How Lola Bunny confused a generation.
Space Jam was a marketer's wet dream in the form of a feature film.
Capitalizing on every mid-90s kid's two favorite interests––cartoons and basketball––Space Jam dared to pose the question: "What if Bugs Bunny met Michael Jordan?" Despite its failure to impress critics, the Looney Tunes/NBA crossover has endured as a cultural touchstone for young millennials.
On top of launching a slew of toys and video games,
Space Jam's soundtrack debuted R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly," which would go on to be played at every graduation event throughout the 2000s (and then never again, for obvious reasons). To this day, Space Jam ranks as the highest-grossing basketball movie of all time. In fact, a sequel starring LeBron James is slated for 2021. But Space Jam has remained influential in another major way, too––a sexual way.
Enter Lola Bunny, an anthropomorphic rabbit who played the role of Bugs Bunny's love interest and, more importantly, confusing boner-fuel for a whole generation. Unlike many other "hot" cartoon characters, Lola didn't just have an attractive character design that would later become sexualized by fans. Rather, Lola Bunny was canonically hyper-sexualized and fully intended to be constantly ogled, both by in-world characters and viewers.
Lola Bunny Scenes (Space Jam) [HD] www.youtube.com
Lola talks sexually, struts sexually, and even dunks basketballs sexually. Her opening scene involves her crop top strap falling over her shoulder.
This was a conscious choice made by animators for a PG-rated movie with a target demographic of 8- to 12-year-old children. And while
Who Framed Roger Rabbit did the whole "hyper-sexualized PG cartoon" shtick years earlier, Jessica Rabbit was at least a human woman. Lola Bunny, on the other hand, was actually a bunny. Consequently, she likely induced many 90s kids' first sexual experiences––with an anthropomorphic animal, no less.
Perhaps it's no wonder that the majority of furries––a community largely (but not entirely) based around roleplaying and fetishizing anthropomorphic animals––hail from the same 18-27 demographic who would have been young children around the time Space Jam came out.
That's not to say Space Jam directly resulted in furries. Furry fandom dates back to at least the 80s, and could be motivated by many possible factors, from anime fandom to a desire for escapism. But, according to furries, their initial interest in the community commonly originated with cartoons, Disney, or childhood interests. As such, based on the intersection of Space Jam's release year (1996) with the current age range of many furries, there's a possibility that Lola Bunny acted as a major gateway for anthropomorphic fetishization later in life.
Of course, not everyone who finds Lola Bunny attractive is a furry. In fact, the strangest aspect of Lola Bunny's design is how closely her features and proportions resemble those of a human woman. Take her depiction on the cover of Issue #80 of DC's Looney Tunes comic, for example.
In most aspects, Lola Bunny looks like a pin-up girl. She has long legs with properly placed calf muscles, a defined butt, and actual breasts. Her rabbit feet look more like slippers than parts of her body. The only disproportionately "animal" part of Lola Bunny is her face, but even that's drawn with a sultry enough expression that it wouldn't look out of place in a porno. Contrast that with Sylvester the cat, with his goofy cartoon eyes and round body which, while upright, still resembles the proportions of a cat.
It's not weird to find Lola Bunny attractive. After all, she was clearly intended to be attractive. The weird part is that Warner Bros. chose this route for a children's movie. But Warner Bros. was far from the only studio pushing out sexy animals in mid-90s children's cartoons. In fact, Disney put a pretty obvious sex scene in one of their movies from the same period.
The Lion King - Can You Feel The Love Tonight www.youtube.com
Sure, most children probably didn't realize that "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" absolutely depicted Simba and Nala having sex. Freeze frame on Nala's sex face.
Nala's expression looks alarmingly close to an aroused human, as opposed to a lion in heat. That's an expression Disney wanted to show four-year-olds for some reason. But in Disney's defense, at least they designed their lions to look mostly like lions, so the latent psychological scarring on young viewers probably wasn't as pronounced as that induced by Lola Bunny.
The question ultimately remains: Why would Space Jam's animators make a children's character so sexually appealing? Did they think dads taking their kids to see Space Jam would get a kick out of a sexy rabbit? Were they coping with sexual fetishes of their own, expressing their most secret desires through art? Or did Warner Bros. intend to influence a worldwide furry fandom for merchandising purposes? The answer may never be known, but one thing is certain: someone somewhere down the line thought, "Holy crap, maybe this character shouldn't be for kids."
So now, Lola Bunny looks like this:
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The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.
Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."
This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.
Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality
Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.
But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?
Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?
When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.
After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.
Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.
Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.
Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.
For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.
We're glad they're on our side.
The world is up against a seemingly insurmountable threat, but luckily, we've got a crack team of heroes on the case.
Sure, there's already the girl with super strength, the guy who can fly, and the anthropomorphic, trash-talking animal tailor-made for merchandise. But this is a threat of intergalactic proportions, and we're going to need all the help we can get if we want to survive.
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