Bathroom Graffiti: Women vs Men

 

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 3, 2016, in gender, men, psychology, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I always make friends while waiting in the line for the bathroom. We can continue to fight gender inequality by being strong and supportive amongst ourselves. And this can start in public bathrooms 🙂

  2. Let’s not lose track of where the graffiti was posted: in UNIVERSITY bathrooms. To call 18 to 22 year old male students “men” is true only in the legal sense….certainly not in a maturity sense. While it’s undoubtedly true that some of those psychological juveniles will still be jerks 10-15 years later, I think it’s fair to expect that most of them will turn into ‘real men’ after hitting the real world and being an ass no longer cuts it.

  3. The response of the unknown student is really touching.

  4. I don’t think this is much different than relations in real life sometimes. Girls and women are taught to be more affectionate and compassionate as well as nurturing to each other. And like you said, because of what women have gone through together, some relating. So women are more likely to provide more heart to heart talks or network like that. Whereas, guys feel they can’t be too caring and have to have this macho act. It’s hard for even guy friends to have a heart to heart talk without jokingly busting each other’s balls too, which is fine as I do that sometimes, but it shows the difference.

    And I’m not surprised with those comments on the stalls from guys seeing how probably because of culture, some guy’s have to have what I call “Cock fights”. This stupid trolling or talking violently or aggressively each other to one up each other and like who the alpha male, tough guy is. Make me think of bucks clashing antlers or gorillas beating their chests. It’s so stupid and juvenile. I mean you see it elsehwere. Just go on a forum or youtube, yahoo, or other where people can comment. And more often than not, you are much more likely to see the male commenters trolling or talking trash or aggressively to each other or someone. Even if I don’t know the sex of the commenter, I’m more often assuming it’s a male even if has a female name, because of how guys talk and the fact more guys are to fake being females on the internet than females faking to be guys with comments and I think more guys are on forums or such stuff.

    • Yes, the problem isn’t that men are naturally worse than women. But we are raised in very different ways.

      Girls and women are taught to be nurturing and think about others. Think about the toys they are encouraged play with: caring for dolls, Having tea parties where you are trying to think about whether everyone has what they need.

      From a young age boys are taught to be competitive. Football, basketball, baseball, car racing with hot wheels… And then these guys grow up and the more angry among them continue the competition with insults to various groups. (Of course there are non-insulting ways that guys are expected to compete: High-paying jobs, Fancy cars, trophy wives…)

      And boys are often made fun of if they show emotion. So they start to feel like they need to repress that side of themselves. It’s not healthy for anyone.

      In more gender equal societies men can be very nurturing toward their own children and others. In fact, with feminism men are increasingly allowing themselves to you more in touch with their more nurturing and emotional side. My grandfather completely ignored his kids, Because that wasn’t part of the male role. My dad was fairly nurturing. My brother came home and practically took over childcare when the kids were young. And when a man’s wife dies and he needs to be the primary nurturer, he’s pretty darn good at it!

  5. Some writers have proposed that toilet graffiti may be inversely related to society’s values. That’s because if certain values are dominant in society, the only place you can express them is by scrawling anonymously in the bathroom stall. According to this theory, we may interpret this article as strongly indicating that women are more racist than men and women are less caring and nurturing than men. I guess the men got their personal validation in real life and not scratched on the back of a stall.

    • This is insightful, though not entirely in the way you meant it to be. So thanks for the comment.

      The problem is not men versus women. The issue is patriarchy versus partnership.

      Patriarchy teaches men to think in certain ways that can become hurtful to those further down the hierarchy. Partnership teaches us to love and support one another.

      Some men have a patriarchal mentality – and so do some women. And some men and women have a partnership mentality.

      Who knows if the theory is right, but if it were true this is how I would apply it:

      Women don’t feel supported in society due to gender inquality, and so they talk about their pain anonymously on bathroom walls. Which evokes empathy from women who are less harmed, and who try to help. And empathy often comes from having been harmed in the past, yourself. Plus women are taught to be nurturers – men not so much.

      On the other side, men are taught to feel entitled — and angry when they start losing privilege as society grows more equal. But even though the most privileged people are straight white men (look at who holds most positions of power), most straight white men aren’t at the top of the pyramid and don’t feel very powerful – even though they are taught that they are supposed to be on top. So they feel angry and resentful. These men feel like they can’t express their anger about this publicly so they do it anonymously on bathroom walls. Or in anonymous blog comments… Yours being exhibit A.

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