Ashton Kutcher Asks: Dude, Where Should I Change My Baby's Diaper?
Thanks to the birth of his daughter Wyatt Isabelle last October, actor Ashton Kutcher has discovered a harsh parenting reality—and we’re not talking about a lack of sleep and how expensive paying for a date-night babysitter can be.
“There are NEVER diaper changing stations in mens public restrooms. The first public men's room that I go into that has one gets a free shout out on my FB page! #BeTheChange," Kutcher wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
The actor’s post seems to have touched a nerve with his followers on the social media platform. A typical post from Kutcher gets about ten or twenty thousand Facebook likes. But as of this writing, more than 208,000 people have liked this status update, and there are more than 7,700 comments. While some people are weighing in to suggest that Kutcher visit a specific restaurant in their town that has a baby-changing station, there are plenty of "right on"–type comments from moms and dads also fed up with the diaper double standard.
Although dads are increasingly involved in the care of children, some restaurants and stores haven’t caught up with the times. These days baby showers are often thrown for both parents, and some modern guys throw “man showers” for friends who are about to become fathers. After the baby arrives, about 90 percent of dads change diapers, and those who don’t are labeled “deadbeats.”
Last fall, however, Jerry Brown, the governor of California—where Kutcher and his wife, actor Mila Kunis, reside—vetoed two bills that would’ve made it easier for parents to change their children’s diapers. One of the bills would have required changing tables in both men’s and women’s restrooms in every public building, places such as City Hall or the public library. The second bill would have required businesses that had a changing table in the women’s restroom to install one in the men’s restroom too.
Brown said in a statement that it is “more prudent to leave the matter of diaper changing stations to the private sector.” But as Kutcher is finding, if left to the private sector, a changing table might not be provided at all. That can cause some parents to make decisions that probably seem gross to the rest of us. Last October the lack of a baby-changing station drove one Midwestern mom and dad to change their infant in the dining area of a Chipotle. Sure, other visitors and the staff at the restaurant complained, but there wasn’t a changing table in either restroom.
Some of Kutcher’s fans have advice for him and hope that he begins a campaign to bring diaper parity to public places.
“Use the family restrooms! Also complain cause let's be real you're [Ashton] Kutcher they will listen,” commented Facebook user Diana Angell. “I'll help you with a petition and we can get this done.”
The actor is getting the attention of organizations that advocate for parents. "The sexism in the placement of changing tables has to change. Love that you are speaking up. Well done!" wrote Baby Change, a group that works to ensure that all places "offer a safe place to change and breastfeed a baby." Perhaps we'll see Kutcher teaming up with Baby Change or other diaper equality advocates on this issue.