Vagina schmagina, don’t all organs have a consciousness? Jejunum power.

Are we merely a pawn of our digestive system?


We read with interest Neurocritic’s review and reviews of the reviews of the book Vagina: A New Biography. *

We now have a position: The entire concept of empowerment through body organs should not be limited to the vagina.

Noo. We are empowered by all our internal organs, including vaginas if we have ‘em.

In contrast to all those picky persnickety scientist-folk who want, like, data, we’re taking the top line view and we’re totally down with the concept: organ power.

As per our usual m.o., we’re reviewing this even though we haven’t read the book. (Sorry Ms. Wolf – and we are a fan, particularly of your first amendment/right to organize elucidating writings).  So maybe we have the concept wrong and we’re dreaming up our own concept. In that case, we’re quite pleased for this sudden attack of insight:  Organs control behavior and the brain is just the dispatch.


After all, even after they kill your brain, your organs can still instruct the hospital staff to run around and keep them alive! It’s organ telepathy. In fact, that’s why ESP has never been proved (or DIS-proved if you knew we were going to say that), because everyone always looks at the brain first! No! Look at the duodenum sillies! And remember, absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence, you  just have to look harder! After all, there really are mermaids.

You heard it here first! Or was this already rejected during the middle ages? Nah. That was humors. Totally different. We’ll think up why another time when we feel like thinking, cuz right now our non-brain organs are holding us hostage! (Our spleen just reminded us of that time we were were writing a paper tangentially related to splenectemies for Hodgkin’s disease, and we had to comfort each other. That was brain- splenic bonding time. On the other hand, our gall-bladder is a positive maniac for me-time, and we suspect is waiting in the weeds to spring out and say “gotcha.” Not that any of our organs are untrustworthy.)

So we start somewhere: We vote that the digestive system is wayyyy more empowering than the lady parts (or man parts, we suppose, cuz even dead men can make a baby, see sperm widows).

After all, many a hungry tummy has directly driven social change.   Can vajayjays say that? No. Too bad lady parts!

Of course there is the brain-gut connection, but there is also just independent activity at the organ locally, with signals then being sent around to the brain. Intestines have taste receptors (e.g., here), and some propose that insulin is secreted in response to islet cells “tasting” glucose (here).  And, oxytocin also plays a role in nutrition/energy expenditure (in a rodent model, here). If you just counted up the number of brain/organ chemical runs, digestive system wins over lady parts (or men parts).

In fact, the vagina (well, really, uterus) takes a back seat to the gustatory system, as maternal taste and food habits can be inflicted on the unsuspecting fetus. Exhibit A: Children exposed to garlic in the womb eat more garlic flavored potato gratin versus controls. (Here). OK, ok, no playing jokes on the fetus by eating lutefisk or Vegemite or whatever horrible and stinky ol’ thing and having the young ‘un be put this in his lunch box at the lunch table. Not funny. Social conservatives will certainly want to take a stand on this! Right to life and no socially unacceptable food in the womb. That will bring in the coveted  undecided bland-food-eating vote amirite?  It’s the mayonnaise-on-white-bread crowd in the precincts up for grabs. Poll that.

OK. Given that lack of food –>social change, we would wonder if there are chemosensory signals promoting herding in humans for mobs of hungry people rampaging for food (or make guillotines, or whatever). Oxytocin plays a role in social cohesion to some extent, also plays a role in nutrition/energy expenditure (in a rodent model, here). Is there a hunger-oxytocin connection where hungry people turn mean all together?  Sweat from stress enhances the neural response to neutral faces (here) — could sweat from a hungry person do the same thing? Moral: if you’re going to withhold food from hungry people, better not look neutral, in fact look happy to not feed anyone,  just so there’s no mistakes.

So, now that we know there’s a market for books about empowerment through bodily organs, we’ll work up a book proposal — hm,  working title, “I, Duodenum, The Story of My Life.”

Ah yes, another totally informative book review.

*When we read Neurocritic we tend to spend a lot of time because the posts are always yank us in and usually include a video or art or something interesting to go along, like the crunchy center in the candy, to use a metaphor since we’re talking about digestion and glucose here.