Hotel Chain Accused Of Having 'Sexist Toilet Signs'

There are many inventive and creative ways to indicate the difference between women's and men's toilet, but Penta Hotels didn't use one of them.

A female guest wrote to the hotel chain saying they were 'stuck in the 1950s' after she saw signs on its toilet doors that suggested men liked football and women liked shopping.

"Why do you think the toilet signs below are acceptable?" Molly Bennett wrote. "Didn't know which to use as I'm a female that loves football.

"Despite your efforts to be a trendy, modern hotel with a PS4 and free pool table, unfortunately you're stuck in the 1950s when you think it's acceptable to put this on your toilet doors."

Credit: Mercury
Credit: Mercury

The signs seem to have caught the attention of other guests, too.

After 25-year-old engineer Chloe Hinder visited the Ipswich hotel, she raised similar concerns.

"I tweeted them at the time about it and spoke to the staff on the desk," Chloe said.

"I told them 'it's a shame you have a nice hotel and really trendy bar but it's really let down by that' and they said I was not the first person to complain.

Credit: Mercury
Credit: Mercury

"It's so subtle and I feel like it legitimises that kind of attitude. I found it shocking really - it suggests all women are good for is shopping while the men are going to the football.

"I would describe it as sexist. It's stereotyping men as well as women. In today's society why do you need to label everyone?

"It's like it's allowed because it's not overtly offensive which is more irritating - it's like it goes under the radar and then nobody is held to account for it."

Chloe Hinder also hit out at the hotel chain (Credit: Mercury)
Chloe Hinder also hit out at the hotel chain (Credit: Mercury)

And another 25-year-old, Elliot Howells, saw them at the Inverness branch of Penta in October while he was on a business trip.

"I could not believe in 2017 they were using football and shopping as identifiers of gender on toilet doors," he said.

"I thought it was entirely inappropriate given the place we are at today. It's archaic. If you are a five or six year old child forming your opinions - your brain is a sponge at that age and whether consciously or not they will associate those terms with those genders.

"It's a very modern hotel - the rooms are lovely and it has all the modern things you would expect but the message given out does not fit with that. Why not just have a door that says male or female? What's wrong with that? Why make assumptions about people?"


When asked about the signs, a spokeswoman for Penta Hotels said: "Penta Hotels is a modern and open-minded family who believes in diversity and equal rights.

"We, the penta-family, don't for one second assume that women can be reduced to just being interested in shopping or men in football.

"The signs were meant to be simple and light-hearted - offence was certainly NOT the motivator of our choice."

Featured Image Credit: Mercury

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]

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