Facebook to New Yorker: no nipples in your cartoons!

Facebook forced The New Yorker to remove a cartoon depicting Adam and Eve in the Garden because the cartoonist drew in two dots representing Eve's nipples, which is a Facebook no-no.

Nipplegate (via JWZ)



  1. OMG BB – could’ve warned us with a NSFW warning! The IT dept is gonna go nuts when they find out I’ve been looking at nip close-ups.

  2. Man, bad day for my Internet today.  The earlier post about the Skepchick shirt (which I totally dig) led me down a rabbithole over at Skepchick’s site, and I just blew a couple of headache-inducing hours reading up on last year’s “Elevatorgate” controversy (about which I was formerly blissfully ignorant and am now less-blissfully informed).  Between that and the ginned-up controversy over Professor Adrienne Pine’s breastfeeding during a lecture, I don’t think I could stand another “-gate” for the rest of the fiscal year, especially ones involving nipples.

    Nipples.  Man, we’re an eighth of the way through the twenty-first century and people still get shocked, scandalized, and/or grossed-out by nipples.  I’d thought we’d gotten past this during Farrah Fawcett’s prime, but then we get distracted by things like Reaganomics and trading arms for hostages and recalcitrant tribes in the Middle East, and just when we think we’ve made a little progress in racial/gender/LGBTQ equality and/or gas mileage, we turn around and discover that nipples are once again sinful.  Heaven forbid we expend too much attention and effort trying to fix this, lest we lose much of our progress in other, more vital issues, like the ones I just mentioned.

    Sorry, folks, I’m just brought down by all this.  May we enjoy some more permanent progress soon.

    1. *back pat*

      There there. One of those -gates led me to withdraw from almost all of the internet and use boingboing as the main source for my addiction. I highly recommend it!

          1. I assume that poster has some meaning for the American psyche/pop culture?  Like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Sünderin for Germany?

  3. C’mon this is comedy of the highest order. On accident you can pull up pictures and comments of the most filthiest and degrading nature in creation. Dot nipples are a source of prudish concern on Facebook? This is sarcasm 2.0.

  4. Not to defend Facebook’s prudish behavior in the least, but if you take any image that some Supreme Courter declares “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be [obscene] but I know it when I see it” and dissect the drawing: “U” of a penis separated over here, “V” of female genitals selected and translated by themselves over here…  then it just shows how context is everything  (hot throbbing context)

  5. The link is worth clicking through. Apparently, Gawker and New York Magazine have no sense of humor. Or maybe they’re wearing a welder’s mask over it.

  6. So does Facebook apply the same policy for it’s users everywhere?  If this had been posted on a French publication’s page, would it be acceptable?

    1. If by French you mean Instagram, the answer is “no.” My friend had her account deleted for holding up a drawing of breasts in front of herself (fully clothed.) 

      Fuck Zuck. 

  7. This policy of blatant discrimination strikes very close to home for me. Many of my closest friends and family members happen to have nipples.

        1. I have three for sure, maybe five. They’re quite difficult to distinguish from moles, but they’re raised (unlike my hundred or so other moles), not the typical color of any of the other moles, and in the nipple line.

          1. That’s fascinating speaking as a twin. Has no doctor ever noticed or come up with an explanation? Have you had them all your life (stupid question)? There must be a Greek or Latin word for your gift. I’m not being sarcastic.

          2.  @rattypilgrim:disqus Humans often have vestigial nipples, arranged like you might see on a sow (pig) or a bitch (d0g).  Most of the time they stay subcutaneous and don’t show or develop considerably, though they retain many of the cell structures such as lactating glands, which can appear even on men.  Occasionally genetic magickry results in vestigial organs becoming not-so-vestigial in others, so they become more prominent in certain genome configurations.  At least so I remember from my intro to Biology class… perhaps someone with more scientific understanding or Google-fu can supplement.

          3. Supernumerary nipples run in my family. On my dad, they are quite distinct, though tiny; on my brother, tinier still. Me, I just have a slightly hairy dimple where a third would be.

        2. Like Wade Sims notes, supernumary nips are generally an expression of a recessive trait we carry from our many-nippled pre-human ancestors, not a leftover from a vestigial twin. It’s a bit like those rare cases where human babies are born with tails.

