In keeping up with an ever-changing world, another childhood fave is being called out for problematic messaging.
Last week it was legendary children’s author, Dr. Seuss, for his work’s racist depictions of black and brown people. This week, in a NY Times Op-Ed article, a writer calls out some Looney Tunes cartoon characters. Most specifically, “Pepé Le Pew” for perpetuating rape culture.
According to TMZ, columnist Charles M. Blow wrote a thought-provoking op-ed piece titled “Six Seuss Books Bore a Bias” that highlights how deeply embedded racism is in American pop culture and points out just how early racist themes are fed to young children.
“Some of the first cartoons I can remember included Pepé Le Pew, who normalized rape culture; Speedy Gonzales, whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans; and Mammy Two Shoes, a heavyset Black maid who spoke in a heavy accent,” Blow wrote.
He maintained that the French skunk, who incessantly pursued Penelope Pussycat, time after time, normalized and perpetuated rape culture, and after some readers attacked his points, he took to Twitter with an example of Le Pew’s now-cringe-worthy, problematic behavior.
“RW blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture. Let’s see. 1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.” It’s true … Penelope Pussycat was often in Pepe’s clutches,” Blow tweeted.
“This helped teach boys that “no” didn’t really mean no, that it was a part of “the game,” the starting line of a power struggle. It taught overcoming a woman’s strenuous, even physical objections, was normal, adorable, funny. They didn’t even give the woman the ability to SPEAK,” he explained.
Does he have a point?