In a recent online experiment, a woman asked a group of men to draw medically accurate vaginas to make a point: If men don't even know basic facts about female anatomy, how can they legislate it? They failed miserably. But how might women do at sketching medically accurate peen? We decided to conduct our own experiment.
First, the men. Over at Mic, Elizabeth Plank asked men she knew to draw a picture of a vagina. The idea was to prove how dangerous ignorance really is. Congress is overwhelmingly men, and those men are overwhelmingly clueless about women's bodies, and the result is terrifyingly oppressive legislation. Plank writes:
Take former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who suggested that women need birth control because they can't control their libidos. Or former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who claimed there is a link between breast cancer and abortion (pro tip: there isn't). And who could forget former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) and his infamous "legitimate rape" theory.
The results, she writes, were as bad as you might expect.
Although I'm not entirely sure why a couple of these guys think the pee comes out the bottom, I have to say, I don't think I could draw a medically accurate penis either.
No, really I tried:
I legit don't know where the semen is made.
Does it go into the balls and then back out, like in that v-shape motion I just invented? Does it come out of the prostate? Also I am just a bad drawer, no head I've ever seen actually looks that way, promise, and that is one inadvertently skinny dick.
I asked other ladies to try to draw their version of a medically accurate penis. I got stuff like this, from my art director friend:
Not bad? Nice front view, tho!
And this, from a writer:
The sperm is in the balls right? But this lacks inner detail.
And from Laura Beck, former Jezebel writer:
And Jezebel's Feature's Ed., Jia Tolentino, thinks a dick looks like this:
No, really, she thinks it looks like this:
And then this conversation was had:
And I even asked a dude to draw it, Mark Shrayber, who OWNS a penis and would like you to know he drew this with Prismacolor markers which cost $30:
Ain't nobody knows about the urethra. In fact, the only person I knew who could get pretty detailed about it was a women's health practitioner, but that was a vague recollection from a decade-old anatomy class:
Even she was stumped about the urethra. Though she did explain that the fluid in semen doesn't all come from the balls and is a bit of a "witches brew." There's a helpful video here that explains it. Turns out, sperm DOES start in the balls and live there, and for the ejaculatory process, it goes through the vas deferens into a few other places, gets mixed together, and then contracted back out.
Oh, here is an accurate rendering from WebMD:
I'd forgotten about the seminal vesicle, and that shit matters. In conclusion: We're all stupid? No, I think we all have the general idea of how the parts look, and a rough idea of how it all works to varying degrees of specificity.
But ultimately I think the anti-choice Plank ascribes to anatomical ignorance is incorrect. Would an anatomy lesson turn Republicans pro-choice? Doubtful. It's simply more likely that there's something wrong with not their knowledge, but, rather, their intelligence.
Top illustration by Jim Cooke, who estimates he drew "at least a dozen" dicks this year.