The London Fire Brigade have shared their opinion on the subject of whether children’s cartoon Fireman Sam is sexist.
Speaking to ITV News earlier this week, the Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade Dany Cotton said that after 30 years of being called Fireman Sam, she had personally written to the makers of the children’s cartoon to request that they consider changing his name to Firefighter Sam so the character becomes more inclusive.
Dany, who became the first female Commissioner Of London Fire Brigade in its history this year, said that she believed changing the characters name to ‘firefighter’ would help children learn that both men and women can become firefighters.
Speaking of becoming a firefighter herself Dany said: ‘It never occurred to me that it was unusual to join the fire service. I was a confident person. My parents were very level headed; there wasn’t any stereotyping in my household.’
‘I have actually written to the makers of Fireman Sam and asked them on his 30th birthday to reconsider naming him Firefighter Sam to join in on the inclusive nature,’ Dany told ITV news.
‘I like the concept, I like the fact it’s a cartoon that educates people and helps children learn about the dangers of fire. But I really would like him to come on board and be called Firefighter Sam.’
The news of Dany’s request spread quickly on Twitter, prompting some people to criticise the appeal.
‘”Fireman Sam” is a kids cartoon about a bloke called Sam who is a fireman. Anyone upset about a cartoon needs to see a psychiatrist,’ wrote one Twitter user.
However, the London Fire Brigade was quick to respond to the remark, explaining that their aim was to ‘fire fight sexism’ in their profession.
‘Fireman Sam is an influential kids cartoon about a bloke called Sam who is the only fireman in Britain,’ the London Fire Brigade responded on their official Twitter account. ‘Everyone else’s job title for the past 30 years is firefighter. And they deserve respect #FirefightingSexism’.
Although women trained and served as firefighters during World War Two, it wasn’t until 1982 that the first woman firefighter was allowed to join the London Fire Brigade.
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Speaking of the first women to become firefighters in the UK, Dany Cotton said: ‘To the female firefighters during the war, I’d say thank you for opening the doors and being the pioneers. I’m just sorry you weren’t allowed to continue.’
‘Thanks you for letting me do my job and showing that women can be brilliant firefighters.’