These Women Wrote A Children's Book For Grown-Up Men & You're Going To Want To Buy It

Where Does Your Penis Belong? may be illustrated in the style of a children's book, but it definitely doesn't belong in the reading circle of a nursery class. This satirical book, created by Ashley Simon, Isla Murray and Allison Gore, is designed to answer the age-old question, "Where does your penis belong?" and it belongs on your coffee table, in HR departments, and probably in the mailbox of more than a few men.
During this winter's onslaught of sexual misconduct revelations against public figures, Simon, the cofounder of Curious Elixirs, didn't quite know what to do with herself. Mostly, she found herself talking, griping, and expressing a whole range of emotions with friends. During one such gathering, Simon inadvertently stumbled upon the idea that she, along with Murray and Gore, would develop into Where Does Your Penis Belong? over the course of two whirlwind weeks.
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"We were talking stories of men exposing themselves to their female colleagues. My reaction to those stories was, 'That’s the most infantile – not to mention disrespectful — but infantile behaviour that I’ve ever heard of.' Do these men need a primer? Do they need a children’s book? Maybe we should make a children's book," Simon told Refinery29, giving a portrait of just how quickly this project came together.
Within a day, Simon contacted Isla Murray, a designer and cofounder of the creative studio Lama Six, with whom she'd worked on a previous project. They would, they swiftly decided, write a satirical children's book instructing men where their penises belonged (hint: in their pants). "It was fun to say, 'This is fucking it. This satire approach is beautiful'," Murray said. Murray brought on her friend, Allison Gore, to illustrate. The three co-creators wrote the copy, settled on an appropriately infantile primary-colour scheme, and created a website with an interactive component all within two weeks.
Where Does Your Penis Belong? consists of examples of where penises do and do not belong, in settings ranging from on-the-nose to hilariously specific to straight-up bizarre. The co-authors settled on six examples, whittled down from Simon's original brainstorm — which also included ideas like "during a performance review" and "any medical situation when you're the doctor". All the examples, Simon says, lend themselves to the theme of, "'You should know better".
So far, the response to Where Does Your Penis Belong? has been overwhelmingly positive. Clearly, the book's satirical approach to sexual misconduct provided the same kind of catharsis as, say, SNL's viral "Welcome to Hell" digital short did. When faced with such overwhelmingly baffling behaviour, humour provides a refuge, as the authors themselves acknowledged. "Where Does Your Penis Belong? was a therapeutic exercise for us, and we hope it’s a therapeutic read for many others," the book's website says, with a message from the authors.
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According to Simon, women readers openly embraced the book. But after poring over her Twitter mentions, Simon was surprised to find just how many men enjoyed the book, too. "My hypothesis behind that is that this is a lot easier for a man to talk about, especially on social media, because this is humorous and funny, and that’s an easier way in for a lot of dudes. I saw a lot of tweets that were like, 'Bros, get yourself this book,'" Simon tells us.
Ultimately, the co-authors hope Where Does Your Penis Belong? will be "part of a thousand pieces that leads to change," as Simon put it. In addition to starting a dialogue, the book will also make a more concrete impact on the problem of sexual misconduct. One hundred percent of the sales proceeds for Where Does My Penis Belong? will be donated to RAINN, the US anti-sexual violence organisation (UK release TBC).
You may see more work from the co-authors soon. After this experience, Simon and Murray agree that they'd consider tackling another children's book about a grown-up topic in the future.
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