Biased Haru and troubled dad [☓]
Nintendo KayBee Toy Store Ad from 1989
Scan by tOkKa
1989 NBA Ad@
Ren is often depicted as the sexual aggressor in his relationships. His partner, Stimpy, on the other hand, often embodies the 1950’s housewife, catering to his lover, and often exudes feminine tendencies like an episode he becomes “pregnant” with excess gas.
Also since I think this will be my final post (for now anyway.. I have kind of enjoyed making this blog…so maybe it will be something I continue for a while? Stayed tuned.) I might as well tell you the inspiration for this project started with watching “Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon” with some friends one night. Researching it later, I learned that John K., the creator of Ren & Stimpy, was fired from Nickelodeon in 1992- but the series continued until 1996. In 2003, the Spike Network (does this surprise you?) requested that John K. revive the cartoon, and obviously, they weren’t as strict with censorship. Instead of maintaining this safe ideal of “roommates,” John transformed Ren & Stimpy into a full fledged gay couple. The first episode includes many allusions to “pitcher” and “catcher.”
Ren & Stimpy live in an old man’s mouth. The oral space of the mouth suggested felacio. (This is becomes even more apparent with the old man’s tonsils massage Ren’s butt as he sleeps…like I really couldn’t believe what I was watching. I think I saw it on Spike late one night when I was like 14 and was super confused…?) Anyway, the two decide to upgrade their living situation and move into a spittoon.
The spittoon is associated with the dirty, not the messy. In the episode, both Ren & Stimpy sit at a table, dressed in tuxedos, and proceed to eat a meal of bodily fluids and wastes. Not only did it remind me of our discussions of abnormal sex practices, but analysis of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” and the elimination of Westerners being conditioned to ignore the “messy.” We believe we shouldn’t have to deal with the abject, but this cartoon embraces it. I feel the same way about many the cartoons I’ve examined.
On role models
So often people talk about what terrible role models Rihanna and Nicki Minaj are, and what great role models Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift are. To which I have to say…really?
Taylor Swift writes most of her songs about men she’s dated. She is cunning and saavy, especially when it comes to manipulating the media, but she hides that in order to maintain her sweet, “all-American” image. Selena Gomez is most famous for her relationship with Justin Beiber.
Rihanna has long maintained that she does not want to be a role model. She is young and living her life, and she owns her mistakes. She is unapologetic about her success. Nicki Minaj, whether on Twitter or in interviews, constantly reminds girls to succeed in school. She has made it clear that she is first and foremost a businesswoman looking after her family. After being betrayed and raped by ex-boyfriends, she has remained single for the past ten years. She started writing rhymes and rapping as a means to cope with her life, and she was eventually discovered when she posted her music on MySpace. Her life story is one of resilience and perseverance despite the odds.
The problem isn’t that Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez are role models. The problem is that we don’t allow women to be complex. We don’t allow different women with different life stories to be considered role models because we fear that complexity. God forbid they define their lives in terms other than men.