Ministry of Magic

Is the Mason Hall bathroom a blog? Women, have you ever been in that bathroom? Read what’s on the stalls? The war against the janitors is ongoing, FYI because according to a Sharpie named Mary, “The paint can’t stop us”. In all seriousness though, people really pour their hearts on to the smelly walls until they are repainted at least twice a year. Confessions of eating disorders, forced sexual encounters, and feelings of self-hatred are marked among sharpie hearts and people writing “believe in yourself” and “I love (insert man here)”. This sharing of, in some cases, very private information in a somewhat public place made me think of blogging. We share thoughts, often unprompted responses to anything we see, just as I am doing now and the women do in the stalls. Some of the restroom confessions are shocking, and most all anonymous, yet all are for a very specific audience. I think that is the most interesting part. The women writing to no one are really writing to exactly who they want to hear from. First the gender is narrowed down (female) unless men have the same type of graffiti, I don’t know. Then there is the fact that it is not just on a sink or by a mirror, but in a stall with a forced audience. They basically coerce others into reading their confessions. The audiences are captivated without necessarily wanting to be. So really, bathroom stalls are better. People have to read what you say.

 

Thoughts?

4 thoughts to “Ministry of Magic”

  1. Hahaha. I love this post, Madelaine. You are speaking SOOOO much truth with everything you say. I really like, “This sharing of, in some cases, very private information in a somewhat public place made me think of blogging. We share thoughts, often unprompted responses to anything we see, just as I am doing now and the women do in the stalls. Some of the restroom confessions are shocking, and most all anonymous, yet all are for a very specific audience. I think that is the most interesting part. The women writing to no one are really writing to exactly who they want to hear from.”

    I love that you are thinking of purpose, audience, intention and blogging when you see these confessions. Chalk another one up for the power of words.

  2. haha This is so great. and so true! I’ve been to the Ministry of Magic (I mean, its the first one you walk straight into) and I love how it keeps changing! In some ways, it really is like blogging – you get immediate responses and reactions! And sometimes, they aren’t that nice. I loved the “paint can’t stop us” and the “use white out!” little phrases around the bathroom stall…and the best part? It’s not only on the wall…no, the last time I was in there, I swear it was written on the toilet paper dispenser as well. It’s like a feminine forum with lots of serious issues.

    I’ve always wondered who these people are…why do they write about their private lives in bathroom stalls? How bored are they/what are they expecting back, in terms of responses? Who knows!

    The minds of bathroom gossipers remain a mystery…but I’m not going to lie – I have wanted to respond to some of those conversations haha.

  3. I think every woman to have stepped in a stall in Angell hall has experienced this same musing that you had. It’s crazy, the confessions we find in there. This brings me back to something that a friend of mine once said about her experiences abroad. In our society…we hide things, we keep things to ourselves, we put on façades. When we say “I’m fine,” chances are we don’t truthfully mean it. What my friend was saying about her time abroad in Germany is that Germans are straightforward and they mean what they say. There, the response to “lets get coffee sometime” is “okay, can you do tomorrow at 3?”. In OUR world, we’ve grown so accustomed to keeping things to ourselves and putting on false fronts. I find it terribly depressing that our bathroom walls are splattered with emotional graffiti instead of simply telling others what’s going on.

  4. Madelaine- This is a real interesting blog and quite a creative idea! Unfortunately, I can attest that the men’s bathroom does not hold these same type of confessions and writings. Rather the men’s bathroom is actually quite graphic and offensive. At least it is nice to know that some of the bathroom graffiti’s in Mason Hall aren’t all bad…

Leave a Reply