Saturday, 6 February 2010

An introduction to the subtle, graceful art of petty vandalism.

We're all girls, here, darlings.

Everyone likes to have something to read whilst on the lavatory, right? Alas, it isn't lady-like to stroll across a restaurant, bar or club to the little girls' room clutching a magazine. Well, lucky for us, there exists a breed of woman determined to stick two fingers to the man by performing acts of petty vandalism in the privacy of the ladies' loos.

Toilet wall graffiti pre-dates Post Secret by aeons, but we're definitely in the same ball park: anonymous messages, penned by individuals to be read by hundreds, thousands, perhaps even millions of strangers.

A philosophical thought on the art of toilet graffiti prompts an intellectual nail varnished response. Manchester, UK.

Content varies dramatically, from quotes and song lyrics to confessions of love and sexual desire. Some reference pop culture preferences, some come complete with illustrations. Be it comical, confessional, intellectual or life-affirming, someone out there just had to get it out.

The tools of the trade vary. Some scribes opt for the vandal's best friend - the humble Sharpie - which suggests a pre-emptive desire to leave their mark. Other writing tools are also adopted, with biros and pencils making a regular appearance. Finally, khol eye liner, lip liner and even the occasional smudged (and near-illegible) lipsticked sentiment occur, suggesting the author became overwhelmed with the spontaneous need to graffiti whilst airing her pink bits on the lav.

Of course, like all graffiti, there is an impermanence to the art. Walls are scrubbed clean, toilets refurbished, stalls replaced, messages Sharpied out of existence. Like water trickling from our palms as we blast them under the hand-dryer, we must grasp hold of this subtle art and celebrate it before it is removed by the Squares. Welcome to But Then Feminism Happened, a humble bog-related blog.

~ Alice Practice

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