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Does no really mean yes? Let's ask Johnny Bravo.

Johnny Bravo is an American animated series created for Cartoon Network that follows the story of a shallow, dimwitted, and flirtatious protagonist of the same name. Johnny wears sunglasses and is very muscular. He is also, unfortunately, under the impression that every woman wants him – even when faced with their earnest lack of interest.

Some, perhaps, may even say that it was ahead of its time with the way Johnny is constantly taught lessons by the women he is surrounded with, who educate him on what he is doing wrong. But the only reason why he’s surrounded by women in the first place is because that’s all he does: chase them. His objectification is unending; a new episode, a new way to engage another woman, even though all of them reject him for his unpleasant advances.

This persistence has a dangerous connotation to it. According to some of its main animators, the content of the episodes was not their “main focus” and they were very “lenient” with it. Does this leniency mean inflexibility in the face of rejection, especially when a woman turns you down because of your uncomfortable and disgusting advances? Because that’s precisely what Johnny does: he talks to whatever woman that happens to cross paths with him, gets into her personal space, and insists “Oh yeah! She wants me” even after she rejects him. He’s often beat up by these women, after which he asks them “Is that a yes?”

On reflection, as someone who watched it as a child, I think the shows adult-nature in terms of its humor and themes does not make it suitable for a channel meant for children, especially if it encourages pursuit of women despite their protestations. It makes one wonder if this leniency for the content resulted in a direct reflection of the reality of what it means to be a woman.

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