October 25, 2012

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.