Shitting Pretty



Societal progress and the rise of feminism has resulted in the emancipation of women in many countries. Online we are creating an everlasting safe space, one of empowering photos, inspirational quotes and comical memes #pussypower #blackgirlmagic #girlpower.

On the surface this is a beautiful empowering movement, but how does it translate offline? Women, since time immemorial have had more pressure than men to look their best and these double standards extend further than level of superficial beauty.

Traditional and digital media market to men and women differently. Women have fewer excuses for them than men do. While men are celebrated in ads as beer-guzzling , burping, sloppy fuckbois, women face pressure to have big lashes, a Fashion Nova body and better-smelling poop! Time to flush these delusions down the toilet.

Why aren’t women allowed to be gross? Rather, why do some men like to pretend we aren’t every bit of human as they are? Is it that we are simply too beautiful, elegant and fragile to do such a profane, disgusting thing? This double standard perpetuated more intensely is the digital realm, leaving viewers thinking of women as only being able to use their feminine wiles. Many women themselves are so uptight about pooping and farting.

Let me be blunt: poop stinks.  Everyone does it, including women! The very idea of a women talking about poop - anyone’s, but especially your own – is weird, immature and inappropriate. The idea of poop and being ladylike aren’t seen as synonymous. Instead women are  constantly made to uphold a facade and pressure that they internalize from the antiquated idea. Rather, they are encouraged to deliberately avoid evacuating their bowels because of fear and shame.

Shitting Pretty serves as a facetious response to this misogynistic myth. “Women don’t poop” is a misconception we encourage and allow ourselves to believe. This is a problem because it enforces gender stereotypes that are used to degrade women. I take issue with the fact that women are expected to hide a biological reality that men are allowed to embrace.  

As human beings, there are facets of our humanity that link us. Double standards are inevitable and they exist, but we don’t need to acknowledge and reinforce them. I think it’s important, living in an age like ours that preaches connectivity but breeds isolation, that we remember these links whenever we can. We all poop, male or female, and pretending the idea that women don’t is hurtful.  Changing a norm as trivial as this is well within our power.

Femme Ultra is an upcoming body of work devoted entirely to how women regard each other without the infiltration of a male perspective. When it comes to gender, double standards are alive and well.  Images considered too mature or obscene are another example of how women’s bodies are subject to scrutiny and policing.

Women are judged more harshly than men for simply being human. Despite all of the advances towards gender equality, many people still expect different things from men and women leaving the latter to face double standards and unrelenting pressures.

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Jasmine Anokye