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On Our Collective Thirst for Cartoons

There’s a way to be horny for cartoon characters without writing about boners in the New Yorker.

Incredibles 2 Photo: Pixar/IMDB

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Incredibles 2, an animated, PG-rated feature about a funny family of superheroes, is ultimately a movie for children. Sure, one could make the argument that because the original came out 14 years ago, those of us who remember the zeitgeist of the first film are all bona fide adults at this point, so therefore this is really a movie for us. But Incredibles 2 didn’t break the record for the biggest animated movie opening in history without a whole lot of kids going to the movie theater.

Which is why one particular review for the film has stuck out among the sea of normal ones. In the New Yorker, critic Anthony Lane begins his review by lamenting the fact that when Mr. Incredible asks Elastigirl to “trampoline him,” he is not referring to sex stuff.

Here is another paragraph later on in the review (emphasis added):

Take your seat at any early-evening screening of “Incredibles 2” in the coming days, listen carefully, and you may just hear a shifty sound, as of parents squirming awkwardly beside their enraptured offspring. And why, kids? Because Mommy just leaned over to Daddy and whispered, “Is it just me, or does Mrs. Incredible kind of look like Anastasia in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey?’ You know, the girl in the Red Room, with the whips and all?” And Daddy just rested his cooling soda firmly in his lap and, like Mr. Incredible, tried very hard to think of algebra. As for how Daddy will react later on, during the scene in which Helen and the husky-voiced Evelyn unwind and simply talk, woman to woman, I hate to think, but watch out for flying popcorn.

The TL;DR here is that Lane sort of implied he had to hide his boner while watching Incredibles 2, which is egregious not only because technically it’s a work event since he gets paid to review movies, but also because it is a movie for children. Anyway, the whole thing was not great, and he was, as expected, ruthlessly roasted for it.

But, to be fair, Lane is not the only mouthpiece for Elastigirl thirst, though he may be the only one who gets his printed in one of the world’s most respected magazines. Search “Elastigirl” on Twitter — you don’t even have to add any qualifiers! — and the top results look like this:

Elastigirl even got what appears to be a marriage proposal from Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster:

Pointing out that a cartoon character is thicc on Twitter and writing about secret boners in the New Yorker are not the same thing, and one of them is way funnier than the other. But both underscore the truth that Elastigirl is sexy.

Cartoon characters, however, have been designed for the discerning eyeballs of horny men since cartoons have existed. As New Republic editor Heather Souvaine Horn tweeted, it’s particularly prevalent in the Disney-Pixar universe, which seems to have a problem not only with its female characters’ waist-to-hip ratio but even with the shape of their faces. An animator on Frozen essentially admitted as much, telling a reporter in 2013 that female characters were “really, really difficult” to animate because “you have to keep them pretty.”

But the good thing about Twitter is that unlike among the upper echelons of film criticism, there are just as many horny women and gay men making their cartoon thirst known as there are straight men. Which is why over the past few years, it hasn’t just been limited to the hypersexualized Jessica Rabbit or Lola Bunny. It’s characters like Robin Hood (the fox version, obviously), Simba, or even Donkey Kong.

And Elastigirl, with her extremely 2018 body type — an exaggeratedly thin waist with a thick butt and powerful thighs — has inspired just as much thirst among lesbians, bisexuals, and women who are just here to appreciate a body type no one in the real world could even hope to achieve:

All of us are essentially trained from birth to consume images designed to appeal to straight men, so when women use our thirst to reclaim those images, we get to take part in a conversation that could otherwise be a very depressing place to be.

Women are always going to be the ones tasked with calling out sexism and unrealistic female body standards. After a while, that becomes a real drag — especially when you realize it’s a lot of mental labor just to make the very obvious observation that sometimes cartoon characters don’t look real.

Instead, it’s a lot more fun to be horny for Elastigirl’s “snatched” waist and “dumb thicc” thighs and the film’s possible queer undertones. So instead of going down as the drawing that might have made a film critic pop a boner in a movie theater, may Elastigirl forever be inaugurated into the sexy queer character canon — right alongside Waluigi, Hela, the Babadook, and Ursula.