Rebecca Watson has a short lingual frenum

I thought she’d just want to know, since she talks about it as one of her hideous personal deformities without knowing what it is called.

Nice video. It takes quite a bit of confidence to be able to do that. I’d make a similar one recounting my flaws, but youtube has a 10 minute limit on their videos.

You know, Rebecca will be one of the speakers at Skepticon III


  1. ckitching says

    She forgot to make fun of her eyesight and glasses!

    Great video, and a good way to address those kinds of comments.

  2. tariqata says

    That is an awesome video.

    And it is also awesome to have a word to explain why I too can’t stick my tongue out very far.

  3. Rorschach says

    Not where I studied medicine, Sir !


    I’m impressed with her eyebrows, though.

  4. Charlie Foxtrot says

    Oh hey! I got one o’ dem!

    …makes it bloody hard trying to lick the beaters.

    (and, no, that’s not a euphemism)

  5. Leah says

    I love when she talks about her unibrow splitting in two as if it were reproducing asexually.

  6. Bride of Shrek OM says

    Hey I always thought it was frenulum also. But of course not being real book smart in medicine stuff type things I rang my Dad who is an ENT. He says the technical term is a gumstring. He was not phased at all that I was going to make this public.

    Did I mention my dad is a frustrated comedian and an idiot.

  7. says

    I’d make a similar one recounting my flaws, but youtube has a 10 minute limit on their videos.

    True. But I suppose you can make one long video then post it in chunks of 10 mins each.

  8. Mike Wagner says

    Bride of Shrek,
    He was probably thinking of the frenum between the upper lip and gums. The lingual frenum is under the tongue :)

    I had the same “shortcoming” as Rebecca and got a frenectomy to give my tongue some freedom. (Yay Frenctomy!!!)

    A tight frenum behind the upper lip can lead to that big gap between teeth.

  9. mistermuz says

    Strong eyebrows are kinda In at the moment, particularly on men (who are naturally allowed to have theirs completely rampant; see Pattinson and that Syler guy for instance). She may not have sculpted them to Megan Fox standards but she’s not going to Frida Kahlo levels of disregard either.

    The internet thing of “changing the nature of celebrity” is a hoary old chestnut by now, but it’s interesting that in the past people in the public eye would have been carefully shielded from public bitching and would be able to steer clear of magazines etc. Now you’re pretty much going to be subjected to all manner of crap 24/7 if you put yourself out there, particularly if you’re DIY. And the more well known you are the worse it gets.
    I suppose there’s really no getting around the fact that the female appearance is always considered fair game, at all times. Someone with higher production values like whatsername from Communitychannel gets horrendous comments pretty consistently. But she gets to put them in the next video and mock them (but that probably just encourages people to some extent).
    Anyway good luck to the thick skinned ladies of the net (and piles of sympathy for the thin skinned ones) *crawls back to dark recess*.

  10. SaintStephen says

    Oh Rebecca. If you could just see yourself through the eyes of an older man!

    I understand your point of view, having been a scrawny beanpole/nerd in my youth, but you’re a lot easier on the eyes than you might think.

    *Grabs his cane and shuffles off*

  11. Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM says

    Loved it. But sadly, it will not do a thing to change the imbecilic nature of commentary at YouTube. I avoid reading there because I end up getting angry at something.

  12. Bride of Shrek OM says


    Nah, trust me after 40 years as a surgeon he knows what he’s talking about. He calls any stringy bits in the mouth “gumstrings”. But then he also calls the uvula the “throat dingle”, the septum the “snot divider” and the tympanic mebrane the “wax collector”. I told you- he’s an idiot. His paediatric patients think he’s some sort of living god because he talks like them.

  13. Bride of Shrek OM says

    I should also say ( to defend his honour that I’ve just besmirched, not to sound all Kw*k-like) that he’s a very well respected senior surgeon who has taught in some of the finest universities and hospitals around the world and has invented laser surgeries to correct otitis media as well as snoring ( without having to resort to a palatectomy) as well as being the pioneer of endoscopic sinus surgery in the world ( along with 2 Austrian blokes).

    I love my dad….doesn’t stop him from being a piss poor comedian and general idiot though!

    And he reads this site (atheist dad’s riule) so ..HI DAD..*waving*

  14. Mike Wagner says

    Hahahaha. You’re so mean.

    I just ran into the confusion initially because I showed up for the frenectomy, and they assumed I wanted the gum/lip frenum trimmed.
    They weren’t expecting to cut into some tongue, for purely utilitarian reasons. But it’s all just a slice anyway so with the new target in mind they went to work.

    Now when I went in for a partial orchidectomy, my surgeon probably wasn’t overly impressed by the huge printing in black maker on each of my legs saying “OTHER SIDE” and “THIS SIDE”.

  15. Rorschach says

    I rang my Dad who is an ENT.

