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'Peppa Pig' accused of being sexist, discouraging girls from becoming firefighters

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 3/21/2019 Amy Haneline
© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

A London fire station's tweet calling out popular British kids' show "Peppa Pig" for using sexist language has spread like wildfire – and sparked a debate about gender specific wording.

In a "Peppa Pig" episode called "The Fire Engine," Peppa's mother is dressed up as a firefighter and the narrator says this:

"Mummy pig is dressed as a fireman."

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That's when the London Fire Brigade chimed in on Sunday.

"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 You have a huge influence on kids & using out of date stereotypical gender specific wording prevents young girls from becoming firefighters," the tweet said.

The tweet has racked up more than 600 comments with mixed reviews of support and disgust.

"Fight fires, leave politics alone," responded @FroggattSteve.

"We agree! You have to see it to be it, and subtle language does influence choices," said @ntjustaprincess, which @LondonFire later retweeted.

The whole debate actually started with the London Fire Brigade welcoming firefighter Barbie to its #FirefightingSexism campaign.

A commenter replied alerting the station to the "Peppa Pig" clip.

“We need to challenge outdated language that our research is showing is stopping young girls and women from considering firefighting as a rewarding and professional career," said London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton.

He added that the station has over 350 women firefighters. 

“Children’s cartoons make a huge impression on young people and its time for all media to treat us all with respect and call us firefighters which we’ve used for 30 years,” Cotton said.

But, "Peppa Pig" seems to have used this term before. You can see "fireman" displayed in this tweet promoting International Women's Day.

USA Today has also reached out to the Peppa Pig show for comment.

For the record, the Associated Press Stylebook says that "the preferred term to describe a person who fights fire is firefighter."

 

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