Writing on the Stall: Vol. 2

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“Deeply in Love”

“the antelope and ant…eloped!”

“resist”

“Guess what? I broke up with him. Turns out he was not as nice as I gave him credit for. I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SINGLE LIFE AGAIN. Finally I can do things for myself and just be happy. I love my life & Brown”

“Start of a new relationship…nervous, curious, excited, scared to get worried that he likes me more than I…”

“…my hopeless idealism”

These snapshots of graffiti in the women’s bathroom on the A floor of the Rock provide an inside look into one of the many forums in which Brown women express themselves. The paint strokes and faded writing attest to the cycles of whitewashing that occur regularly to clean the graffitied wall. For a lot of people, the primary association of this practice is its unattractive history when it was used to suppress women’s communications of sexual assault details in protest of the University’s sexual assault policy during the early 1990s. The scrawled “resist”, although it doesn’t specify what to resist, references this student-institution tension.  

But perhaps the whitewashing also provides possibility. The layers upon layers of paint and words make the stall walls and doors canvases that allow for the constant reworking of ideas and feelings and the creation of new spaces for expression. The whitewashing gives the graffiti an ephemeral quality, and the transience of the words reflects the nature of the shifting emotions that are expressed and of the students, who come and go as the semesters change.

The writings provide glimpses into individual experiences- in the same way that the photographs are snapshots of the stall graffiti, so are the writings snapshots of lives. It is notable that these samples focus on expressing emotions- heavily centered on love and relationships- and personal narratives. These are things that we as Brown students do not as often get to bring to the table in our highly academic, objective spoken and written discussions on the topics we are passionate about. These emotions do not have to be cited or justified, just expressed. But, it is also good to see that these expressions do not have to be limited to the deep and serious emotions that swirl inside us, as the delightful “the antelope and ant…eloped” illustrates.

4 Comments

  1. amory blaine

    Bathroom wall humor is only funny because, well, it’s on the bathroom wall. Taking photos and transcribing seems a little desperate. It should be for each young pup to glance at and then focus the eyes on, pants down, in the throes of mid-business boredom. Really, it shouldn’t be put up on the internet.

  2. over9000

    your idealization is cute, but these are just tiny snippets of the vast (and constantly erased and regenerated) bathroom graffiti world

  3. jazero sombrero

    you should see the stuff in the guys’ bathroom.

  4. over9000

    to clarify, my comment was a response to the first one, not the post itself, which i think is great. i don’t think of bathroom stall writing as quite so sacred as does amory blaine…

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