    How someone can spend their life syringing wax-clogged ears, cauterising bleeding noses or sticking little tubes into eardrums is beyond me frankly …:-)

    *waves to Dad*

  16. Grant N says

    I vote Rebecca for Skepchick of the Month for March. They do have a Skepchick calendar don’t they? Well they did…

    2005 eSkeptic article

    Not sure if there’s any recent editions tho’.

    Go here for those unfamiliar with RW’s writing.

  17. skeptical scientist says

    Rebecca Watson is just so awesome, I can’t get over how awesome she is. And snarky. I think she should take Randi’s million dollar challenge, because I think the level to which she takes snarkiness might just be supernatural. (How would you test that?)

  18. Bride of Shrek OM says


    I have asked him this on many occasions when I give him shit about the nasty body fluids he has to see when he sees ears/noses/throast in diseased states. His comeback is always that it beats being a gynaecologist under those same circumstances.

    ..actually he traned to be an orthopod first. I have fond memories of when he was still a registrar and money was tight. He used to buy a whole sheep from the abbatoir and cut it up into meal portions in the back yard- using the bone saw he’d nicked from work for the weekend.

    Not wanting to get on a soapbox about my dad but he’s got some awesome stories to tell- he was a surgeon in Vietnam and he’s the coolest bloke I know ( and I guess by now you can all tell I’m incredibly proud of him and love him to bits)

  19. Rorschach says

    His comeback is always that it beats being a gynaecologist under those same circumstances.

    Anything beats being a gynecologist, as far as Im concerned…..:-)

    And I love my dad to bits too !

  20. Rorschach says

    And it’s always nice to see the ENT guy turn up at 3 am when you have already inserted anterior and posterior packs and balloon into a nose, and used up the supply of packed cells and 85yo granny on Warfarin is still trying to exsanguinate in front of you LOL…..:-)

    So I do like ENT surgeons !!

  21. Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM says

    ENT surgeon? Have you ever operated on Treebeard?

    Damn. No matter how old I get, I remain a huge geek.

  22. OrchidGrowinMan says

    “Frenulum,” and knowing exactly what it (one) was was one of my daughter’s first ‘PROUD-TO-KNOW-IT” words. ‘Course, at 4-y-o, she was doing “Gray’s Anatomy Colouring Book” and watching “The Operation” on TV. I shut that off when I caught her watching a vasectomy. She leaves for college this fall (cross fingers).

    Anyway, to the point, and I hope Rebecca reads this, there is precident for bushy eyebrows:

    or even

    You Go, Girl! You’re in Good Company, in many ways.

  23. Mike Wagner says

    @Bride of Shrek

    Wow, a surgeon in Vietnam? Pretty much anyone who has been in a trauma room probably owes him some thanks. :)

    On an unrelated topic, I knocked off another rhyme today. The Ballad of PZ Myers!

    Sorry it’s no Cuttlefish, but I try :)

  24. marion.delgado says

    PZ I don’t know if you knew, or mentioned, the death of Vic Chesnutt a couple of months ago. He was a lifelong public atheist (since 13 years old), with partial paralysis from the neck down due to an accident at 18, became a famous part of the Athens musical explosion, along with the B-52s, REM, Pylon, Let’s Active, etc. covered by dozens of musicians, did 19 albums in about 11 years.

    Dunno if he’d be what you’d like, but I thought I’d point it out. The Minnesota Atheists mentioned it prominently when it occurred.

  25. MadScientist says

    I know someone with a very long frenulum; he can touch the tip of his nose with his tongue. I tell him it’s convenient that he doesn’t have to get his fingers sticky cleaning his nose.

  26. Treppenwitz says

    Do the oral frena have any function in humans? If not, are they vestigial traits or epiphenomena?

  27. says


    Vic Chesnutt… He was a lifelong public atheist (since 13 years old)

    How does that qualify as “lifelong”?
    Did he spend his first 12 years dead?

  28. Bride of Shrek OM says


    And that was possibly the most fucking pedantic comment I’ve ever read.

  29. Mike Wagner says

    While we’re being pedantic I’m lifelong++, since I never drank the zombie juice.

    I’m curious though. Was he indoctrinated into religion and broke free at 13? Or did he never drink the zombie juice and just took a stand at 13?

  30. BrainUser says

    I’ve been posting in the trenches of youTube’s moronic religious battlegrounds and find it refreshing to come here for some entertainment with a dash of class.

    Thank you!

  31. llewelly says

    OrchidGrowinMan | March 2, 2010 2:07 AM:

    ‘Course, at 4-y-o, she was doing “Gray’s Anatomy Colouring Book” and watching “The Operation” on TV. I shut that off when I caught her watching a vasectomy.

    huh? What’s so bad about a vasectomy? Really it’s quite tame as operations go.

  32. DLC says

    yeah, and I’m going bald and grey at the same time.
    Oh, and I have a formerly broken nose.
    But I’m sometimes right. . . and I usually have at least some facts on my side.
    Oh, and Rebecca’s a good skeptic and (from all accounts) a fun person to hang out with, despite all her “faults”.

