“All women have, at certain moments, wished that they could pee standing up, like men.”
You cannot imagine all the stunts and acrobatic postures a woman can ‘adopt’ when using a public toilet, in order to avoid the seat. Of course, there’s also the solution of covering in piles of toilet paper the filthy, germ-filled ring of horror.
The solution is here: Urinelle, a handy, disposable, sterile paper cone, manufactured by a Dutch company, employed as a urination funnel while standing up.
“I picked it up during my travels in Europe, and you could say it’s changed my life: earlier I used to be paranoid about using public toilets. But now, I can ‘stand and deliver’ — just like men — and occasionally, I even manage to whistle a happy tune.”, said Penelope Wong, a Hong Kong resident.
This paranoia about hygiene in public toilets is common amongst women. “Research shows that women hardly ever sit on a public toilet seat, preferring to hover or even perch,” said Orde Levinson, who has developed several ‘urology solutions’ products for women.
Urinelle is on the market in 18 countries across 6 continents, and faces competition from other similar products, like Whiz, She-Pee and Freshette.
The Hong Kong Toilet Association (HKTA) exhibited an array of ‘female urinal’ products to spread general awareness about female ‘hygiene accessories’. There were also, besides devices like Urinelle, female urinal stalls accommodated to women’s different physiology. “In the West, there are many such products,” says HKTA president Michael Siu, head of the Public Design Lab at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
The female urinal is developed “not only because of the functionality, but because of the underlying feminist sentiment: the notion that ‘we can do it standing up, just like men’.”
The Urinelle website (urinelle.biz) posts powerful gender-equality messages like: “All women have, at certain moments, wished that they could pee standing up, like men. Now they can!”. “But in Asian countries, these products have not exactly been, well, flush with success. Our exhibition drew a lot of curious people. But even among those who felt that these were clean, hygienic options for women, we sensed a certain resistance to change.”, said Siu.
But there is more. “There are some residual physical discomforts that women — even in the West — face when they have to straddle the female urinal. Perhaps with better design, they will gain great acceptability. On the other hand, ‘urination funnels’ may be particularly useful in developing countries like mainland China and India, where the levels of cleanliness in public toilet facilities for women is notoriously bad. Women who can afford it — each Urinelle funnel costs about $1— can store them in their handbags, and use them and dispose of them.”, said Siu.
Urinelle can have also a medical use, for cases of women with arthritis or mobility-impaired women, but also for outdoor activities like hiking.
You can see here how Urinelle works: