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Cunnicular Crossdresser? Bugs Bunny, Drag Queen!

Mon 19 Jun 2006 In: Comment

Which 'wascally wabbit' wore women's wear repeatedly? And why have our self-appointed moral guardians ignored thislascivious lagomorphicgender bending? From the forties to the sixties, Bugs Bunny dressed in women's clothing repeatedly, whether in lingerie, full evening gowns or uniforms. He masqueraded as Little Bo Peep, ballerinas, Valkyries, geishas, Southern Belles, Eskimos, Lana Turner lookalikes, the Empress Josephine, female Hillbillies, Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and nurses, and he wasn't the only one. His fellow Warner Brothers cartoon celebrities Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck also got in on the act. Elmer showed a distinct preference for (interspecies!) marriage and bridal outfits, while the little black duck could be seen doing burlesque, or impersonating Pocahontas, Carmen Miranda, princesses, female restaurant patrons or witches. Even Wile E.Coyote dragged up as a female roadrunner or a female hitch hiker to secure the attention of his high-speed avian nemesis. What does this all mean? Is Warner Brothers a treasure trove for depictions of transgender sensibilities? Of course, it can be read that way, so if Gaynz.Com's trans readers want to do so, they can follow the links at the end of this article. There are other explanations, though. Ask any small child about this, and they'll probably say that Bugs is being 'naughty'- which means that the lagomorph in question is testing the boundaries to gain further perceptions about permissible social behaviour or otherwise. In other words, behaving just like his target juvenile audience when they play 'dress-up.' As well as that, although Bugs does drag repeatedly, it's never permanent, and he never prefers to be called she. We know that despite his frocks and formal evening wear, he'll revert to being a boy bunny at the end of the cartoon. Humour is derived from the fact that while we can 'read' that Bugs is cross-dressing, the hapless Elmer or others are too dim to do so. So, Bugs' crossdressing probably was never intended to frock off social conservatives. Arguably, Tinky Winky and his handbag, or Spongebob Squarepants, are more likely to attract LGBT attention. And so, we bid goodbye to the winsome wabbit and his wondrous wardrobe. Recommended: Kevin Sandler: "Gendered Evasions: Bugs Bunny in Drag" in K.Sandler (ed) Reading the Rabbit: London: Rutgers University Press: 1998. Karen Anne Taylor: "Bugs Bunny in Drag": Robot Johnny: "What A Drag!" Heather Hendershot: "Nickelodeon's Nautical Nonsense" in H. Hendershot (ed) Nickelodeon Nation: New York: New York University Press: 2004. Craig Young - 19th June 2006    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Monday, 19th June 2006 - 12:00pm

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