So apparently there’s a big controversy over Thomas the Tank, the seemingly innocuous train engine that always reminds me of a frantic bus driver trying to stay on schedule.
According to the pretty funny web site Canadian of the Week, there’s a new theory arguing that Thomas offers lessons in gender inequality and class struggles.
The site quotes University of Alberta professor Shauna Wilson, who apparently watched 23 episodes after coming to the conclusion that Thomas is a rather conservative figure and not particularly a great role model, especially for young girls.
“The gender roles were particularly interesting to me because I have a daughter who watches the show, and as the mother of a daughter, I want her to be watching shows with strong female characters in them,” she added. “And female characters are pretty much confined to supporting roles in this show.”
I admit I’m always on the look out for weak-kneed girl characters in children’s movies and literature, and maybe I just haven’t watched enough Thomas television — I’ve seen half of one episode and read the same book about 250 times — but I haven’t seen it yet.
Have you noticed the streak of a cad in Thomas?