I’m not sure if this is a gendered phenomenon, but I’ve spoken to at least a few college-aged women who agree: it is Not Acceptable to poop at work.
My college roommate said, aghast, after confessing to coming back to our apartment to relieve herself privately, “You can’t be that intern that poops all the time. What if your supervisor heard you? Boom. No promotion. ‘Brings her home life to work.'” Others react with similar horror, slowly beginning to cover their mouths with their hands in projected embarrassment: “Oh my god, no. Of course not. And our bathroom doors are paper thin. You can hear everything. No.”
I realize anxiety about using public restrooms is fairly common, as Michael Showalter’s relatable experience of using a Starbucks bathroom demonstrates (3:00), and if you went to public school in the United States, the thought of using your schools’ bathrooms probably grossed you out, and at least made you uncomfortable. (How much of this adulthood bathroom anxiety stems from having to publicly ask to use the school bathroom for years of our lives, this submission of our own bodily functions to a figure of authority, in classrooms of structured civility? We might never know.)
I’ve been socialized to feel the same way. But I don’t know if it’s right. And if there is a gendered difference, then I want to be conscious of this unfairness. And what of the important and totally justified movements to normalize other bodily functions, like breast feeding, which are, in fact, unique to women? Why are we so uncomfortable and grossed out? In the case of breast feeding, there are definitely externally imposed standards of “professionalism.” For pooping, there’s less of a case.
Young women seem to be rejecting the feminist label. I’ve observed this. Others have observed this. While women of other generations struggle with the feminist label as well, the young are expected to be progressive. So, I do think it’s noteworthy that younger cohorts distinguish themselves by being overwhelmingly pro-gay marriage, but are just as split as older cohorts when it comes to abortion.
Nona Willis Aronowitz and Emma Bee Berstein set out to redefine feminism for the Millenial generation, to uncover where the dialogue has landed us, and to continue having it. They chronicled their findings in Girldrive, after a road-tripping across the U.S. and interviewing many, many women. Smart, insightful, important, and easily recommendable as a whole, there’s one passage in the book that made me smile with particular delight:
“On our way from California to the Southwest, we brainstorm a list of men we want to interview–mostly guys who are our dear friends but whom we would never date because they’re asshole to girls. Or men who seem to defy gender labels and act as feminine or masculine as they want. Or hipster dudes, who, despite their gender-bending aesthetic, are more macho than you would think. Or…the thoughts race on. ‘There should be a femasculine movement, Emma quips in the car, only half-joking.” Continue reading
I’m not talking about kitty litter. I’m talking about how the logical first step of creating something is ontological.
Arrogant in my faith of science and reason, I was stirred by the suggestion in a recent piece by Gary Gutting in New York Times’ The Stone that “…justification–and therefore knowledge of the truth–is a social process.” I imagine this is why experts across and within fields have professional and academic conferences: to judge, convince, and converse with, peers.
My interest in Art stems in part from a fascination in the symbolic and literal different ways of seeing (Got Postmodernism?). Beau Lotto, in a 2009 TED talk discussing color, optical illusions, and how we physically see, says:
“…The brain didn’t actually evolve to see the world the way it is. We can’t. Instead, the brain evolved to see the world the way it was useful to see in the past. And how we see is by continually redefining normality.”
I very much like this idea that seeing and redefining normality are constant and continuous, personal and social, processes.
The truth is I don’t know if I want to publicly post my writings and musings on the internet, but I apparently set out with the ambitious goals of joining the conversation of pop internet intellectualism, and organizing the lazy thoughts I generally use to amuse only myself, while showering, commuting, bored.