Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Winnie-the-Pooh’s gender confusion

Children’s literature is sexist, has too many male heroes and represents the “symbolic annihilation of women”, according to a deranged woman writing in the latest edition of my favourite journal, “Gender And Society”. Janice McCabe singles out poor Winnie-the-Pooh for particular scorn, although she also has a go at that misogynistic bastard, Peter Rabbit. But hang on – who is to say that Winnie is a boy? Those delicate, if hazy, line drawings of the creature show no genitals whatsoever, so far as I can discern, and Winnie was a popular name for girls in Edwardian times. Indeed, as a child I always imagined Winnie was a girl, or at best transgendered. And that educationally subnormal tiger thing struck me as being a bit effete, too, come to think of it.

Ms McCabe also wonders why there isn’t a story called Fantastic Ms Fox (there is, actually, but it’s an adult-only feature you get on your hotel TV special channel late at night and probably not the sort of thing Janice had in mind). Why are so many of the heroes in children’s literature male? To make the stories more realistic, one assumes.

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