So, in a discussion with my cohosts on the Oh Gosh, Oh Golly, Oh Wow Podcast, and some of our fans, we came to the theory that most of us can’t conclusively gender cartoon characters UNLESS they have specific gender markers (skirts, boobs, etc). OR if we know from context (because we know the show
I also expect it’s even harder the younger you are!
So I wanna test it. Can you gender these characters? Can your children?
In the comments, let me know your age and gender (or the age and gender of the person taking the test) and then, without googling, for each of these 14 characters let me know what gender you think they are. AND for each let me know if it’s a character you recognize or if you just had to guess based on appearance or whatever (I expect most people won’t know all of them… maybe some of my comics scholar peeps).
This is an open ended thing. So feel free to have your children guess too (let me know their ages and gender too… I expect for very young kids who likely know few if any of these characters, it’s going to be almost entirely random… or they’re just going to default to their own).
EDIT: #12 is the gargoyle. NOT Nightcrawler.
Bonus round: Santa's reindeer are all female, at least as illustrated. Male reindeer lose their antlers in winter, female reindeer keep theirs.
29 in order m, f,m,f,f,m?,m,m, m,m,m,f?,f,m I would say that 8-10 i coded as female as a child until I discovered otherwise threw the cannon. Kiddo (5) just went "I don't know you have to nicely ask people like that what pronouns they prefer" so I'm calling that a parenting win lol
If people are wondering: 1. Blue the dog from Blue’s Clues is female 2. Smellerbee from Avatar the Last Airbender is female 3. X-23 from X-Men: Evolution is female 4. Nermal from Garfield is male 5. Krazy Kat from Krazy Kat is non-binary or genderqueer. The strip routinely used both male and female pronouns for Krazy. Krazy self-referenced as "me." Herriman never gave clear answers when asked… other than to say that originally Krazy was intended to be a girl, and was even pregnant at one point (so presumedly AFAB), but was a "spirit beyond sex" (gender wasn't really used back then). Herriman typically used "they" as a pronoun to refer Krazy when needed a pronoun himself. So pretty progressive for 1913. 6. Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time is female 7. Shmoos from L’il Abner (and one had their own cartoon in the are non-binary. They are completely ungendered. As Dave mentioned in his answer, they reproduce asexually. The 1979 cartoon series did conventionally refer to its Shmoo with the pronoun "he", but it's probably more properly an "it." 8. Tweety from Looney Tunes is male 9. Thumper from Bambi is male 10. Bambi from Bambi is male 11. Bugs Bunny from Looney Tunes is canonically male. Though arguably gender fluid. 12. The gargoyle from Excalibur is probably non-binary… definitely queer (the comic carefully never uses a pronoun. I always read him as male, some read him as female. some non-binary… he definitely flirts with Nightcrawler, a male). They were a statue made incarnate for that one story, so the question is weird. This was the character that stated the discussion. 13. Mindy from Animaniacs Is female 14. Cousin Itt from Addams Family is male
I assumed most of these were male, except for Mindy, because "Mindy". Telling.. How the default equates male, even for this feminist.
I know 7 of the characters. I think they are all male except 4 and 13. I’m 38 and female
I think they are all male except 8 9 10 & 13. Senior citizen.
I've looked through the answers and I am amazed that not a single person noticed that one of the 14 is depicted with boobs. Like, possibly the clearest sign an animator can give, and nobody noticed.
My daughter and I took your test together (49 and 11 both female). We agreed on most. Blue is referred to by Steve as she on the show. Blue is female. The next two neither of us recognized but decided they are female. Nardole, I say male. Daughter says female. Next, both say male. The purple blob, female. Shmoo, as a kid, I never assigned a gender to him (when a gender is unknown most people refer to male). So, gender fluid. Twenty, Thumper, and Bambi all male. Bugs is transvestite or a drag queen. Gargoyle is a male. Is that Erma? Doesn't matter. We think female. Cousin Itt is male. If you want more explaination, let me know.
1-yes-female 4 yes female, 6 yes female, 7-11 yes male, 14 yes male
I did something like this in college once. I was surprised by how often the defining (and accurate) gender marker for denial characters was the presence of eyelashes. That tended to be more common reasoning than gendered colors, especially when women were identifying the characters.
M! 2. M* 3. F* 4. F 5. M 6. F! 7. M* 8. M 9. M 10. M 11. M 12. Non-gendered?* 13. F* 14. M * indicates a character I'm entirely unfamiliar with and guessing on based on what clues I have. ! indicates a character I'm aware of but not familiar with enough to make more than an educated guess. Interestingly, based solely on the way Tweety is drawn with long eyelashes my assumption would be female, but the character has always been voices with what I identify to be a male voice which lead me to guess male but be somewhat unsure as to the real answer. Similarly with 10, the lack of long lashes makes me think the character is Bambi rather than some doe he may be infatuated with, though I'm not entirely sure.
Is there a way to gender any cartoon character without gender specific markers or prior knowledge? I'm not trying to be a smart ass or contrary, I just don't understand the parameters of the question.
More people need to watch Avatar The Last Airbender.
47 yo cis-woman 1- Blue, female, though I wouldn't know through any signals. 2- Unknown, no idea the gender 3- is this an animated Katniss?, reads female 4- Nermal, I always read this as a male character, but the eyelashes code female 5- Don't remember name, male 6- Some Adventuretime character, no idea. 7- Shmoo, genderless, but kinda male 8- Tweety, genderless, kinda male 9- Thumper, male 10- Bambi, male, but I had to think about that 11- Bugs Bunny, genderless, kinda male 12- Gargoyle, genderless 13- Mindy, girl toddler 14- Cousin It, mostly male, but thinking on it could easily be butch lesbian
My daughter age 11: 1) yes, female 2) no, male 3) no, female 4) yes, female 5) no, refuses to guess 6) no, female 7) no, male (here she pointed out that in cartoons a key point to be female is eyelashes or a dress) 8) yes and she says she doesn’t think they specify in looney toons but she thinks it’s a girl. 9) no, boy 10) yes, girl (she recognized Bambi but has not seen the movie) 11) yes, boy definitely 12) no, boy 13) no, girl 14) no, refuses to specify. Her language changes from “male/female” to “boy/girl” throughout. She has a trans stepbrother (for context) and two of her best friends from school are gender fluid.