thoughtsAn offensive picture

So I was doodling at work - no real focus or intention in mind - just doodling. And this thing came out. I guess what I was trying for was to express human sentiment through a creature while having it possess features that were as alien as possible.

Granted, it has two eyes, and the two arms are a little more human-like than I intended, but I think it came out about like I intended.

Slug lady

The little bristle things on the bottom were an innovation. I knew I didn't want crab legs or slug butt, so the nub-things it stands on are nicely foreign while remaining sorta plausible.

But I'm not posting this here because I think the picture's particularly noteworthy, I'm posting this because of what happened after I drew it.

I had left the drawing sitting face up on my desk, and this woman comes up and looks at it. Now, I've been working where I've been working for a longass time, and I had never seen this woman before. And she asks me "Did you draw this?".

Now, an entirely different sort of person, given the hand-drawn nature of the piece, and the pencil and eraser in its vicinity, would have been sarcastic, and considered themselves witty. I am not that sort of person.

"Yeah.", I said, and, feeling the need to explain myself, I added "I was just trying to express something human while using as few actual human elements as possible, you know?"

To which the mystery woman replied "Yes, it certainly expresses something. But I think it might not be entirely suitable for the workplace, so if we could just...", and then proceeded to flip the sheet over.

Now, an entirely different sort of person might have balked at this milquetoast censorship and demanded to know what, exactly, this self-appointed guardian of morality found so licentious about the piece, and what subject matter, exactly, we were and were not permitted to doodle within the company radius. I am not that sort of person.

"Oh!", I said, stashing the page further from the public eye, "Yeah, okay, yeah, didn't realize, sorry, okay."

It wasn't until I considered the encounter after the fact that I really because curious about this woman's objection. What was it about the image that she deemed problematic?

Was it the glass of unidentified liquid? Is there an unspoken implication that it is alcoholic, or some alcohol analog? Is it because the container is conical, or because it is being held aloft?

Is the creature sexually exploited or objectified? Is there an implication of sexual arousal or willingness? Given that no primary or secondary erogneous zones are prominently presented - or even discernable - are we basing this on the heavily lidded eyes and protruding lower lashes (which, as I was doodling, I thought of as sensory organs, rather than as mascara)?

Is the creature scantily clad? Clothing it(her?) at all was a difficult choice, I just gave her two bandoliers and webbed them together. Is that insufficient? Is there an implication that socially important organs are hidden from view? Are they not hidden enough? Should there be folds of fabric?

Had I drawn this same creature lofting a broadsword, would it become acceptable? If I had drawn it with a broadsword, would it be as relatable?


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