all, for one reason or another, had unusual/idiosyncratic responses that differ from what everyone else seems to agree on. Sometimes it’s best to just keep the lid on those.

  20. firelizard19
    firelizard19 January 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm |

    @ Angioportus- I actually disagree. Even though I totally disagree with him/her on the sign interpretation, I think the odd interpretations people come up with of an issue shouldn’t be suppressed just because they disagree with the group. Like you said, we all think differently sometimes, and shouldn’t that be a good thing?

  21. matlun
    matlun January 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm |

    Do we have confirmation that this is for real?
    Someone thinking this was a good idea is almost too stupid for belief.

  22. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom January 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm |

    Sometimes it’s just too much effort to get coffee and be sexually harassed in the same day. Now I can do both in one trip! Thank you, Saxby’s Coffee!

  23. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm |

    At this time, I find the sign ambiguous, so I don’t join in the outrage.

    If your pictograph is ambiguous, especially to members of the culture it’s in, then you’re doing it wrong. If the overwhelming majority of people look at that and think “Oh, a peeping Tom sign.” and you meant “Deeply profound discussion of unisex bathroom procedure.” Then you need to rethink your whole approach.

  24. Maria
    Maria January 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

    You mean it’s now a woman watching a man pole-dancing?

  25. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm |

    How do you know that the “dude” is peeking? I don’t see anything that look like eyes, let alone open eyes.

    LOL. You think a more likely interpretation is that the staff at Saxby’s saw this sign and said, “this stick figure has just become self-aware and decided to explore his two dimensional world by crawling over a stall that is already occupied by a woman. How fascinating.”

    You nailed it, sparky. That’s exactly it.

    Y’all remember that guy who got caught filming women in the Starbucks bathroom a few months back? Which one, you might be asking.

    You find it ambiguous because apparently you’re completely lacking in any awareness of reality.

    Anyway, moral of the story – don’t pee in a coffee shop.

  26. Two Words: Rape. Culture. | Change Happens: The SAFER Blog

    [...] is why when I saw this photo, originally posted at Feministe, I was immediately angry because I know that most people who see it laugh. The owners that put it [...]

  27. Cara
    Cara January 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm |

    Namely, the title of this post which includes “Sign Celebrates Sexual Predators,” which I find to be harsh, and even if it’s in jest, a bit inappropriate.

    …as opposed to the sign itself, which is totally appropriate, even if it’s in jest?

    This has been Part Nine Kajillion in “Apologia: Up Is Down, Freedom Is Slavery, and We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia”.

  28. Francesca
    Francesca February 1, 2012 at 1:05 am |

    I have a few questions, I hope someone can elucidate. First of all, one of the critics levied at Unsolicited Commentor is that they are getting “all deep”. Now, generally, the idea of getting ‘deep’ is suggestive of getting closer to some kind of truth. Why is it used here as a criticism?

    Lotusben said “everyone on the flickr thread thinks it’s depicting harassment”, (implying that “everyone” is always right) and Angiportus said “We have all, for one reason or another, had unusual/idiosyncratic responses that differ from what everyone else seems to agree on. Sometimes it’s best to just keep the lid on those.” I find this a little bit scary. The gist seems to be that independent thought is incorrect almost by definition, or at least not to be taken seriously. Is feminism not all that compatible with independent thought??

  29. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 1, 2012 at 1:59 am |

    Is feminism not all that compatible with independent thought??

    Nope. You caught us.

  30. Francesca
    Francesca February 1, 2012 at 2:22 am |

    I don’t mean independent thought as a group independent of mainstream society, I mean as an individual.

  31. EG
    EG February 1, 2012 at 2:23 am |

    Oh, she knew what you meant.

  32. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 1, 2012 at 2:34 am |

    Alright, here we go for real:

    In cultures simple symbols are used to easily convey messages without the person being required to have too much foreknowledge. Simple symbols are accessible to many (like kids), where written messages are not. Now, like every other facet of culture they derive their meaning and worth from cultural context. If you make a sign, a symbolic sign like the one above, that says to the culture at large “Peeping Tom” then that is not the problem of the culture. An in depth reading of simple symbols is not required because of their nature. If this wasn’t meant as “Peeping Tom” whoever made it is doing it wrong.

  33. Francesca
    Francesca February 1, 2012 at 2:42 am |

    If she knew what I meant, why would she waste ( my definition) her energy typing that sentence? Seriously…?

    First of all, my initial questions weren’t about the sign, I thought I made that sort of clear. My questions were about the type of argument used to “shoot down” the Unsolicited Commentator, the ones I mentioned were implying that if one person thinks something, it’s wrong almost by definition. That’s the thinking I was questioning.

    ( Some types of feminists are against the signifier-signified link, ya know, they think it’s more progressive to do symbols wrong…)

  34. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 1, 2012 at 3:16 am |

    That doesn’t change their meaning here, unless explicitly stated to be a challenge the symbols will be read in the cultural context. You can play with them and change them up all you want, but the context remains. What you’re playing with is the meaning that the culture gives the symbol and subverting the assumption most people have because of the given meaning for the fucking symbol. Also, I sincerely fucking doubt that’s what is going on with this sign, you know the fucking sign from the article?

    I typed that sentence because your assumption that everything needs a fucking meta analysis is fucking ridiculous and dare tell people off for denying some asshole the fun of dragging the obvious into the dense undergrowth of intellectual self servicing. I wasn’t shutting down the comment, I was saying it was stupid and needless and wrong because it was all of those things.

  35. Francesca
    Francesca February 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm |

    You’re *that* sure you know what my assumptions are?

    I’m not saying “everything” needs a meta analysis, this is another thing I don’t get about the everything-is-always-polticial mindset, that what one person says is assumed to be like a prescription for everyone. There’s no such thing as everyone. Having written that, though, maybe life would be better if people got a little more meta, I don’t know.

    I would question the idea that there is a single context, also. I’m not saying that there isn’t a certain amount of overlap in how people look at things, but it’s not a sure thing. I know for a fact that one person’s obvious is another person’s “what?”

    You’re stil not addressing my point about the argument that was used against the Unsolicited Commentor. Are you saying that, since the person is a jerk, whatever argument you against them is fine? I feel like the “everyone thinks you’re wrong so you are wrong” argument can have really bad repercussions.

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