  33. Andrew H. says

    I wonder if Rebecca knows that a quick little snip of the frenum by a friendly surgeon would enable her to gain substantially more lingual gymnastics?

  34. Kevin says

    @ckitching (#2) (yeah, really far back):

    That’s because glasses on girls is sexy…

    Yes, I’m laying it down right here. Girls are sexy anyway, but put a pair of good-looking glasses on ’em, and the sexiness factor goes up about ten points.

  35. TGAP Dad says

    My son had the same issue with his lingual frenum – which actually looked even more limiting than Rebecca’s. In his case, it was interfering with playing the trumpet. About 15 minutes with an oral surgeon corrected it completely.

  36. Everyday Atheist says

    It’s fascinating to look closely in the mirror and find the subtle imperfections that come with being a product of nature. About a month ago, I noticed for the first time that my nose is slightly curved as viewed straight on. Blew me away that I’ve been looking at myself for 34 years and never saw that. I realized a while back that my ears sit at different levels, when my old glasses wouldn’t sit right without bending the earpieces differently.

  37. KOPD42 says

    I love smart, confident women. There’s so much I want to say about the deep respect I have for women who stand up to this idiotic cultural meme that only “beautiful” women have value, but I’m not as good at expressing myself as other commenters here. I’ll leave that to the more eloquent among us. I’m going to have to check out her channel and see what else she has to say.

  38. KOPD42 says

    Okay, so Rebecca = Skepchick. Don’t I feel like an idiot now. I hear others reference and/or quote her a lot. Now she’ll be part of my regular listening routine. Been meaning to do that already, but hadn’t got around to it.

  39. Curt Cameron says

    I only say this because Rebecca would appreciate it…

    Short lingual frenum? Sounds sexay!

  40. daftbeaker says

    [stereotypical male]I saw the title and spent the rest of the video thinking ‘She’s hot, who’s complaining?’ Forgot to listen to what she was saying, good thing there’s a transcript :) [/stereotypical male]

  41. says

    Thats why Thunderf00t generally didn’t put his face in videos, since he knew what kind of trolls were on the internet. Instead of fighting against said trolls, he decided to just skirt the issue, since it was effectively a lost cause to bother fighting against “you are ugly” type of comments.

  42. Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM says


    And how does that support her arguments?

  43. Treppenwitz says


    And how does that support her arguments?

    The video? It doesn’t, at least not directly. It’s just making fun of people who resort to ad homs.

  44. ambulocetacean says

    KOPD42 at #46,

    Rebecca is also part of the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast, which is an excellent little institution. It’s hosted by Steven Novella, a neuroscientist who dissects woo with surgical skill.

  45. Die Anyway says

    Substituting ‘frenulum’ for ‘frenum’ to get the meter right…

    Rebecca Watson has a short lingual frenulum,
    Rebecca Watson has a short lingual frenulum,…

    reminds me so much of a certain tune about Ted Haggard:

    Not that I’m comparing Rebecca to Ted. Please. I laughed and cried while listening to Rebecca’s wedding on the SGU podcast. And I’m registered over at Skepchick. It was just the meter of the phrase that made me remember that Ted Haggard song.

  46. kjd1005 says

    she looks great.. although, even I own a blow drier… its not an excess or anything and they last ten years at least…

    re the brows.. her left one looks perfectly normal. (our right) I think part of the problem is that the other one appeared about twice as thick, which could be disconcerting watching her, which I confess I have not until today.

    her teeth are fine because she has small teeth and a small mouth. imagine if they were HUGE teeth and all crooked and sticking out.. like say.. Tony Blair!!!!

    and anyone who insults a woman/girl about her appearance is a cad or a harpy. now insulting GUYS happens all the time and no one blinks …

    but I agree with that anyway.

  47. chuckgoecke says

    We used to call that being tongue-tied. I think one of my siblings had it cut when he(or she, I don’t remember which one it was) was little. Its very possible to fix that problem oneself with a sharp scissors and a few days of antibacterial mouthwash. Like oral piercings, they heal exceptionally fast. Its probably worth doing, because it would probably give you better pronunciation and might come in handy in other ways. … (like tying cherry stems in knots, what were you thinking)

    I love Rebecca, in that platonic, admirational sort of way. And I think she’s haute, in that crunchy, down-to-earth, high self esteem, intelligent, Rachael Maddow/Sara Silverman sort of way.

  48. Sili says

    Rebecca will also be at TAM8.

    And at that Copenhagen meeting. (I really need too look into going.)

    Now when I went in for a partial orchidectomy, my surgeon probably wasn’t overly impressed by the huge printing in black maker on each of my legs saying “OTHER SIDE” and “THIS SIDE”.


    Not wanting to get on a soapbox about my dad but he’s got some awesome stories to tell- he was a surgeon in Vietnam and he’s the coolest bloke I know ( and I guess by now you can all tell I’m incredibly proud of him and love him to bits)

    He should have a chat with Sid Schwab, who’s a rare contibutor here. Also an awesome atheïstic Vietnam veteran.