Charles M. Blow says that cartoon "helped teach boys that 'no' didn't really mean 'no'
Just last week, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that six Dr. Seuss books would no longer be published as they portrayed people of other races in a hurtful, wrong, and racist manner. Now, a Looney Tunes character, Pepé Le Pew, the cartoon French skunk, has come under fire by Charles M. Blow, a New York Times columnist, who claimed the character "added to rape culture."
In a tweet a couple of days ago, he wrote: "RW blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture," adding a brief clip and at least three arguments to support his claims. "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."
RW blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture. Let’s see.— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) March 6, 2021
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. pic.twitter.com/CbLCldLwvR
Blow first expressed his views on an op-ed piece he published on March 3 about the six Seuss books that have since been removed from publication. In the piece titled "Six Seuss Books Bore a Bias", the writer of politics, social justice, and ethnic minorities-based pieces since 1994, said various classic Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes produced by Warner Bros. during the '40s and '50s had racial stereotypes. "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," he noted.
In a follow-up to the tweet, Blow said: "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."
If the NY Times says Pepe Le Pew adds to rape culture, what will they say about the Coming 2 America sequel where the entire plot is based Leslie Jones' character date-raping Prince Akeem?— Neanderthal Life Coach Poso (@JackPosobiec) March 6, 2021
His tweets unsurprisingly had mixed reactions. Sierra Spartan wrote: 1. It's...a...fucking...cartoon. 2. It was made in the 1950s, when this society's values and mores were a wee bit different. 3. Pepe always gets clowned by the cat in the end...every time. 4. It's a fucking cartoon. 5. For those of you unclear on the point, see #1 and #4 above. Sabrina Alberghetti added: "She wasn't running from - him-, she was running from him because he SMELLED BAD - he's a SKUNK. I feel like there was an ep. where he didn't smell and SHE turned the tables on him. Does nobody remember this?" Beautiful Binary Being noted: The Irony about this is... Woke People are trying to destroy structures made by society to go back to the stone age but they always compare stuff from a half-century ago to modern standards.
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.— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) March 6, 2021
Susanamy said: "All the comments saying “it was another time”, it was a “cartoon”, etc. just don’t get it. It added to, and normalized a systematic culture of rape and disrespect for women. If you don’t see that you are part of the problem." To which S. Brook replied, "No, it didn't normalize anything. It made kids laugh while we ate our cereal on Saturday mornings. Right before we out on our play clothes and spent the rest of the day outside playing with our friends, no helicopters hovering. We knew it was a just a crazy cartoon skunk." Victor Graham added: So you don't think that cartoons play an important role in socializing our kids and teaching them what's normal?
You know what was going through my head when I watched that as a child. "Oh no a skunk, they stink, no wonder the cat wants to get away". Not; "Oh no the skunk will rape the cat!" at the age I didn't even understand rape, or sex.— DarkPlum (@kurosumomo) March 8, 2021
Robin Hood Goomba had a particularly scathing retort. In their sarcastic tweet, they said: "Covid had killed 500,000 Americans in one year. California is on fire. Texas is frozen solid. Millions of people can't find jobs. Millions who work can't make ends meet. But THIS is what society needs to concern itself with, THIS is a serious root issue that MUST be stopped."
People in the replies proving the point. “Look, I watched this show and didn’t rape anyone!” That’s just some funny stuff, watching women try to evade a predator. Love me some scared women!”— Heather Aften (@HeatherAften) March 6, 2021
Lots of virtue signaling in this thread. It’s a cartoon. If you felt uncomfortable with this growing up I hope you never watch any other tv programs,movies or listen to most music especially rap. Lots of uncomfortable topics/visual I just don’t think you’d recover from.— Rachel Thompson (@Btrix_kiddo85) March 6, 2021
Cesar Suero did a takedown of Blow by pointing out a story and a tweet the reporter had done on rapper BIG. "This sounds rather hypocritical for someone who admires and idolizes Biggie Smalls," they wrote. "As much as we love his music, his lyrics are arguably more detrimental than a 1950’s cartoon character. But a hit on BIG doesn’t land well on Twitter does it."
I also watched the Coyote try and blow up the Roadrunner with TNT, but, for some reason, I never felt compelled to attempt to do that to anyone irl.— Conan the Bernsbarian (@EarlNoahBernsby) March 6, 2021
But Blow is not alone in his thinking. According to Deadline, comedian Dave Chappelle said the same thing in one of his routines. You can watch it here: