Thomas the Tank Engine Is Sexist: Prof

Show OK for kids to watch, just tell them about Orwellian overtones
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2009 1:45 PM CST

(Newser) – Not that you shouldn’t let your kids watch Thomas the Tank Engine or anything, but the show exhibits a “conservative political ideology” that “sidelines” female characters and discourages individuality. At least that’s the opinion of a Canadian political scientist who undertook a study of the classic children’s show her daughter is enamored of. “Let kids watch,” Shauna Wilton tells the Toronto Star, “just talk to them about what they’re seeing.”

The message of the show “punishes individual initiative, opposes critique and change, and relegates females to supportive roles,” Wilton says. She understands why—the source books celebrate a “romanticized image of Britain,” but the show hasn’t evolved to challenge an “idealized rural life” that has little traction today. Only eight of the 49 main characters are female.

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