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.

October 22, 2012

October 17, 2012

The Great Cartoon Nether Challenge

Is it possible to draw a cartoon penis and vulva that is not offensive and/or obscene? I came close to drawing a cartoon penis in the gay marriage post I did last year, but I shied away. It felt too risky. Yet I don't feel the need to tiptoe around the rest of the reproductive system. 


And no one has a problem with cartoon penis projectiles.

no one cares

And I've drawn a confused uterus and an elated set of ovaries in a post about the pill. This was all fine. It's only when it comes to the external, business-doing parts of the reproductive system that I hesitate. But why? Why is a nonchalant sperm okay, and a happy penis not? It's just the human body, after all.

For this Great Cartoon Nether Challenge I have charged myself with, I think it's all about the details. Or lack of details. My plan is to make this as simple as possible. For instance, it's probably best to leave out veins, gratuitous pubic hair, and wrinkles. Also, no piercings.

Okay, here we go:

this is a cartoon penis i hope you are not offended

penis with sunglasses this may be offensive

Cartoon penis: check. Now for the vulva. This is just as tricky, if not more so. Again, it's all about simplicity. 

this is a cartoon vulva everything is okay

Absurdity can help too.

vulva on a jet ski nothing offensive about that

Have I succeeded in not offending you?

October 10, 2012

Nobel Prize in Medicine

Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka just won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work changing mature cells into pluripotent cells--unspecialized cells that can become any other kind of cell in the body. This could be the the future of medicine. Imagine being able to regenerate damaged tissues by changing some of your skin cells into stem cells.

But let's not forget the little guys that make this possible. It's probably rather traumatic for them.







Scar Tissue


October 09, 2012

Jet Lag

I just got back from a trip to France and Germany, and although my body is now in Los Angeles, all my biorhythms are still in Paris. My brain has not yet adapted to the ramifications of global airplane travel, and she can't be reasoned with right now.