It’s Time to Destroy Farting Gender Norms

People get embarrassed about farting. You probably don’t need a survey study or concrete data confirm it. But we’ve got some anyway.

This month, the senior care service directory SeniorLiving.org asked 1,000 people about their gas. The survey looked at how people approach farts in their day-to-day lives and probed survey takers about their feelings on flatulence and whether they were self conscious about breaking wind around their partners. They found that women were 217 percent more likely to feel “extremely self conscious” about farting in general.

Farts are a touchy subject because they’re usually smelly and unpleasant. The study aims to make it easier to discuss farts by stressing how normal and common passing gas truly is. The researchers note that people normally pass gas anywhere from 13 to 21 times per day. Given the frequency, we shouldn’t be embarrassed by it. But despite the survey’s good intentions, the findings reinforce gender norms about flatulence and show why those norms need to be changed.

Men are disgusting, smelly insensitive brutes and don’t seem to care where they fart or who they fart in front of. Just six percent of men feel “extremely self conscious” about farting while 16 percent of men said they had a positive outcome when farting in front of their boss (compared to just seven percent of women). Men are also comfortable farting in front of a partner six months sooner than women are.

Yes, it’s silly. Still, the findings invite an interesting discussion about how men and women view farting, one of the simplest bodily functions. Men and women are fairly even in several gas-passing categories unrelated to romance. High percentages of both genders believe “holding it in” is the best way to avoid farting embarrassment, for example. And while “extreme” self consciousness levels skew toward women, other levels are about the same.

Men have more childish attitudes toward bodily functions, especially women’s. Men think that farts and pooping are funny when guys do it but are disgusted when a woman’s responsible for them. A female BTRtoday staffer who requested anonymity says an ex-boyfriend threatened to break up with her if she farted in front of him. It’s the same with the normal body function of periods which are likewise viewed as gross.

It’s time to break the fart gender paradigm. Men’s and women’s farts are both gross and funny. They’re also normal. Don’t be ashamed of your farts. Embrace the stink. Or just do everyone a solid and take it outside.

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