Dumping on taboos
We shouldn’t shy from discussing the brown elephant in the room
It is intimate, raw and raunchy. It makes you moan and groan. It takes your breath away and has your toes stretch to the farthest corners of space and time. After its climax, relief settles into your body as a sense of relaxation spreads throughout your muscles.
What wonderfully dynamic effects pooping has on us, yet we push poop and defecation discourse into the stigmatized space of taboo.
This, I argue, can be detrimental, in that poop stigma can reinforce some harmful norms and prevent some beneficial activism.
An example of this phenomenon: My friend recently said her long-term boyfriend gets awkward when she alludes to the fact that she poops. He gets upset, she says, when she talks about her bowel movements. She still doesn’t feel comfortable farting around him, even though he frequently farts around her, and his friends often joke about poops and toots within their bro gang.
It is not hard to discern why certain gender norms stem from pooping. Women and poop are supposed to be strangers to maintain an ideal of feminine perfection. We even segregate our bathrooms so men and women can avoid discovering how different bodies actually work.
Now I am not calling for public poop shows in order to understand the various genders, but I am proposing that within poop exists not only what you ate earlier, but also certain assumptions about genders.
The environment is also hurt by the feces taboo. The POOP (People’s Own Organic Power) Project, an organization that advocates using poop as an environmental resource, emphasizes that our culture in the United States fosters praise for consumption and, in turn, ignores human waste.
The project questions if we really need so much water in toilets and whether using human biosolids as fertilizer could be effective.
The latter idea makes me squeamish, but I do get the importance of questioning how we can be proactive about human waste.
Thus, I propose this action step: The next time you are on the toilet (which should be in the next 48 hours and if that is not the case, I advise you to see a doctor), take some time to reflect on your own relationship with poop. It may not end up being so … crappy.