Writing on the Stall: Vol. 3

Level A, Rock

Level 2, Rock

This week, we are returning to the A floor of the Rock to the same stall we looked at last week.  From there, we’ll progress up two floors to Level 2.

Around a jotting that may look familiar from two weeks ago are two new additions. Both have a decidedly political leaning. “Industrial civilization is incompatible with a healthy planet” seems to be a comment on environmental issues, and “Don’t let the man hold you down. Keep writing!” is a rallying cry to potential graffiti-ists. It references the ongoing interactions between students and Facilities employees, where the stalls undergo a reoccurring cycle of graffiti-ing and whitewashing. The traces of this cycle remain around the starkly blue-penned slogan—faded, partially legible jottings emerging out of and fading into the white paint. This graffiti indicates the importance ascribed (literally) to this forum by some of Brown’s women, but it is significant that it is “the man” keeping us down. This is a common turn of phrase to be sure, but one that points to larger cultural structures where women remain in an inferior position is defined by their non-male status, despite a seeming equality because of our right to vote, laws to prevent employment discrimination, and so on. And maybe we should ask, who is the man? After all, he is not the female employees at Facilities who actually do the whitewashing. Continue Reading

Writing on the Stall: Vol. 2

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“Deeply in Love”

“the antelope and ant…eloped!”


“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.   Continue Reading