Farting is a physiological process that occurs when bacteria in the colon try but fail to digest food. We quickly learn as children that farting in public is inappropriate. However, holding in farts can cause major discomfort. This begs the question: why is farting rude?
No one ever seems to have a clear reason why farting is considered rude. Look no further because this article lists the top nine reasons why farting is rude. Let’s get started!
Why Is Farting Rude?
1. Socially Unacceptable
Farting is simply considered rude and crude because it’s socially unacceptable.
The fundamental concept of what makes an act socially acceptable or not is what creates a pleasurable experience for all people.
Farting in public spaces or around other people creates an awkward and uncomfortable situation for everyone around. You wouldn’t fart in public for the same reasons you wouldn’t defecate in public.
That said, holding in farts can be extremely discomforting and nerve-racking. So, if possible, simply walk away from the crowds or use the restroom.
2. Considered Illegal Before 41 A.D.
You probably wonder if there was ever a time when farting in social settings was acceptable. Well, Roman Emperor Claudius understood that passing gas is an uncontrollable biological process. So, he enacted a rule that allowed people to freely pass gas.
The fact that Claudius had to pass a rule leads us to believe that farting may have been abhorred before his ruling.
We do know that his successor Constantine overturned this ruling, making flatus and belching illegal. Of course, everyone violated the law from five to 15 times per day.
3. Etiquette Books
One reason why most people find farting rude may trace back to the Medieval period. Back then, etiquette books probably warned against farting in public. Still, etiquette books often underwent phases of development.
In the 16th century, for example, etiquette books recommended passing gas as quietly as possible. If it’s not possible, the individual ought to cover it up with a cough.
However, by the 18th century, it was considered impolite to pass gas in company, whether the fart was silent or not.
Interestingly, etiquette books today don’t mention farting at all. After all, it’s highly unlikely for many people nowadays to pass gas around others.
4. The Smell It Might Make
The action of flatulence is sometimes referred to as “blowing raspberries.” That said, the smell that might emit from passing gas almost never has anything to do with raspberries.
Not all farts smell. In fact, most gasses passed by humans go unnoticed because they don’t smell. However, those that do can be repugnant. Farts contain gasses such as nitrogen, hydrogen, methane, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. These gasses are all odorless.
Farts can also include hydrogen sulfide, which can cause a rotten-egg smell. This gas is produced as a byproduct of microbes that assist you in digesting the indigestible.
Another reason farts may smell is if there are feces in the rectum.
As a result, putting people in situations where they must smell an unpleasant odor, even if only for a short time, is impolite.
5. The Noise
Farts can be quite loud, but most people can usually play off their farts as a joke. However, when they’re in a situation where they’re expected to be silent, farting can be incredibly disrespectful.
What’s more, in many cultures, making body noises in front of others shows bad manners.
6. Association With the Bathroom
Farting, like urinating and defecating, is the result of the same function: digestion. Still, even if urinating and defecating are natural physiological processes, we go to the bathroom to relieve ourselves.
So, perhaps the reason why farting can be seen as crude is due to its association with the bodily functions that we do in the bathroom.
7. Can Spread Germs
Some people believe that passing gas, like sneezing and coughing, can spread germs. That’s why they find farting in public rude.
Considering where flatulence comes from, it makes sense to believe that it carries germs.
To our benefit, Dr. Kruszelnicki and microbiologist Luke Tennent conducted a mini experiment to find out whether farts can spread germs.
Tennent had a colleague pass gas directly onto two Petri dishes from about two inches away. The colleague was fully clothed for the first Petri dish. With his pants down, he broke wind on the second Petri dish.
Overnight, Tennent saw visible lumps of two types of bacteria sprouting in the second Petri dish. In the first Petri dish, no bacteria sprouted. These findings led Kruszelnicki and Tennent to believe that clothing could serve as a filter.
It’s worth noting that the bacteria that grew in the Petri dish aren’t harmful. They’re, in fact, similar to the bacteria found in yogurt.
8. Farting in Public Spaces Is Rude in Most Cultures
Most cultures consider farting as an act that should be done in private. It assaults the senses and offends those who are caught in its blast. Farting in public places is therefore considered rude. Farting can be even seen as disrespectful if done in solemn situations.
That said, there are some cultures where farting is socially acceptable. The South American Yanomami tribe, for example, uses farting as a friendly greeting gesture. In India, aside from the metros in Delhi and Mumbai, breaking wind in public isn’t a big deal.
9. If It’s Intentional
Everyone knows and understands that passing gas is perfectly natural. So, if someone was to accidentally fart, most people would play it off as a joke to lessen the embarrassment.
However, when someone intentionally farts, they’re considered rude by most people. People who intentionally fart often do it as a prank or joke, which can be seen as crude.
Most people can tell the difference between someone farting accidentally and intentionally. People become bashful with embarrassment when this happens to them. People who pass gas intentionally, however, will almost always have a mischievous grin on their faces.
There you have it: top nine reasons for the question, “Why is farting rude?”
Flatulence is a perfectly natural and healthy bodily function. Still, not every natural bodily process, including farting, is socially acceptable.
So, while you’re free to fart, it’s always preferable to do so in private or in the bathroom. You’ll save both your peers and yourself from embarrassment this way.