Tarzan and the jungle bunnies

New Formations - ISSN 0950-2378
Volume 1988 Number 5

Tarzan and the jungle bunnies
Philip Cohen pages -


A close reading and deconstruction of the racist insult ‘jungle bunny’, with reference to groups of boys who use it. The term is deconstructed: ‘jungle’ signifies not merely exotic, primitive, foreign environments but their modern urban analogue; ‘bunny’ carries a number of contradictory meanings - among them, ‘whore’ (by association with Playboy), ‘idiot’ and ‘mouthy’. The racist trap is that such contradictions render the insult self-fulfilling, so that however its victim responds they will play into one of these associations. The ‘bunny’ also ties into sexist rhetoric. The boys interviewed still idolise the character of Tarzan, who combines ‘noble savage[ry]’ with an aristocratic heritage in what is also a highly sexist text. In this light, Cohen considers some of the possible, problematic interchanges between (anti)sexism and (anti)racism.

SORRY - you are not registered as being permitted online access to the full text of this article

You have the following options:

  1. If you are viewing this via an institution or academic library you can ask that your institution takes out a Subscription to this journal.
  2. If you already have a Personal Subscription please login below

    Forgotten your username / password? Click here to locate

  3. Purchase an annual Personal Subscription
    PRINT + DIGITAL personal subscription (£45 / year)
    DIGITAL personal subscription (£30 / year)
    A Personal Subscription provides immediate access not only to the single article you are seeking, but also to all past and future articles in this journal up to the expiry of your annual (calendar year) subscription.
  4. Purchase immediate access to this single article (UK£7.00) - Buy article Coming Soon

To cite this article
Philip Cohen (1988) Tarzan and the jungle bunnies, New Formations, 1988(5), -

Share this