By Michael Nam
Actor Ashton Kutcher is known for playing a stoner teenager and a reality-television prankster, but he would also like to be known as a responsible dad. The celebrity posted his dissatisfaction with public men’s rooms for fatherly duties via Facebook, offering incentives for future changes.
Confining diaper-changing stations to only women’s restrooms tends to reinforce the idea that changing diapers is solely the work of mom. As Liz Dwyer describes in Takepart.com, she and her husband found themselves unable to divvy up their turns with this messy responsibility when out in public.
That’s when we discovered that most of the bookstores and restaurants in Los Angeles that we loved still saw baby-changing duties as women’s work. Men’s restrooms usually lacked a changing table.
She goes on to point out that the ability to share diaper duty during family outings doesn’t appear to be a priority for some when she notes that Governor Jerry Brown of California vetoed a bipartisan bill that would require changing tables in all public restrooms for both men and women. “At a time when so many have raised concerns about the number of regulations in California, I believe it would be more prudent to leave the matter of diaper-changing stations to the private sector. Already, many businesses have taken steps to accommodate their customers in this regard,” wrote Governor Brown. “This may be a good business practice, but not one that I am inclined to legislate.”
With Kutcher offering a free social-media promotion for businesses that have updated facilities for modern parents, it will be interesting to see if Governor Brown is right to leave it to the private sector in light of this Facebook post gone viral. However, sometimes it can be difficult to get businesses and organizations to make simple changes on their own regarding restrooms, as the transgender community could tell you.