Tag Archives: sexuality

The Sudden Physical Development of Debra Dupuis

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My only regret is that I didn’t have enough room to draw a pair of helium filled flesh dirigibles.

This story is almost entirely about this seventh grade girl’s breasts, which is great and empowering, but at the same time, a tiny bit problematic. In Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, in the story “Tell Yourself,” the mother is supremely uncomfortable because her teenage daughter owns a belly shirt with cupcake printed over each boob, and I did draw the controversial cupcake shirt. Plus, I busted out with the totally naked uncovered middle-aged mom boob in last week’s “The Perfect Lawn.” I’m kind of surprised that mom boob didn’t end me up in Facebook jail, as I’m pretty sure it violated their terms of service.

So that’s the trinity of naked people parts: mom’s boob in “The Perfect Lawn,” Big Joanie’s kid butt in “Circus Matinee,” and Uncle Cal’s doomed appendage in “Family Reunion.”

Anyway, I knew one thing for certain, and that was I was not going to draw 6 panels of adolescent girl tit in this comic. Fortunately, Bonnie Jo writes these lovely but insane breast metaphors to discuss just how proud Debra is, how wonderful her development feels to her. So I just drew the metaphors.

“The Sudden Physical Development of Debra Dupuis” is one of the more joyful stories in the canon, I think. A terrible guy does a terrible thing to Debra, and the adults’ perspective is that Debra brought it on herself and what kind of fallen twelve-year-old shows off her bounty like that (a lot of them, I would imagine), and for a couple hours Debra is broken by this treatment, but then her joy in her appearance—her self-love, at least for one part of herself—is powerful enough to wash that all away. She becomes, again, clean and perfect in her own eyes. How many of us solve that issue in middle school?

Straight Lines and All Mandala


Every once in a while, I find myself accidentally in balance.

Change is in the air, lifting the wings of a paper crane as it floats over turbulence, rustling the unkempt spikes on a dragon’s back. Mesmerizing. This week, probably. For a lot of years–maybe 7 or so, I should think–the Fox and I kept up a daily correspondence about our creative output in the previous 24 hours. Then I got cranky and disillusioned with the industry and he met and fell in love with the Otter and that all got put on hold for 2 years. Then he married the Otter (I married the Otter and him, because that is something I am totally qualified to do in the state of Arizona, and he had kindly married The Man and me 3 years earlier) and I got my groove back and we have been writing each other emails again. This is very exciting.

Tomorrow I’ve been invited to participate in a panel on gender and sexuality at a near-ish college, and I’m really excited. I think this–adult sex ed–is something I want to get more involved in. I guess I’m suffering from a little chest cold (6 airplane flights in 5 weeks, not surprising) and I’m not feeling like much of a dragon, but I’m determined to put my heart into this, because it’s important to me that young adults see that the world is not 100% heteronormative and cis-gendered, that’s it’s OK to not fit into a false binary, that you can be happy and fabulous without conforming to arbitrary life expectations based on someone else’s perception of your genitals. I was lucky to attend Antioch College, so I heard these messages when I was 17, but even with the Internet, I guess a lot of kids still don’t know that they’re OK.

But if you’re reading this, and your gender and/or sexuality don’t match up with your community’s stereotypes of acceptable outcomes, know that you are OK.