Restaurant chain Canadian Brewhouse is changing its bathroom signs after receiving a complaint that it trivialized violence against women.
The sign at the entrance of bathrooms at several Canadian Brewhouse locations featured a stick figure man climbing up a wall to peak at a woman.
Reanne Risdale, 29, first raised the issue and called the sign misogynistic. “That is totally not OK,” she told the Calgary Herald.
Risdale discussed the issue with the manager of a Canadian Brewhouse in Saskatoon. She told him it jokes about an illegal act and mocks serious issues like consent and violence against women.
“I think of all the things that have been happening in the media — the two young girls that were harassed online (and committed suicide), the University of Ottawa, Dalhousie dentistry, Jian Ghomeshi, Bill Cosby,” Risdale said.
The manager told her no one had complained about the sign before.
“He said, ‘If I don’t like the sign, maybe this is not the place for me,’” Risdale said.
“That is a very typical misogynistic, patriarchal response: I’m being too sensitive," she added. "For lack of a better word, I’m being an emotional woman; I should just leave.”
Marketing director for the Edmonton-based Canadian Brewhouse Karen Paulgaard said the company told managers to take the sign down the day after they received their first complaint.
“As soon as we heard from people and realized it was offensive to them, we just thought, ‘You know what? We don’t want to offend anybody,’” Paulgaard said. "That was not the intent of the sign. We’re just a real cheeky kind of bar."
Risdale is happy with the company’s response. “I think that’s fabulous,” she said.
Risdale posted a photo of the sign to her Facebook account and she quickly got a reaction. “I have a friend who was videotaped over a stall by a man in a public washroom,” one woman wrote. “There was nothing funny about that. Terrifying, violating, and horrifying are words that would be more accurate.”