Jim Davis: Yes, Garfield Is Male, Geez

The internet got into a serious thing about Garfield's gender identity
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2017 3:40 PM CST
Jim Davis: Yes, Garfield Is Male, Geez
Garfield's gender has proven surprisingly controversial on Wikipedia.   (Screenshot)

Last week, the internet nearly tore itself asunder arguing about Garfield's gender identity. Yes, that lasagna-loving, Monday-hating Garfield. The literal cat fight started when writer Virgil Texas pointed to a 2014 interview in which creator Jim Davis said Garfield is "not really male or female" because he's a cat. "This. Is. Cannon," Texas tweeted, changing Garfield's gender from "male" to "none" on the character's Wikipedia page. Then things got out of hand. Wikipedia editors changed Garfield's gender 20 times in less than three days, the Washington Post reports. (His religion was also briefly listed as "Shiite Muslim," though that debate didn't pick up steam.) According to the New York Daily News, Wikipedia eventually had to lock the Garfield page.

Behind-the-scenes debate, which can be viewed here, was furious. One editor found tons of comic strips in which Garfield is referred to as male. But another editor pointed out that Garfield only identifies himself as male in one of those examples, a strip from 1981, arguing the cat "may have been a boy" back then but is no longer. Someone editing Wikipedia from the US House of Representatives even removed Garfield from the "male characters in comics" category. Davis himself finally settled things, telling WaPo that "Garfield is male." He says his 2014 comment about Garfield's universality was being misconstrued. "I’ve always said that I wanted to work with animals because they're not perceived as being any particular gender, race, age or ethnicity," he explained to the Daily News. "In that sense, the humor could be enjoyed by a broader demographic." (More Garfield stories.)

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