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Like many other parents before me, I met the pink little British pig a few months ago. There are things I like and other things which make me reflect, so I thought I would share with you so that we can have a discussion about the type of content we expose our kids and ourselves to.
Like any other cartoon, Peppa Pig looks innocent at first glance. What pops out is a little pinky pig, that lives with her parents and her brother George, who loves « jumping on muddy puddles », and who falls out of laughter on the floor. The cartoon draws a smile from my lips, the colours are bright and perfect for toddlers who adore it. Peppa’s parents spend a lot of time with their children, they never scold them, they offer them plenty of activities to do and alternatives when the first option doesn’t work. Personally, this suits me, I find Peppa’s parents kindly with their kids. One way or another, the difficult situations find satisfactory responses for everyone, the neighbours live in harmony. Actually one of the most famous songs from the show says « peace and harmony, in all the world » played on the guitar by mademoiselle Gazelle. For all of these reasons, I feel comfortable to let my little one Watch the show from time to time. I haven’t seen all the episodes, but those I watched where appropriate in the French version, no curse words, no noticeable violence. I did find the English version a little harsher though in terms of the vocabulary used.
I read negative feedbacks about the cartoon, the characters are viewed as rude and mean. Peppa and George are depicted as ill-behaved with their parents, « brats, capricious ». I Don’t know the character’s age but their behaviour seems to correspond to what kids their age do normally. The adults help them go through their emotions, and little by little, they Learn how to manage them. Peppa’s parents are said to be permissive because they Don’t punish their children. I won’t develop on that subject here, for I will be writting a post on kindly education later on. Peppa’s family members are blamed for making fun of Daddy Pig’s big belly, let’s not forget that English humour is peculiar. There are also parents who say that their kids picked up bad behiaviours after watching the show. About that I can’t say anything because a part from the tonality of how Peppa calls her parents « muumyyy, daadyyy », my little angel didn’t copy anything else.
Alright, that was for a start. I would like to suggest another way of viewing Peppa Pig, a more societal and general oriented line of thought. First, what bothers me is the fact that they took animals and made them develop into a human world (they live in homes, drive cars, Watch television, eat on plates with knives and forks, they walk on their back legs, they talk, etc.). The animals are personified and have human behaviours, even their fur is gone. It’s not the first time that animals are personified in actions of the Everyday life, but in general I have trouble with it. I Wonder if it’s not easier for a child to identify with another child than to identify with an animal. On the other side, maybe it’s easier to put things into perspective when the scenes are played by animals ? The children Don’t seem to complain, but they Don’t have that many choices, especially when they are very little, the characters of the cartoons for small kids are often animals.
Another aspect which draws my attention is the idea of social mix that is conveyed by this show. There is a large diversity of animals, that’s for sure, they all get along very well, great. But they will never be able to reproduce outside of their species. Peppa Pig will never mary Suzy Sheep’s cousin for example, or Rebecca Rabbit will never mary Gabriella Goat’s cousin. These characters can only multiply among the group they belong to. In short, they live together but their interactions are limited to the space outside of the house. I have the impression of seeing a miniature of the English society which makes different cultures and communities cohabit one next to another, but not trully mingle. Yes, the animals do mix in the show, but only superficially. And also, why is Delphine (Peppa’s French penfriend) a donkey ? Dear English friends, did you know that Calling someone a donkey in French means they are stupid ? Haha, that was my provocative break.
Alright, joking aside, it’s also curious that the English chose to use a family of pigs as a main character to what has become a national symbol in a context such as nowadays where it’s more or less an undeclared war between the Christians and the Muslims. I Don’t want to speak nonsense, but maybe they didn’t take all of that into consideration. What do they really want to tell us through this seemingly harmless cartoon ?
What about you, did you notice these elements or others about Peppa Pig ? Generally speaking, what do you think about the personification of the animals for educational purposes ? I hope you enjoyed the article and I would really love to know your thoughts about the subject.
Let’s take care of ourselves.
See you around !