It’s been almost 10 years since Peppa Pig first aired in the UK. When the uber popular children’s cartoon arrived stateside a year later, it captivated audiences everywhere with its sweet stories of a young girl pig named Peppa, her little dinosaur-loving brother George, and her parents, Mummy and Daddy Pig. While the show extolls the importance of education, friendship, and hard work (because has anyone seen someone with so many jobs as Miss Rabbit?), what has been missing is equal representation. Well, all that changed on September 6, when the Families episode aired featuring a same-sex couple.
To be fair, it’s kind of a blink-and-you-might-miss-it moment. In one scene, Peppa’s friends are talking about their families. Classmate Penny Polar Bear is drawing a picture of her parents…who just happen to be two adult polar bears in dresses. As she’s drawing, Penny casually mentions that she has two mommies.
“I’m Penny Polar Bear. I live with my mommy and my other mommy. One mommy is a doctor and one mommy cooks spaghetti. I love spaghetti.”
For the most part, viewers were pleased with the inclusion of a same-sex couple. After all, a petition asking for same-sex representation on Peppa Pig garnered almost 24,000 signatures online.
“Children watching Peppa Pig are at an impressionable age and excluding same-sex families will teach them that only families with either a single parent or two parents of different sexes are normal,” the petition read in part. “This means that children of same-sex parents may feel alienated by Peppa Pig, and that other children may be more likely to bully them, simply through ignorance.”
True, we don’t get to see Penny’s parents other than in the drawing, but since the show (which has aired over 250 episodes to date) hadn’t been inclusive of same-sex families, this definitely can be considered as a step forward.
Of course, the introduction of same-sex parents wasn’t without its share of detractors. One person tweeted: “No more #PeppaPig for my grandchildren”, while another wrote: “I just blocked the Peppa Pig App on my child’s tablet. I have no issues with the LGBT community but any attempt to indoctrinate my innocent kid into believing that gay or lesbianism is an option is a no-no!”
And then, in the midst of all the noise, one person summed it up perfectly: “The only traumatising thing about the two mums on Peppa Pig episode is the hot saucepan on the table with no tablemat.”
The fact that Penny mentions that she has two mommies in the same breath as her love for spaghetti shows that families might look different, but they’re still a family. Perhaps we truly can learn something from our children — even if they are pigs and polar bears.