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When people speak about the glass ceiling of feminism they’re usually referring to job-oriented goals such as being a CEO or becoming president. But maybe, just maybe, the glass ceiling has actually been underneath us all this time — and has finally been conquered. I’m referring to the female requirement to pee sitting down.
Long have men reveled in their gender-specific ability to pee whilst standing — practically anywhere they choose. When camping, men simply walk off site and turn around, while women must find a dignified bush — uphill — to hide behind. Filthy rest-stop restrooms have never been an issue for men, whereas women have had to hover precariously or mummify the seat. And just think of our poor female soldiers and officers who must take off every single piece of equipment, every time nature calls. Well, no more. Now, women have the portable urination device.
Whether called a female urination device, female urination aid, stand-to-pee device or portable urination device, they all do the same thing — allow a woman to pee while standing, without removing her clothes. They vary in size, shape and materials, but the general concept of the portable urination device is pretty consistent across the board: a funnel which can be placed over the vaginal area to catch and direct urine. Some are hard plastic. Some are silicone. Some are paper and disposable. Some even replicate the male organ, for transgendered men still in transition.
This isn’t a new concept. Historically, in many cultures women would stand to urinate. Changes in societal norms and women’s clothing all but eliminated that practice in the 20th century though — particularly in Western cultures. Therefore, as early as 1922 portable urination devices for females were patented in the U.S. Recently the market has been flooded with various devices, as they are being marketed to everyone from avid outdoorswomen and female service members, to on-the-go women who don’t want to be bothered with worrying about the cleanliness of the nearest bathroom. They are particularly popular in Europe, where most of the devices on the market originate from. Here's a quick breakdown of some of the brands available, with their pros and cons.
If you want to go super low-rent, you can get a Blitz/Multipurpose Funnel from your local auto parts store. They function roughly the same as all of the fancy ones specifically made for women but for a fraction of the cost. The funnel is pretty long and the plastic is hard though, so it may take up more space in your bag than you are willing to dedicate.
The Lady-J has a large cup and short spout, and is made of malleable plastic which makes it easy to pack. It's designed as an adapter for the Little John portable urinal, which is why the spout is so short. The large cup makes for collection ease, but without the collection urinal, the short spout can cause a few dribbles.
The marketing on the She Wee is great: It comes in a discreet carrying box, is available in three different colors, has a detachable funnel for storage, and heck they even sell "X-Front" underpants to make placement a breeze. It has a small cup though, which can make collection a little less precise.
The Go Girl is made of super pliable silicone, so if folds down tiny — into a case the size of a pill bottle. This makes it discreet and easy to carry, but the pliable silicone gives the device a large learning curve. The Go Girl comes in two colors, hot pink and khaki — for the girls out in the field.
The Freshette has a large mouth, a long funnel and is hard plastic, which equates to simple use. It may not be as easy to pack and conceal, but it has a high likelihood of minimal dribbles. You can also get attachable collector bags, which would allow for use in areas with no restrooms at all (road trip, anyone?).
Lightweight and malleable end up being the pros and cons of this device. It has a small, shallow mouth which can hinder collection. It's antibacterial though, and has water-repelling qualities which make clean-up a snap.
P-Mates are by far the most easy to pack and carry — but they are also the most utilitarian. They are made of lined cardboard so comfort isn't much of a factor. With an open mouth and short spout they don't offer the best protection from splashing, but are quick and convenient when needed. P-Mates are disposable and are sold in packs of five.
^ You can also make your own portable urination device at home. All you need are scissors, waxed cardboard (like from a milk carton) and a roll of Scotch tape. The end result resembles the P-Mate in look and function, but would certainly do in a pinch.
With this final frontier of feminism finally conquered, there’s no telling what women can accomplish. Gender equality has at last been achieved — at least in the bathroom.