Beatrice Facebook Genital Scandal of 2012

It’s true. My wrist has been slapped. The following picture was removed from the Beatrice the Biologist Facebook page, and I have been warned against repeated offenses. Apparently saying, “I hope you are not offended” does not spare one from censorship.

this is a cartoon penis. i hope you are not offended.

I am not in the least bit surprised. Because so many of you liked and/or commented on that picture, many non-Beatrice fans would have seen it in their news feeds, so it was bound to happen across a prude eventually. That’s just math.

Only one person notified me of her disgust, but she was just upset that the penis appeared circumcised. She then took my drawing, drew a foreskin on it, and posted it on an anti-circumcision Facebook page. Yeah, it got weird. But the point of this exercise was to draw the simplest yet most easily recognizable penis possible, so drawing a detailed foreskin was not among my concerns.

As many of you commented when I shared the news of the picture’s takedown, it is odd that we have this reaction to parts of the human body, even when they are presented in such an innocent, comic form. It fascinates me. I’m sure I could post a picture of a sperm to Facebook and never be reported, but what about a puddle of semen? What about several sperm sprouting forth from an ejaculating penis? Probably not so much. The rules governing what body parts or processes are offensive are rather arbitrary. If you want to explore this idea further, watch This Film Is Not Yet Rated, which covers what kinds of content merit automatic R or X ratings by the MPAA. You will be surprised at the logic (or lack of logic) employed there, especially when it comes to sex and nudity.

And so I close the door on the Beatrice Facebook Genital Scandal of 2012 and move on with slightly fewer penis comics on the interwebs. I will now resume producing content that only creationists and vaccine haters find displeasing.

And remember, under those clothes you’re wearing, you are COMPLETELY NAKED. And some may find that quite offensive.

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8 replies
  1. Jeff Clements
    Jeff Clements says:

    Fantastic. It’s discouraging knowing that people are still so childish as to be offended by genitalia; and not just hominid genitalia! I mean, we’re animals that reproduce sexually – we have penises and vaginas. We also have fingers, and legs, and nipples, and a nose. We don’t take offence to any of the latter structures (well, maybe nipples for those really immature individuals), so why are genitalia so sensitive? Is it because they’re what we use to have sex? As you know, humans are highly cognitive organisms and have the capacity to be creative, ultimately creating new tools and inventing various ways to use those tools along with pre-existing structures (you know where I’m going with this…). According to that logic, I move that the following items be banned from appearing in Facebook images (or at least be censored): fingers, toes, any and all cylindrical and semi-cylindrical objects with an appropriate size (size will vary across individuals and age), and tongues (that’s right ladies, no more sticking your tongues out in photos). In addition, animated versions of the aforementioned items are strictly prohibited and, if uploaded, will be subject to an initial removal from Facebook followed by an exile of the perpetrator from the popular social media tool upon subsequent offences.

  2. Michael Barnes
    Michael Barnes says:

    Sad face, if we can not post cartoon penis(s) not sure of the plural or worse the collective noun for penis(s) then surely the terrorists have won.

    But I thought it was amusing.

  3. Lady Estrogen
    Lady Estrogen says:

    I laughed out loud at your last paragraph.
    A friend sent me your link as just last night, I too had a cartoon penis image deleted from my FB page. It was done by a famous cartoonist, nevertheless, not just something I put together. I got an email from the person who found it “bothersom” . . . it was a man! I can’t see how the sight of a body part he posesses, done in illustration, could keep him up at night.
    Also, that the opinion of ONE means instant removal? I shake my head.

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