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The London Fire Brigade is criticizing the children’s show Peppa Pig for using gendered language to refer to firefighters.
The London Fire Brigade posted a tweet on Sunday promoting a firefighter Barbie doll and using the hashtag #FirefightingSexism, saying, “She’s coming to the rescue, helping girls & boys to imagine everything they can become by joining the Brigade.” In the replies, a user shared a clip from the Peppa Pig, in which the narrator says, “Mummy Pig is dressed as a fireman.”
The London Fire Brigade shared the clip, saying, “Come on @peppapig, we’ve not been firemen for 30 years. You have a huge influence on kids & using out of date stereotypical gender specific wording prevents young girls from becoming firefighters.”
Come on @peppapig, we’ve not been firemen for 30 years. You have a huge influence on kids & using out of date stereotypical gender specific wording prevents young girls from becoming firefighters. Join our #Firefightingsexism campaign https://t.co/IRjLtqolEl
— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) March 17, 2019
While many folks agreed, some felt that the London Fire Brigade was taking aim at the wrong target. First off, the episode the clip is from is 10 years old. Secondly, despite using “fireman” in the short clip, the episode and it’s associated story book actually features many women firefighters.
Conservative commentator and Twitter troll Piers Morgan, never missing an opportunity to say that women aren’t fit for certain work, tweeted that if women are put off from firefighting by the word “fireman,” they “probably don’t have what it takes to fight fires.” The London Fire Brigade responded, saying, “If you respect our work, then get our name right.”
It's young girls, like Esme, who think they can't be firefighters because children's TV continues to use outdated language https://t.co/xGqNJnZn0T. If you respect our work, then get our name right #FirefightingSexism https://t.co/AsLJBJGtPf
— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) March 18, 2019
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Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.