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Saturday, August 6, 2016

PBS kids cartoon features gender bending character Wendy as electrician and engineer

Bob the Builder feminist Wendy in TV Guide Magazine Jul. 11-24, 2016, p. 44

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) The "Bob the Builder" kids program on PBS is now featuring "a big dose of feminism" by showing his previously gender conforming and "former office manager Wendy," as now a gender bending "electrician and engineer," according to the article, "Bob the Builder: Preschoolers are getting a big dose of feminism," TV Guide Magazine, Jul. 11-24, 2016, p. 44. (SeePBS "Bob The Builder" and "Bob The Builder" for parents PBS explains Bob, the builder, and Wendy to parents as follows:

Bob -- Dedicated and hardworking, Bob is the resident builder for Fixham and Spring City. There is no build too big or too small for Bob and his enthusiastic team, who will always jump to assist their community in every way they can. Bob's optimistic attitude always shines through, especially when reassuring his team with his empowering catchphrase: "Can we build it? Yes we can!"

Wendy is Bob's smart and dynamic building partner. Her specialty is electronics, and she's always coming to the rescue when there's electrical work to be done. With a quick wit and an eye for spotting a problem, Wendy is on hand to point the team in the right direction. (Quoted from "Bob The Builder" for parents, "Meet the Characters," accessed Aug. 3, 2016)

I've seen firsthand the changes starting in the 1960's, when newspaper help wanted ads were completely segregated, with separate sections with jobs for men and another section with jobs for women, which led to feminists demanding Congress outlaw this type of overt gender discrimination, but today there are still many jobs, such as engineering, which are still not equally represented between men and women. If I am blessed to be alive in another 50 years, and if such gender bias in jobs remains, I would love to ask the "politically incorrect" question (at it is least today) of what are the reasons, including the reasons not related just to social constructions and cultural norms that have dominated the discussion for the last half of a century. In other words, does having a feminized brain (whether the brain part of a biological male or female body) naturally lead to an affinity for certain jobs that have historically been relegated to women, and similarly, do masculinized male brains have an affinity for jobs historically associated with men? In other words, how much does nature versus nurture determine the ratio of male of female engineers to male engineers? I base my conjecture on the observation that highly effeminate men are found working in professions historically associated with females, and masculine women in jobs historically limited to men, such as the female auto mechanic who has masculine traits. The asking of this question has been considered "politically incorrect" because it has been used by bigoted politicians as their reason for voting against equal rights for women -- an archaic position I optimistically hope won't be an issue half a century from now.