It's Time to Confront The "Girls Don't Poop" Taboo

November 5th 2015

Laura Donovan

When I was in middle school, an annoying male classmate came up to me in P.E. and asked, "Do you poop?" When I called him out for his ridiculous question, he said, "I'm sorry, but I swear girls don't poop!"

I don't fault this boy for his silly inquiry. He merely fell victim to the absurd but pervasive cultural myth that "girls don't poop." It's unlikely that anyone really thinks women lack this essential filtering system, but as noted on Urban Dictionary, this theory is "usually sported my men who do not like the thought or fact of women using the toilet to put poo in it."

RELATED: One Chart Explains What Your Poop Says About Your Health

In other words, certain men want to think that women are too delicate and attractive to produce foul-smelling, unappealing, solid waste. Some even say that women don't fart. There was even an entire episode of "Sex and the City" surrounding the sheer humiliation of farting in front of one's boyfriend.

Though "everybody poops" regardless of gender, the taboo surrounding number two is very much alive and well for women.

A 2013 Canadian survey found that 71 percent of women will go to "great lengths to avoid defecating," particularly in public. That same year, the Daily Beast published an extensive report about women who are embarrassed to have bowel movements at work. One woman told the publication that she walks 10 minutes to another part of the office to do it and another said she elevates her feet so nobody she knows will recognize her shoes in the stall.

Samantha Kwan, a sociology professor at the University of Houston, told the Daily Beast that women might be self-conscious about going to the bathroom at work because there's "a lot of shame and anxiety when it comes to violating the rules" of femininity.

Even famous women deal with it and sometimes find themselves waiting until they get home.

“My whole life was ruined because there was not a private bathroom in my dressing room at The View,” Rosie O’Donnell wrote in Celebrity Detox, according to the Daily Beast. “Now I could not go poop until I got home.”

Pou Pourri commercials and female comedians discussing poop.

Though there are large communities online that perpetuate the silly "girls don't poop" notion, including a Facebook page with nearly 15,000 fans, many have been successful in mocking the myth. Certain female comedians, such as Chelsea Handler, joke about going poo. There's also that incredible poop scene in "Bridesmaids" that won over the hearts of many women.



Toilet spray brand, Pou Pourri has made many viral YouTube videos poking fun at the idea that women don't poop. Two years ago, the brand made a video showing a beautiful British redhead talking openly about her bowel movements on the toilet. (However, the company somewhat perpetuates the need for women to be feminine by removing the smell of the bowel movement.)

"You won't believe the motherload I just dropped," she says. "And that's how I like to keep it."