Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mighty Mouse, Johnny Bravo and me

Since the world is still dominated by hetero men, you often see cartoon women who aren't bad, they are just drawn that way, like Jessica Rabbit. Cartoon pinup women with wildly exaggerated female characteristics are pretty common but male characters with exaggeratedly masculine traits are extremely rare - hell, a non-grotesque male character is rare. There are lots of Homer Simpsons and very few Johnny Bravos.

Mm, Johnny Bravo. I cannot lie - I am every bit as attracted to Johnny Bravo as (straight) men are to Jessica Rabbit. Like Jessica, Johnny is inhumanly proportioned - giant chest and arms, tiny waist and short legs... but I find him strangely... compelling.

Then there's his stupendous hair, his kewl shades and his tight-fitting black tee-shirt, jeans and boots. More men should dress like that. (I'd actually prefer men to dress in Regency-period get-up as regular readers of this blog know, but the Johnny look is a much more realistic request.)

Johnny is sort of a blond Elvis kind of guy (and we all know that Elvis actually was a blond) and the look of his cartoon is sort of Elvis-goes-Hawaiian.

But since men still do run the world, even Johnny Bravo must bow to straight male hetero-normative prejudices. Although Johnny is very hot for a cartoon guy, women are always rejecting him, and he's supposed to be laughably narcissistic, which is why he's always saying "man I'm pretty." Whereas hot women in cartoons are always acknowledged as hot. Because your standard hetero man resents hot men. That's why Johnny not only doesn't get the girl, he's frequently assaulted and insulted by women - the revenge of the nerds.

Johnny Bravo once teamed up with the Scooby gang which was really funny. Predictably, he hits on Daphne but of course she rejects him and Velma wants him. But I was glad to see that Daphne was getting some Fred action.

Johnny: "you understand what that dog says?"

I should point out though, that in spite of the supremacy of the male gaze, there is a precursor to Johnny Bravo - Mighty Mouse.

Clearly he had the same physique:

And MM was hard-core hetero - episodes often ended with the girl mouse he rescued covering him with lipstick-smeared kisses.

When I was four years old I adored Mighty Mouse. I don't think I was precocious enough to appreciate his masculine physique at that point, I think I just thought he was cool because he could fly.

However - the first nude I ever drew was of Mighty Mouse. I knew what penises looked like because I had seen my mother changing my brothers' diapers, so Mighty Mouse got a teeny little circumcised penis, but even so, when my mother found the picture she freaked out. Now I can't say I drew this in complete innocence - I knew that nudity was not nice, but I didn't realize how shameful until I was caught drawing a picture of a naked anthropomorphic butch mouse.