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Jessica Rabbit

2012 September 25

I’ve set myself a pretty tough task here.  I’ve picked a film clip I find particularly memorable from my childhood, with a character who utters some immortal words that I’d like to use to pose you all a related question.  Jessica Rabbit.  She’s a pin-up, and a cartoon, and a key part of the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, from which the clip is taken.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the film before, this is the first time we (and Eddie – Bob Hoskins’ character) see Jessica, who we already know is married to the eponymous Roger (a cartoon rabbit). There’s a lot more to this film that we first realise, as I discovered recently thanks to this article, and it’s got me thinking about Jessica and her famous line – is there more to her too?

“I’m not bad… I’m just drawn that way.”

That’s a line that I’ve always been fascinated by, even as a kid.  Jessica’s appearance never sat well with me: the dress, the heels, the boobs, waist, lips, eyes – everything was just designed for one reason.  That reason is summed up very simply with that line she delivers in Eddie’s office.  Were the film writers trying to draw attention to something?  She’s been made by men, for men – but she isn’t too happy about it.

Here’s your food-for-thought prompt: Is the character’s acknowledgement that she’s been made a certain way an important admission, or a clever distraction from her creators?

One Response leave one →
  1. September 27, 2012

    It’s a long time since I considered Jessica Rabbit, but this post has set me thinking. I imagine that several men had some input into the design of the character. It’s as though they compiled a list of desirable female attributes (huge breasts, tiny waist, etc.) and then put them all into the same drawing. The image kind of works, I think, because the drawing is in a recognisable cartoon style in which we don’t expect realism. (If it comes to that, Roger Rabbit doesn’t look much like any real rabbit I’ve ever seen.)

    But what, I wonder, if a real woman set out to make herself look as much like Jessica Rabbit as is humanly possible. It would, I suppose, require surgery — and lead to severe health problems (her digestive system, for a start). But would the men who designed Jessica Rabbit find the real life equivalent attractive? I strongly suspect not. Well, at least, I hope not.

    Does anyone here remember the late Lolo Ferrari?
    All that surgery to turn herself into something that seemed to me monstrous.

    I don’t know exactly where these thoughts lead me, but there seems something disturbing at work.

    I also wonder how the drawing would look if a group of heterosexual women set out to create a male equivalent of Jessica Rabbit.

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