Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What would Pepe Le Pew Do?

"Ma'am...Can you tell me which of these men assaulted you?"

France. The Home of Democracy, Fine Wines, Michel Gondry, and the precursor to Freedom Fries. It's also home of International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn; who was recently arrested in New York on rape charges. According to reports a maid at the hotel he was staying at picking him out of a lineup as her assailant:

"The 32-year-old maid told authorities that when she entered his spacious, $3,000-a-night suite early Saturday afternoon, she thought it was unoccupied. Instead, Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom, where he sexually assaulted her, New York Police Department spokesman Paul J. Browne said."

The article goes further into detail: "The woman told police she fought him off, but then he dragged her into the bathroom, where he forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to remove her underwear. The woman was able to break free again, escaped the room and told hotel staff what had happened, authorities said."

Whew. This is shocking, and this was a presidential candidate in the campaign for the next French election. Well shoot. That will most certainly kill his chances right? Wait, What's that?

"According to an opinion poll published Tuesday, 57 percent of French citizens believe that Strauss-Kahn, 62, a former French finance minister who had been presumed frontrunner in France's 2012 presidential elections, was the victim of a setup. Some French media, meanwhile, including Paris Match magazine, have identified the Guinean-born U.S. immigrant maid and widowed mother, 32, who has accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to illegally detain and rape her. French reporters also interviewed sources on the question of the woman's relative attractiveness."

So a majority of the French public feels this dude is innocent and further more because her attractiveness can neither be confirmed nor denied, they are calling bullshit. And of course, when his attorney's were asked:

"Defense lawyers for Strauss-Kahn suggested Tuesday that the IMF chief may argue in his defense that any sexual activity between himself and the hotel maid was consensual, the New York Times reported Tuesday."

You know I gotta say; I really detest stereotypes especially in media, and even more so in cartoons as you are basically teaching children from a young age what social norms are. A good example for another article would be "Speedy Gonzales". I've been around many Mexicans...none of them are that fast.

But anyone ever seen Pepé Le Pew? How many times did the cats he was chasing say 'No'? If I recall, none. BUT their body language was clearly indicating they were not interested in sex with a Male Frenchman who Smells.

I think Warner Bros. was uncomfortably on the mark with this stereotype. I mean shit...listen to the excerpts from this article and it really does read like a script to a Pepe cartoon:

Pepe: Look darling, per'aps I am old fashioned, but shouldn't we be introduced first? I am Pepe Le Pew. Zis is my first affair so, please, be kind. I'm shy but, uh, I'm willing.. [She runs away] I am playing it too cool, no?

[He eventually catches up]

Pepe: I tell you what. You stop resisting me, and I, I will stop resisting you. When 'ave you 'ad a better offer zan zat?

Pepe: Come back darling, golden violet! I will unshy you! You are just insecure. All you need is a little occupational therapy, like making love!

Those are all ACTUAL Pepe quotes!! It literally sounds like they asked a serial rapists for his best dating advice. So then should we be surprised that actual French Men aren't familiar with "No means No"? Not really. But just because the behavior is not surprising doesn't make it right. Does it make the stereotype correlation funny? I think that was my point with this. The correlation was so textbook stereotype that it's comical. It was just unfortunate that the law was broken, a woman was victimized, and the behavior is being condoned while the stereotype continues to be perpetuated

All I know is I'm not gonna challenge any of my in laws to a foot race to be on the safe side.


  1. lol
    as we know more on DSK weird habits with women, it appears that the comparison with Pepe Le Pew is very acurate !
    but some thoughts :
    1. the DSK affair was a major earthquake in France. So, it seems to me quite "normal" that many of us has said stupid things. (imagine… i don't know… maybe the Simpson chase with some major politician driving. like that, snap!, overnight the dude went just nuts… and we all followed.)
    2. 57% of french don't think DSK has been trapped. it's 57% of people who have been interviewed (media… you know… shortcuts, etc) a few hours or days after the affair. Now, we wait and see.
    3. it was quite well known in the politics-media circles that DSK had a problem with women. but everyday people didn't really care or had not the time or the information to care more. US media has said that french journalists has failed somewhere and i think it's 100% true.
    4. we are learning now how the US justice works. very bizarre…
    5. "no means no". completely justified, i think many people here agree with feminists and that their fight is fair. it's true also that here, i was told many times (and not specifically by men, but by women as well), that "no" didn't mean really "no" ; sometimes it meant something like "not now, but you can try a little more, the time for me to be seduced enough". so, some dudes think the little more can be "forced".
    6. the DSK case is a psychiatric case. please don't judge the majority of french men like him, don't block us at JFK airport ! ;-D

    Kio, french, in Paris
    (fallen here after google image search on "strauss-kahn pepe le pew")

  2. Kio:

    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, my point in all of this was that DSK was perpetuating the stereotype that all French men are sexists to the point of almost being classified as rapists in other countries. While I would hope most Americans would know this to be true, there are probably still some people who think of pepe le pew when they think of France. So again, my point was to show there is a difference between stereotypes and reality.