Ladies, we’ve all heard guys say it a thousand times:
“Girls don’t poop.”
There seems to be this widespread, apparently timeless theory held by men that girls don’t produce anything fowl or unclean from their bodies.
When I was reading “The Lady’s Dressing Room”, I initially thought it was a modern poem, just written in old-fashioned prose. When I found out more background information, I realized that the message of the poem really is ahead of its time, as well as the satirical voice Swift employs throughout. In an age of superficial values and an emphasis on the widely accepted view that women were delicate and frail beings, this poem tares down the idealistic pretenses women strive to live up to.
Referred to as “the fairer sex”, there is no way to deny that there is a standard that women should uphold a sense of cleanliness and fairness that men don’t need to trouble themselves with. We bathe ourselves in scented soaps, deodorants, and perfumes. Feminine products come scented, and commercials proclaim the dangers of “feminine odor”. And god forbid we ever, ever, let a man be even a little bit aware that we need to use the ladies room to go “number two”. It’s almost become taboo, for women to acknowledge their most basic human functions in front of the opposite sex. On the other hand, it is considered significantly more acceptable for men to unabashedly wear shirts with sweat-stained armpits or announce when nature calls.
The classically named Strephon from Swift’s poem expresses his anguish when he discovers the opposite perfectly, “Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia, Celia shits!” (Swift, line 118). After sneaking into his beloved’s dressing room, he is struck with the overwhelming, earth-shattering horror that women are, in fact, human beings, with all the natural functions males so delusionally wish we did not have.