This dad posted the most badass baby changing photo you've ever seen, for the most unfortunate reason.
After three kids, my baby care skills are pretty on point. But this dad changing his son's diaper while balancing him over his thighs while squatting in a public restroom stall puts me and most moms I know to shame.
View this post on Instagram
This is a serious post!!! What’s the deal with not having changing tables in men’s bathroom as if we don’t exist!! #FLM #fatherslivesmatter clearly we do this often because look how comfortable my son is. It’s routine to him!!!! Let’s fix this problem! I Kaepernick drop a knee to this issue! @theshaderoom let’s show the innovation of fathers!
A post shared by Donte Palmer (@3boys_1goal) on
Father of three Donte Palmer shared the photo on Instagram, writing, "What's the deal with not having changing tables in men's bathroom as if we don't exist!!!" He also added a #fatherslivesmatter hashtag and implored Colin Kaepernick to "drop a knee to this issue!"
All joking aside, the fact that men's restrooms have long been bereft of changing tables is a serious one. Men who go out in public with their babies need a place to change their diapers. This is a no brainer. But for far too long, no one considered that fact and so men are forced to perform superhuman feats in order to safely clean up their kids.
Though frustrating, this issue highlights how societally ingrained sexism can come back to bite men in the butt.
The idea that dads would ever be out in public with their babies without their female counterpart apparently never crossed the mind of people designing public restrooms for decades. Women took care of babies, period.
The assumption that men would never need to change a diaper in public is rooted in the patriarchal idea that women are the sole caregivers of young children. That attitude has changed drastically in the past half-century as men have taken on a more equal parenting role, but the structures in place that cater to outdated gender roles still linger. And in this case, men are the ones who are being negatively affected by those structures.
Call it karma if you wish, but it's a good reminder that sexism ultimately hurts everyone.
There has been some significant change on this front. Kudos to those leading the way.
In 2016, Obama signed the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation (BABIES) Act into law, requiring all federal, public buildings to have changing tables in men's restrooms. (Thanks, Obama!) Notably, the bill was passed with a bipartisan majority in the House and passed unanimously in the Senate. Even the old dudes in Congress recognize the need for dads and other male caregivers to have a place to change a baby's diaper.
New York City also passed a bill in 2017 mandating that new establishments provide changing tables in men's rooms. The tide is definitely turning on this issue.
Now we just need all individual establishments to add a changing area to their men's restrooms—not because they're required to by law, but because it's the right thing to do.