By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid
(WARNING: Totally NSFW)
Reader Grace nearly caused a pearl-clutching moment amongst us Special Correspondents with a link to these, ahem, enhanced drawings:
I look at these images as I do hentai and plushies: some people getting off on the frisson of (hyper)sexualized ideals of taboo images and items connoted to belong to the kiddie world, like Disney cartoons and stuffed animals. So, I do understand the squick with seeing these resemblances of lust-inspiring Calvin Klein and Armani underwear images because it’s like fucking with someone’s childhood. And childhood, regardless of quite a few people’s realities about their early years on this earth, is held as sacrosanct in its idyllic innocence—especially sexual innocence– in US culture.
Quite a few of these images are sort of the contemporary versions of some cisgay male drawings of idealized dudes that served as counterimages of the “sickly” man with HIV/AIDS that gained traction in the 90s–that’s also why going to the gym was a big thing within some cisgay male communities back then and that aesthetics spilled in the wider popular culture–as well as the hypermasculinity that Disney’s been kicking out anyway.
Where my anti-racism sex itch gets going is demarcating the Black characters as “some dark chocolate” when none of the others are:
Dr. Atlantis’ “overbulge” (working that whole “Black men have bigger dicks than everyone else” meme),
the “underdeveloped” Kuczo,
Kocoum’s kitschy “noble savage” pose (all that was left out was a coyote, an eagle, a dreamcatcher, or a bear faded in the background),
John’s appropriated gear and markings,
and Shang’s “martial arts” stance.
So, for even growing these guys up, the artists didn’t really grow away of Disney’s racialized images.