As the mom to a 4 year old and an 8 year old, I have spent a fair amount of time watching Peppa Pig over and over and over again. While many people would allow this to drive them slowly into madness until they snap and tell their kids that Peppa Pig has been permanently taken off the air, I, instead, took the opportunity to look at the subtexts of the show quietly hiding in the background. This has allowed me to notice a sort of feminist trend that permeates through the series.
Firstly, Peppa is an inherently feminist character. She takes no shit, she’s a natural born leader, stands up for herself, and doesn’t take things personally. She is a total badass. As most children, she has her difficult moments, but she’s also willing to learn and grow. Perhaps the best thing about Peppa is that she shirks gender stereotypes and isn’t afraid to get a little dirty (and looking fabulous while doing it).
Mommy Pig is another great feminist representation in the show. She is totally the boss of the family, the backbone holding it all together while also maintaining a work at home job and being a volunteer firefighter (in fact the whole volunteer firefighter brigade is made up of women!) Mommy Pig can, and does, do it all. She has balanced work and home life like a pro. She’s also not afraid to call the men out on their misogynistic bullshit.
Speaking of badass working women in the series, Miss Rabbit is by far the hardest working character of all. She works everywhere, and seems to be the glue holding that little town together. While some may see her childless existence as some sort of statement that working women like her can’t be successful while also raising a family, she could also be seen as a character that firmly embraces not having children. Maybe she didn’t want kids? Miss Rabbit could be that happily childless female role model that we’ve been crying out for.
But we can’t forget about Daddy Pig. While the men are shown in a more satirical light, Daddy Pig particularly faces the most amount of criticism. Daddy Pig seems to embody the changing man. He still has some misogynistic views, is shown as too masculine to do things like ask for directions (or wear pink), and can be rather lazy and self centered at times, he’s also fully supportive of his daughter and willing to own up to his mistakes and laugh at his fuck ups. Daddy Pig is the man who was raised in more misogynistic times who wants to change. He doesn’t see his wife’s power as threatening, he doesn’t tell his independent, strong little girl to be girlier and he doesn’t force gender stereotypes in the house (although like most men in real life, when in the presence of his follow men, Daddy Pig reverts back to using women as jokes, and spouting sexist tropes).
Apparently I’m not the only one who has noticed this subtext. Men on the right have been foaming at the mouth about Peppa Pig and how it’s actually feminazi, homosexual, multicultural, socialist propaganda. And honestly, this just makes me love it more. Mommy Pig and the other female characters in the show represent something they fear: women who work, who stand up for themselves, and who don’t take any shit.
It’s fascinating that, at the same time they call people snowflakes for pointing out sexist and racist jokes (and deny that sexism and racism will have any impact on children), these dudes are angrily terrified that Peppa Pig will brainwash children into following a socialist, feminazi agenda. The cognitive dissonance would be hilarious if it wasn’t such a dangerous representation of their twisted, misogynist thinking.
Toxic masculinity is no joke, and we’re thankful for a show like Peppa Pig which calls it out and provides positive, strong female role models. The fact that it makes grown men angry is simply a bonus.