When the Navy announced last week that, come 2015, it would be getting rid of urinals on all future Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carriers in an effort to make the ships more "gender-neutral," it might not have known that it was tearing a hole in the universe. Critics bemoaning political correctness and icky toilet seats took to their various media outlets, opened their mouths, and collectively cried, "WAAAAHHH!"
The Navy, however, offered a lot of really sensible reasons for the extinction of the carrier urinal. Without the cumbersome urinals installed in ship bathrooms, the Navy can easily switch the designation of any bathroom, which allows ships to adapt over time to shifting crew compositions. Since there's a limited amount of space on even the biggest of floating airstrips, the Navy figured having urinals just hanging off the walls was a tremendous waste of space. Women have only began deploying on combat ships since 1994, so this latest change aims to account for the nearly two decades during which male and female sailors have been roaming the ocean.
That, however, could hardly quell the chorus of critics within the Navy who worried that the Navy was just getting way too PC. Writing in The Navy Times, Steve Mcgaha fretted, "Navy is getting way too politically correct. Let's get back to protecting sea power...and get rid of the NANNY NAVY." Commenters in the article's discussion thread, according to the Atlantic Wire's John Hudson, proudly carried Mcgaha's banner, as if ripping out the urinals would somehow offset a carrier's ballast, causing it to sink just as soon as it pulled out of port. Taking urinals out of ships has absolutely zero impact on a crew or ship's functionality — men get by without urinals all the time, in their homes (if you have a urinal in your home, gross). Complaining that the Navy is getting soft because it's throwing out its piss basins is just a really clumsy way to sentimentalize a time when the Navy was an all-dude outfit and penises could spray their proud American urine standing against a wall, the way Paul Bunyan and Captain America did. Of course, some critics worried that men's room toilet seats would start getting gross (which is a legit concern), but others welcome the change for the simple pragmatic reason that there would now be less bathroom fixtures to have to wipe old pee off of.
The Revolt Against Gender-Neutral Aircraft Carriers [Atlantic Wire]