Rolling Stones Urinals Get Lip From Critics in Germany
Women activists in the small northern German town of Lüchow are speaking out against a little tongue-and-lip action (or rather, lack-there-of) taking place in the men’s restrooms of the new Rolling Stones Fan Museum. The object in question? Lip-shaped urinals designed to look like the rock n’ roll band’s iconic puckered red logo.
The installations’ lack of tongues is the culprit behind the controversy, and it has caused a few mouthy critics to give lip to local and international press lending an ear.
“It’s discrimination against women,” Roda Armbruster, a local feminist, told the LA Times. She continued that had the urinals rocked the logo’s signature tongue, “‘it would have been acceptable,’ because the identification with the band and Jagger would have been unmistakable, she said. Without it, ‘it’s a woman’s mouth, not a man’s mouth,’” the LA Times reported.
And as a woman’s mouth, the act of men relieving themselves in the Rolling Stones-inspired replicas becomes misogynistic, critics claim.
“There’s been an outcry among the people — about a dozen women have complained to me alone,” Marianne Joensson-Olm, an equal-opportunities officer in Lüchow, told NDR, a Hamburg-based broadcast network, reports the LA Times.
Art designer John Pasche created the original Stones’ logo in 1971, inspired by lead singer Mick Jagger’s prominent pout. Yet it was a woman–Dutch artist Meike van Schijndel–who first repurposed the musician’s symbolic kisser into urinal form in the early 2000s, and TMZ reports that in 2004 Virgin Airlines pulled out the plunger on plans to install the lips in JFK Airport.
Van Schijndel, who calls the work “Kisses,” writes on her company website Bathroom Mania that the self-described ‘sexy urinal’ “transforms a daily event into a blushing experience! Works better than aiming at the fly! This is one target men will never miss!”
Nor will they miss the sight of the target in Germany, for in spite of the negative criticism museum founder Ulrich Schroeder insists the structures will be a permanent orifice in the men’s room.
“It’s art,” he told the German daily Die Welt. “It’s staying.”
Looks like the visiting men will have to muster up their best sense of (bathroom) humor and let the blushing commence–tongue or no tongue.