London Fire Brigade has accused Peppa Pig of being ‘sexist’ for using ‘outdated language’ in regards to their profession.
The organisation called out the hugely popular children’s TV show on 17 March after a viewer shared a clip from an episode titled The Fire Engine online. In the video, the narrator described Mummy Pig as being “dressed as a fireman.”
The brigade shared the footage from its own account, alongside the caption: “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 You have a huge influence on kids & using out of date stereotypical gender specific wording prevents young girls from becoming firefighters.”
It then asked the show to “join [their]
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 You have a huge influence on kids & using out of date stereotypical gender specific wording prevents young girls from becoming firefighters.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
As of 2017, 7% of firefighters in the UK were female which equates to over 300 individuals, reportedly.
Controversial Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan weighed in on the claims on Twitter, writing: “If women are being ‘put off’ joining the fire service because Fireman Sam – A CARTOON CHARACTER – supposedly ‘perpetuates male stereotypes’ then can I politely suggest these women probably don’t have what it takes to fight fires.”
Early on 20 March, London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton appeared on the breakfast programme to defend the brigade’s comments and challenge Morgan’s suggestions.
“This is about me being a role model; it’s about me saying it’s a fantastic job for women,” she told Morgan and his fellow presenters Charlotte Hawkins and Susanna Reid.
“But it is also about responding to the young people, who we get contacted about, who say that it influences their thoughts. I want all young people – girls and boys – to be able to be the very best they can be and not be influenced by gender stereotypes.”
Morgan argued that if people were offended by the terms then, “Postman Pat – he can’t be a postman any more. What is he, a postperson? Postperson Patricia? And you can’t have a black and white cat because that’s racist.”
Other social media users shared his viewpoint, with one pointing out that Fireman Sam actually features a female firefighter – Penny Morris.
But London Fire Brigade urged that her “involvement in the show is completely devalued by the constant use of the outdated term fireman in the catchy theme tune, title and on all merchandise.”
It concluded: “Language matters.”