    1.  They’re not designed to be funny. They are designed to elicit exactly your response, which is hilarious.

  8. Why is the nipple the no go zone anyway? If a woman wore a baggy shirt that revealed nothing but her nipples would it be titillating? Ok, maybe it would, but would it be titillating the next week? Alright, maybe there would still be people masturbating about it on the internet, but people masturbate to everything on the internet! Eventually we need to get to the point where nipples are meh. Then we can start debating well defined treasure trails on guys.

    1. If a woman wore a baggy shirt that revealed nothing but her nipples

      How, exactly, would that work? I’m curious about the mechanics of the situation. Please use diagrams and schematics to explain.

      1. Have circles cut out of the shirt in such a way that you attach those parts of the shirt to each nipple.  Kinda like crotchless panties.

  9. You often hear “God didn’t make Adam and Steve, but Adam and Eve”

    Well, according to the KJV of the garden story. God made Adam first.

    The original plan of God’s was to have Adam stay at home, take care of the pets, tend the garden never leave the garden home.
    When God got home, from doing whatever Gods do,  Adam was expected to Obey His Every word without question. He also wasn’t allowed to wear clothes.

    Eve was an afterthought and things rapidly spiraled out of control after she appeared. She wouldn’t put up that, 3 ways never work as well as you hope.

  10. It was proven during the Middle Ages that Eve had no navel.  It’s a pity theologians have not directly addressed the nipple question, but I think it likely Eve had not less than two.  In addition to Cain and Abel, she had numerous other children, and must have fed them in the pre-Similac manner.  Hence, nipples.

    1. I’d guess complaint.  Else it would have to be pretty advanced recognition software (not that unlikely though I guess).

      Problem being that it’s very subjective.  Of course there is absolutely nothing offensive, crude or sexual about this image, but if you have a no boobs policy then how much deliberation should be expected?

      I kind of imagine the image flashing up on a FB employees screen, them confirming that it does indeed contain boobs, sighing, loosing a little of their humanity, and then hitting the block button.

      I could be wrong, but they probably don’t send these decisions to committee or have board meetings about it.  Not that boob screening wouldn’t make for an interesting board meeting.

  11. Ah, nipples. They got the New Yorker banned from Facebook. They nearly cost CBS half a million dollars. Is there anything they can’t do? Fascinatingly, only women’s nipples seem to have this awesome power to corrupt and terrify.

    “I am nipple, hear me roar!”

  12. There is some sort of hilarous poetic justice here.  In the early days of The New Yorker, editor  Harold Ross objected to a nipple – in a cartoon by Clarence Day that depicted Eve in the garden.  (Day merely whited out the nipple and part of the contour of the breast, giving a broken line, and Ross ran the cartoon that way.)

  13. Facebook, like Communism, was a good idea in theory, but not so good in the real world. It was cool for about five minutes. Facebook makes sense for people with a middle school mentality.

  14. I have to agree with Facebook’s strict no-nipples policy. If they allow one cartoon with crudely drawn nipple-dots, it soon becomes a nip-slippery slope.

  15. Immediately makes me think of this exchange in The Magic Christian:

    Youngman Grand, Esq.: Dad, do you think words corrupt?
    Sir Guy Grand KG, KC, CBE: I don’t know, let’s try. Agnes?
    Dame Agnes Grand: [looks up from the television] Yes?
    Sir Guy Grand KG, KC, CBE: Nipple.
    Dame Agnes Grand: Shh!
    [turns back to the television]
    Sir Guy Grand KG, KC, CBE: [watches her a moment] Well, there’s no immediate physical change. 

  16. Yeah, except the asking her out for a coffee wasn’t the main point, but rather that he did it in the middle of the night, in a space she couldn’t leave, away from everybody else. “How DARE a woman say ‘guys, don’t do that’ after a man approached her at 4am in a hotel elevator, away from everybody else, after she had annouced she was going to bed.
    Really, these wimminz trying to take my right away to corner them in the middle of the night!”
    I am happy for you that you have enough male privilege to not understand how such a situation could feel threatening. Just trust me on this – as a woman, I would have been afraid. And not because I think all men are evil rapists, just because I know some are, and I’d much rather be safe than sorry.

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