Yes, poop is gross. But that's not the only reason for its shameful social stigma.

Why are we all so prim and anxious about the sounds, smells, and substances that emanate from our keisters?

The obvious answer is that, well, poop and farts are gross. It is waste, after all, and full of (potentially harmful) bacteria. That's why other people's farts always smell worse than our own: to warn us of the impending intrusion of intestinal insalubrity.

But there must be another reason for our rear ends' rude and ribald reputation, right? Well, as it turns out, there's a lot of cruddy history behind our shame.


GIF from "Spider-Man."

Ancient civilizations believed our derrieres' disgusting discharge was indicative of defects and disorder within us.

Back around the 16th or 17th centuries BC, Egyptian medical texts — such as the Ebers Papyrus and the Edwin Smith Papyrus — helped popularize what's now known as autointoxication. Not to be confused with auto-brewery syndrome, the idea was that any undigested foodstuff that stayed in our system would end up rotting and poisoning us from the inside out and this was the primary cause of everything from schizophrenia to cancer.

That's right: The Egyptians believed that constipation caused cancer and that it was entirely your fault when it happened. Look, they were a little busy building those big fancy pyramids, so you can forgive them for a few anatomical oversights.

GIF from "The Simpsons."

The ancient Greeks took this one step further with the introduction of the Four Humors.

Humorism was a theory of medicine that tried to explain our health and personalities through an internal balance of four metabolic liquid elements. The choleric temperament — yellow bile — worked through the digestive tract and was said to be responsible for coloring our poop.

It was also associated with aggressive, impulsive, and obstinate behavior. These were good qualities for leaders to have — in moderation. But too much yellow bile and, well, you were probably full of sh*t.


GIF from "Hercules."

Then Christianity took the gluteus maximus and turned it into "Gloria in excrement Deo."

While there is some talk about fruit as food in the beginning of Genesis, the only thing that Adam and Eve ever actually eat in the Bible is that damn apple that got them into trouble in the first place. God cursed them with all kinds of pain and shame when He cast them out — and, well, it stands to reason that clippin' the biscuit would be among the awkward and uncomfortable bodily functions they were forced to endure. Just as they were ashamed of their own nakedness, they were probably ashamed of their stinky pebbles too.

GIF from Epic Rap Battles of History/YouTube.

This idea of poop-as-original-sin is also echoed in Deuteronomy 23: 12-14:

"12. Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. 13. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. 14. For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

Basically, stool is a filthy human function, and you need to clean up your crap so that God doesn't step in it.


GIF from "Fist of Jesus."

But things changed in the late 1800s when the flush toilet started catching on.

As David Praeger explains in his book "Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product," hygiene became a hallmark of the elite, and the upwardly mobile Victorians saw their porcelain privilege as another way to set themselves above the lower classes.

Those with proper manners did not acknowledge the existence of their ... ya know. The social stigma asserted that only poor people pooped. (This probably compounded with Victorian concepts of purity and sexuality too, leading to that persistent and weirdly gendered notion that women don't poop.)

GIF from "Bridesmaids."

Our potty practices don't always agree with the pressure that the modern world places on our productivity either.

Good gut health can make our brains work better. But droppin' a deuce when you're supposed to be on duty doesn't always go so well. Even if your employer provides you with sick days and health care, they might take notice when nature calls and you're not at your desk when you should be.

"I try to time when I'm going to the bathroom at work based on when I expect that no one will be looking for me, so I can disappear for 15-20 minutes at a time," said Andy, a 30-year-old man with Irritable Bowel Syndrome who works in Washington, D.C., in an interview. Andy wasn't diagnosed until his mid-20s, when he was living on his own for the first time and realized that his heinie habits weren't like other people's, and it really wasn't funny anymore like it used to be in high school.

"But it's awkward when your boss sends you an email 'Where are you? I need this right now,' and you're in the bathroom. How do you say 'Hold on a minute, I'm pooping my brains out, but I'll get to it as soon as I can?' Suddenly you look like you're slacking off because people can't find you when they need you."

Unfortunately, these misinformed connections between virtue and our posterior pop'ems still linger like stink in our communal cultural bathroom. And that's a big problem.

To this day, our society still equates poopability with happiness and moral standing. So while yes, it's embarrassing and disgusting, this skewed sense of shame is preventing us from seeking the medical help we need to make our bodies function to the best of their abilities — poop and all.

For example, only about 22% of Americans seek health care for constipation, but it's one of the five most common gastrointestinal disorders. Meanwhile, we're spending $800 million a year on laxatives — and even more on emergency room visits for overstuffed bowels. The situation is so bad we barely know how to qualify what counts as a "normal" frequency of bowel movements because no one is willing to acknowledge they happen at all!

GIF from Spaceshroom/Deviant Art.

Don't get me wrong: Poop is gross. It's hilarious, but it's definitely gross — and it's something that everybody does.

So let's put a plug in the shame that comes from our butts and acknowledge the smelly struggles of everyone's poop chute.

Our physical well-being, not to mention our pride, may depend on it.

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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