Service of My Tax Dollars Being Wasted on a Name Change for WCs

April 3rd, 2023

Categories: Bathroom, WC


Image by Marcel Gnauk from Pixabay 

Have you ever heard the term “comfort women?” A hint: it was used during WWII. Still pulling a blank? According to Jake Offenhartz of Gothamist, these women were “conscripted into sexual slavery.”

Reality check: The war was over 78 years ago. But the parks department just realized that the term “Comfort Station” for the city’s bathrooms, was offensive. Offenhartz quoted the department that the reason for a change of name: It was part of a “conscious effort to champion and support human dignity.”

Do you really think that the department got millions of complaints about the Comfort Station wording? This is probably how these WCs got their name: Some poor schnook thought that he/she was being polite by using those words. And the term, according to the reporter, was used for decades before WWII and the existence of comfort women.

How much do you think it will cost the citizens in need of a break to see, effective immediately, “public restroom” or “public restroom building” on the city’s some 600 facilities as we’ve been promised? [And why pay for the extra word building? New Yorkers are sharp. We know a building when we see one.]

Offenhartz reported: “The term ‘comfort station’ has a negative connotation for some in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities, due to the term’s use during World War II as a place where women were forced to provide sexual services,” Mark Focht, the chief operating officer for the parks department, wrote in the March 16 directive.

“Beginning in the 1930s and lasting through World War II, an estimated 200,000 ‘comfort women’ were forced into Japanese military brothels, sometimes known as comfort stations. The system – which primarily relied on women trafficked from the Korean Peninsula, as well as other Asian countries – is believed to be among the most widespread examples of state-sponsored sexual slavery.” Admittedly, this was horrible.

Did you notice the word “sometimes” in the paragraph above? Am I being hard-hearted and insensitive to suggest that there are far more important initiatives this city needs to fix to impact the lifestyle of its citizens starting with housing and feeding the homeless, moving on to filling the potholes on almost every street and getting a handle on shoplifting and bigger crimes?


Image by Regan Theiler from Pixabay 

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12 Responses to “Service of My Tax Dollars Being Wasted on a Name Change for WCs”

  1. Nancie Steinberg Said:

    Nancie on Facebook: Interesting story about “comfort stations.” I had no idea.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Nancie,

    I wonder how many New Yorkers have heard the term “comfort women.”

  3. Linda Levi Said:

    Linda on Facebook:No, you’re not hard-hearted, and indeed there are plenty, and many would argue more pressing, things and issues that need to be addressed.
    But we currently live in a time where the real or perceived slights, depending on one’s perspective, of individual communities are being addressed more than ever and some maybe even for the first time.
    In my opinion, we can’t be the arbiter of “right or wrong” if not part of that community. What offends me as a female, as a Jew, as a granddaughter and daughter of Holocaust survivors, for example, may not offend others. Another example, my nephew attended Washington & Lee University that even considered a name change as the South began reconsidering statues and other honors that now appear outdated or inappropriate. Luckily, IMO, wiser heads prevailed and no name change happening.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Linda,

    Koreans represent 1.2 percent of the population of NYC and should be heard. I wonder if they were asked about the priority of this change and how many knew about comfort women–who would be called something else in the Koren language? Or would they prefer an initiative to help stop discriminating against and attacks on people of Asian descent or as you suggest, are we doing something wrong in another way most of us have no idea about of more significance and impact? Or perhaps NYC should spend the money to rescue people of Koren descent who may be homeless?

    Will more money be spent to create plaques for each public bathroom to explain the reason for the name change otherwise, what’s the point?

    I represented a client with a wallpaper pattern for a child’s room with letters scattered helter-skelter. Sure enough, they received a complaint from a mother that the wallpaper spelled out horrible words. Please. Should we call French Toast something else because toast isn’t up to the standards of French cuisine? [BTW this dish is called bread of the poor in French because it should be made with day old bread.]

    I think it is time we take deep breaths and get over ourselves.

  5. ASK Said:

    This is beyond the reach pale: the war ended more than 75 years ago! Most of those who remember the term have passed on. It’s time we move on…

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    Not only that, as I responded to Linda above, “comfort women” isn’t in Korean!

  7. lucrezia Said:

    Political correctness at its best! However, “comfort station” is not as distinct as “rest room” so I’m giving these do-gooders a pass on this one…. reluctantly.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    In nyc if they changed the comfort station to rest room some might move in to take a nap….

  9. ASK Said:

    They probably will anyway.

  10. Deborah Wright Said:

    No, you are not being insensitive at all. It is an old-fashioned phrase that is polite. People are taking issue with things that are non-issues. To spend the tax dollars to change the names is just plain goofy. Loved the comment that New Yorkers can recognize a building when they see one! Will it come to be a law that all restaurants in our country must remove “gents” and “ladies” as being discriminatory against transgender folks? Sounds more and more to me that the pendulum is swinging towards political correctness policing and censoring.

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Deb,

    In the day, an organization I belonged to filled a room at the Waldorf in Manhattan with corporations paying $10,000-$12,000 for a luncheon table that sat eight for a two hour event. The reason in my opinion? They could put a check on their list of “we must do” next to “support women’s causes” because women were in the title of the organization. I think that someone in NYC in charge of diversity was looking for a way to recognize our Korean neighbors.

    Glad you got my reference to buildings….My attempts at humor don’t come off most times. But really…..

  12. Hussein Ahman Uttah Said:

    EEK! That’s outrageous! I am never eating Comfort food again, now that we know what it means

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