Friday, January 20, 2012


When I was in sixth grade, I began sex education classes in school.  I learned about how a sperm cell fertilizes an egg.  I learned about how babies grew and were born.  Then I went out and began a life of sexual debauchery and mayhem just like evangelical Christian groups said I would.  Or I would have if I hadn’t been a horrible geek with coke-bottle glasses, discount clothes, and a cheap haircut.  In reality, I didn’t date until after I graduated high school.

The sex ed course didn’t teach me much I didn’t already know.  By the end, I had only learned two things:

I was going to be a technical writer one day.
No, seriously.  They gave us this handout on what we’d do in the class.  According to the handout, the boys would watch the videos: “From Boy to Man” and “From Girl to Woman.”  Girls would watch “The Birth of Puppies.”  It was a minor typo, but I thought it was hysterical and showed it to everyone.

People think the oddest things are pornographic.
In class we were shown two and only two views of the female reproductive system.  The first looked like this:

Instructive if you need to perform a cesarean.
And the second looked like this:
Useful if you need to chop up a victim and dispose of the evidence.
I was frustrated that they always showed these two views over and over again and never...  Well, I wasn’t sure what, exactly.  Two years later I realized I had just wanted to know what a vagina looked like.  Ten years after that, I finally got to see one.
Again: geek, bad glasses, bad clothes, bad haircut.
The point is, we’re okay with showing cross-sections of the vagina or rectum, we don’t mind describing how sex works, but we’re afraid to show very specific body parts at very specific angles.

For example, boobs.
God, I love writing this blog.
Now, it’s okay for me to show the tops of boobs.
VERY okay.
It’s okay for me to show the bottoms of boobs.
Although this is considered more risqué.
It’s okay for me to show the sides of boobs.
What I like to call the “NYPD Blue Effect.”
It’s even okay for me to show an entire boob with the nipples magically removed.
What I like to call… What the hell do we call that?
It’s not okay for me to show a nipple.
Unless it’s a man’s.
How does this make any sense at all?  Here, look at this picture below and try to guess which are men’s nipples and which are women’s.
And the correct answer is: WHO CARES?!
They look almost exactly the same!  Are we really so freaked out about women’s nipples that we’re going to deny them the right to nurse their kids in public?   Is this really what you want to see?
Didn’t think so.
If people really want to see the results of the test, I'll post them next week.

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