I farted in the library yesterday.
I farted. In the library. I was sitting, minding my own damn business, and then I had to fart, so I tried to ease it out silently, you know, the way you do, but it made a sound.
And then I was mortified.
The Roommates, who I informed online and who enjoy mocking me for my bodily functions, the assholes, did not help: while R tried to calm me down (“it’s fine, nobody noticed, calm down”) R took a break from stalking puppies on Puppycam 2.0 to send me a Facebook Chat:
R: LEAVE NOW EVERYONE KNOWS.
Me: I hate you
R: whats that smell
This is one of those absurd things, sexist and otherwise, that you’d think as human beings we’d have progressed past, socially, and yet we haven’t. It’s why Elliot (on scrubs) is called a bankfarter and hates her job. It’s why games in elementary school like “Whoever smelt it, dealt it, and whoever denied it, supplied it” were less funny and more a matter of a life or death. Don’t even pretend to me that, even as you were laughing, you weren’t petrified that somehow you’d be named supplier.
My embarrassment was tempered by the fact that there was no one I found attractive nearby. My reasoning, of course, being a girl, that if there were a guy I found attractive nearby, and he was taken in by my frizzy hair, sweats, or Quasimodo posture, he would have instantly been repelled by my body’s unseemly ability to let loose smelly gas. You know, find me less attractive.
Because while farting – or pooping, or other bodily functions – are bad for boys, they are ten times worse for girls. And this is partially because girls are not supposed to be able to do those gross things, nor are they allowed to. And mainly because they never do them in movies.
And personally I find that dehumanizing. And a catch 22.
It starts when you’re young. Or it did for me anyway: Girls don’t sweat, they “watered,” according to my older brother. Perspired, according to my grandma. And glistened, according to movies I’d see about older southern women instructing younger southern gals in the early 20th century. When girls poo, they poo out flowers and rainbows. And farts smell like roses.
It starts when you’re young.
As you get older, weird shit starts happening to your body. One of which is that blood starts leaking downstairs. But you hide it, and every time you see a commercial, they advertise the apparati meant to hide said gross red stuff with some benign blue liquid. (Quick but important addendum: Kotex, who actually gets it, made the aforementioned commercial. Even if nobody else does. Thanks, network TV!) Half of the commercials – in fact, half of the products – are targeted towards hiding said apparati better: smaller compact tampons passed around by giggling girls while confused boys look on.
At the same time, there are movies. Lots and lots of movies. Movies, funny ones, that often are about poop jokes, or fart jokes, or puke jokes, or all-other-sorts-of-gross-bodily-fluid jokes. Who doesn’t love a good poop joke? I love them, my roommates, again, love to mock me for them. But it’s funnier (and perhaps more embarrassing) to us because we’re breaking some sort of cultural taboo that claims I shouldn’t do such things because I’m a girl.
I could list so many movies where boys do gross things. Animal House. Van Wilder. There’s Something About Mary. On, and on, and on. I could dump a load of them on you [pun intended].
But how many movies or TV shows can you think of, where girls do gross things? I can list them on my hand:
Scary Movie 1: During the sex scene, the girl lets out a surprising burst of cum. I think.
Harold and Kumar: the two hot british chicks at Princeton have a game of “sunk my battleship.” It’s pretty awesome. And by awesome I mean disgusting.
That … may be it. So few girls act gross, and even fewer making gross period jokes! The one time in recent history I can think of is Superbad, and that is, essentially, a movie from a male perspective about girls. How else does Jonah Hill pull Jules, huh?
Where are the jokes about girls getting her “period”? Where are the jokes about girls getting her blood everywhere, or what’s more, girls making fun of their friends and each other about said blood, or reveling in the humor? Gross things are funny, but why is – let’s be honest – something that is considered disgusting, perhaps more disgusting and taboo than poop or even semen, never, ever used as a joke?
It is completely nonsensical to me. Either periods are grosser than pooping, in which case it should be fair game by really extreme comedic filmmakers, or it is less gross than pooping (which it is: wouldn’t you rather get “period” on you than somebody’s shit?), in which case it’s also fair game. But no one ever makes jokes about it, and if or when they do, it becomes a joke made by guys about women.
Let’s step away from periods for a second, and return to women doing gross things for a laugh. The only recent one, the only one that really comes to mind, is 2 Girls 1 Cup. And that is not meant to be empowering. It’s just disgusting. When it exploded on the internet (that time the pun was unintended) the reason why it was so out of the ordinary, was so commented upon, and was so disgusting, was because it was two girls. If it had been 2 Guys 1 Cup, it would have gone nowhere.
The movie Bride Wars was awful. And it wasn’t just because it made women look like crazy conniving bridezillahs with no depth or humanity to them, or that the premise was so shaky. It was because it promised to be an all out farcical “catfight” of one uppsmanship of pranks. If it had been a guy movie about two dudes, I guarantee you that they would have been putting laxatives in each other’s drinks or feeding each other semen sandwiches or at least making fun of each other for farting. But instead we got Kate Hudson’s hair green and girls shrieking and ripping each other’s wedding dresses, which is not how ladies behave blah blah blah. Had Kate Hudson popped a laxative in Ann Hathaway’s cosmopolitan, or Hathaway stolen all the tampons, pads and toilet paper out of Hudson’s apartment, the movie would have been much funnier. I mean, that is some good material, right there. [NOTE: DO NOT STEAL IT.] But nobody would greenlight such a movie, and I am pretty sure Hudson, at least, has a no “poop jokes” clause in her contract.
It sucks, and it’s dehumanizing in a sense. Because the other aspect of it is that, no matter how gross some of these guys can be, they still get the girl in the end. (See: Pretty much every Seth Rogen/ vehicle.) But if girls are gross, then suddenly they are less attractive. Suddenly, they are less girly. We always talk about the catch-22 of the Madonna/Whore complex, but what about the catch 22 of being a human — a messy, dirty, gross, human — or being a pretty girl?
So yeah, I farted. But you know what? Roses smell like poo. So you tell me if I’m any less girly.