This comic has been making the rounds because it’s pretty cute and makes a good point. However, some people noticed something in it. If you’ll take a look at the original comic, you may notice that one bunny (the irrational one) has on a dress and has pink speech bubbles, while the other (rational) bunny has on pants and has blue speech bubbles. I’m pretty sure most people in the western world can agree that these are fairly clear indicators of gender (not that they should be, just that they are in our culture). But apparently they’re not clear enough for a lot of people in this thread from Pharyngula, including PZ himself. As PZ Myers puts it:
Of all the…dear god, they are cute little toy bunnies. I refuse to consider their sex until they are stripped, flipped over, and I get to poke around with a teeny-tiny toy speculum.
That’s perfectly reasonable. I know that when I see a person in female clothes (in a way that indicates that’s what they normally wear, or they’re not cross dressing for fun) I ask that person to show me their genitalia before I accept that s/he’s female [/snark]. But how about we keep this in terms of toys: gender among dolls is generally indicated by clothing (e.g. female = dresses and pink; male = pants and blue); toy makers usually don’t like to make miniature genitalia on their children’s toys.
So, after everyone had moved beyond debating weather or not these bunnies have genders, we move on to the next annoying argument: Well, maybe the artist just picked gender at random (it’s a 50/50 chance, hurr durr derp). First of all, even if they did pick at random, that doesn’t mean that subconscious sexism didn’t play a role in the choice. Secondly, there’s no reason one had to be male and one had to be female. Both could have been male, or both could have been female. Or they could have had no gender identification at all: no clothes and different color bubbles would be easy enough. But apparently that would take out all the “visually interesting elements“.
Now, some of you might be wondering why I’m concerned about the reaction of people on the internet (SIWOTI syndrome?). Well, the problem lies in the fact that some of these arguments were made by PZ Myers, owner of Pharyngula and a feminist to boot, not some random MRA troll. I don’t want you all to be getting too up in arms about my criticism of PZ, though. I agree with PZ most of the time and I love Pharyngula (I spend way too much time there!). But no one is above this kind of criticism (or any kind of reasonable criticism). But I certainly wouldn’t want this to turn into an Elevatorgate situation. However, it shouldn’t. It was revealed that the artist who created this comic is a sexist ass! And PZ changed his mind about it when this new evidence came to light (because that’s what awesome people do).
This whole thing just goes to show that even feminists can miss sexism sometimes.
I’d like to end this post on something that a commenter said over there that I thought summed this up pretty well:
Nude adorable toy bunnies, green/yellow/purple/peach speech bubbles, and we’d have all agreed on a cute comic being pretty excellent.
Sexism is why we can’t have nice things.