Johnny Bravo and Gender Image

johnny bravo

Johnny Bravo and Gender Image

Although not meant for a specific gender to watch, Johnny Bravo is a children’s animation that generates specific requirements as to how women and men should be in the minds of its audience.

The plot makes this situation fairly obvious. All episodes are based on Johnny, the title character, trying to impress and earn the affection of a female figure who completely rejects his advances. This is played in a way that makes it seem funny to adults because of Johnny’s irrational acts. However, young children may not always be capable of knowing the difference between laughing at someone and laughing with someone. Although Johnny Bravo is meant to be laughed at, children may interpret that as an affirmation and consider his behaviour as “normal”.

Moreover, this show creates important images in the children’s head about how they are physically meant to be. Johnny himself is hypermasculine with this overly muscular body that he does not hesitate to display at every occasion, especially while trying to impress women. Carl, on the other hand, is skinny with a visual impairment that requires him to wear glasses all the time (not even “cool” glasses like Johnny’s sunglasses). He is also depicted as annoying and bothersome, and a negative character all in all. This supports the notion that being muscular and funny (though in a good or bad way does not matter) is acceptable for men while being physically weak but smart is not. There is no doubt that this is a detrimental idea for a children’s show to suggest.

On the female side of this, the message is simple: Men care only about your looks. Johnny selects his targets because they are physically attractive. This causes the girls who watch this show to force girls to pay more attention to appearance rather than skills or knowledge, which is a really significant problem in today’s society.

To be honest, even though I find this show enjoyable myself, I find it harmful as a children’s show. Orenstein, in her article, does not answer if “Cinderella” is bad in the first place, but in my opinion Johnny Bravo is a negative artefact for young children and their ideas regarding gender roles.


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