“The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe. It is half naked, which is wholly inappropriate for children.”
“It doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex. It’s a hermaphrodite.”
“This is very disturbing. The author was over 60 and cut [Pooh’s] testicles off with a razor blade because he had a problem with his identity.”
If you’re wondering if this is the Onion, it’s not.
These were just some of the comments made during a recent debate over which character will become the mascot at a children’s playground, in the city of Tuszyn.
The small city in central Poland has a population of less than 10,000 people. The debate over Pooh bear’s gender identity is said to have been so absurd that one of the city’s less conservative council members decided to record it. The recording was leaked to the local press.
Thanks to city councilors Ryszard Cichy and Hanna Jachimska, as well as other far right officials who made similar comments during the debate, the once unheard of city of Tuszyn is now getting international media attention.
Winnie-the-Pooh, created by beloved children’s author A.A. Milne, is based on the childhood Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne. Pooh, and all the rest of the characters in the books are stuffed animals.
Here is Edward Bear, coming down the stairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t.Anyhow, here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you.Winnie-the-Pooh. – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Yes, Pooh is a ‘chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.’ He represents something that almost every child can relate to, their favorite teddy bear. Kids don’t wonder about whether or not their teddy bear should be wearing pants. They don’t wonder about why it doesn’t have boy parts or girl parts. Now that you mention it, I don’t think most adults wonder about those things either.
Do stuffed animals in Tuszyn really come complete with genitalia inside of their underpants? Is that appropriate for children?
It appears that some of these city officials would prefer an anatomically correct teddy bear, something like the one pictured below, rather than a beloved character who has introduced children around the world to that trivial little thing called reading.
The image above is from a January 2010 art exhibit at the Lawndale Art Center, in Houston, Texas. Perhaps Tuszyn officials can contract the artist to recreate the teddy bear in the image, with pants, of course.
Winnipeg illustrator Nyco Rudolph worked up some sketches of how Pooh Bear would look with a ‘full wardrobe’. The sketches were uploaded to Twitter by Katie Nicholson, on November 21, after the hermaphodite Pooh scandal first hit the news.
— Katie Nicholson (@KatieNicholson) November 21, 2014
I’d go a bit further to say that having public officials who demonstrate such a strange preoccupation with the genitalia of story book characters is probably not good for anyone.
Here’s more on this story from The Young Turks:
*Featured image credit: video screen capture, The Young Turks, via youtube