It’s not uncommon to see graffiti scribed across washroom stall walls in such abundance that it acts as a second coat of paint. But in a washroom stall in Western’s University College, the graffiti has become so much more than meaningless musings.
In response to bathroom graffiti confessions of sexual abuse, eating disorders and alcoholism, a written note was posted, addressing the personal accounts. The anonymous note offers positive reinforcement, telling the girls, for instance, they are “strong,” “beautiful” and “brave.”
The letter was later photographed and posted on news aggregate sites, such as the popular website Reddit, and has since gone viral.
In a world that is rapidly becoming more tech-savvy, and the handwritten letter becomes a relic of the past, it’s uplifting to see such a thoughtful response penned to unknown women. It, too, is almost symbolic that such a note was posted in a women’s washroom—both a cultural and social place of female solidarity.
It’s often a passing observation—usually depicted in TV shows and movies—that females go to the washroom in pairs. Though it may be a phenomenon that is inexplicable to the male mind, it’s actually quite common for women to visit a bathroom with a friend just to escape for a few minutes and chat.
The washroom, for a woman, may double both as a place to handle business as well as a place to vent to a female friend. The washroom is, exclusively, a female zone—a zone in which one can find a form of female solidarity, if only for a few passing minutes during the day.
Perhaps the note writer was trying to offer consolation to those females who wrote on the stall earlier. Or perhaps it is meant to brighten the day of anyone who happened to read it. And while the letter might only be a singular note amongst a sea of messages, its meaning carries more weight than the loose-leaf paper it’s etched on.
The washroom is a community for females and, because of that, it is also a refuge for female-only expression, even if it is on a washroom stall. Although the note is only addressed to those women who wrote on the stall prior, it speaks to all females.
Of course, this note is not meant to take the place of a professional counsellor, nor does the female washroom double as a counselling office—far from it. However, the note does offer comfort and support, and will maybe inspire a smile. And perhaps that’s all the author hoped to achieve.
—The Gazette Editorial Board