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A U.K. Company Is Innovating the Toilet

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Jan 13, 2020

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Image Credit: StandardToilet

A U.K. company is redesigning the toilet by making it … a squat toilet.

Yes, that’s right. The humble commode joins the ranks of all of the other traditional Indian things the West has ignored or derided only to suddenly ‘invent’ and sell to the world — think tumeric lattes (aka haldi doodh), tie-dyed prints (aka bandhani), and Priyanka Chopra Jonas (aka Priyanka Chopra).

The redesign by StandardToilet calls for a seat to be set at a forward incline — providing some support, but ultimately requiring the user to squat to varying degrees; according to the patent, the seat would incline forward at anywhere from a 5- to a 35-degree angle, the latter of “which would be like perching on a playground slide,” notes Joe Pinsker at The Atlantic.

Hilariously, most of the online outrage over this make-over is dedicated to railing against the exploitation of the working class, who is expected to bear the, erm, strain of the new design. Indeed, StandardToilet, in an email exchange with Pinsker, claims the major improvement in the ‘new’ design is its decreased comfort; the semi-squat an employee must sustain while using the loo will encourage them to return to work more quickly, thus boosting productivity by cutting down bathroom time. (Oh, and reducing hemorrhoids, the company says.)

It’s a uniquely Western justification for a semi-squat toilet — forget that research suggests a squatting defecation style (oh, the things you Google for this job) is actually more conducive to a healthy clearing of bowels; the important thing is that time (in the loo) is money! But not your money! The “main benefit is to the employers, not the employees. It saves the employer money,” the toilet’s designer, a man named Mahabir Gill, told Wired UK last month.

While you mull over the creator’s name and wonder where the genius inventor could ever have found inspiration for a partial squat toilet, let me propose that the more important part of the previous sentence is “a man” — a man who (a) doesn’t understand that most women squat over Western-style toilets already anyway and don’t need the encouragement of a man’s sudden and sadistic brainwave to continue doing so, and who (b) has ultimately, in his wise capitalism, designed a toilet that people with female urinary anatomy will find impossible to use (which, I guess, is an even better way to maximize corporate profits — no bathroom breaks at all).

Let me break this down for everyone — most especially Mr. Gill — with the following diagrams, inspired by the style of the inimitable Kelly Conaboy and confirmed for accuracy by the all-woman team at The Swaddle:

Sitting toilet — works!

Illustration by Liesl Goecker

Squat toilet — also works!

Illustration by Liesl Goecker

StandardToilet’s ‘redesign’ at a 5-degree incline — works, but … meh.

Illustration by Liesl Goecker

StandardToilet’s ‘redesign’ at a 35-degree incline — will not work for a woman.

Illustration by Liesl Goecker

Color us shocked that a brilliantly innovative design by a man fails to take into account the needs of women.

It’s time to rebel, my fellow worker drones — especially those with female urinary anatomy. Leave our toilet time alone.

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Written By Liesl Goecker

Liesl Goecker is The Swaddle’s managing editor and has been living and writing in Mumbai since 2010. She is passionate about women’s rights, everyone’s health, and caffeine.

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