No such thing as Man: Firefighter Sam

Edward Bell - Comment Editor

Fireman Sam Group.

I want to talk about is the current suggestion for changing the name of the popular children’s television show, ‘Fireman Sam’. The proposal was made by London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton. The Commissioner would like it changed to ‘Firefighter Sam’ to remove the stereotype that only men work in the the fire service.


The Commissioner said: “I want to shake off outdated language which we know is stopping young girls and women from considering this rewarding and professional career.”


“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.

“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’.”


Now I would argue that simply calling the profession ‘Fireman’ wouldn’t put Women off, nor would it help continue the stereotype that only men want to be firefighters, as the children the show is aimed at simply do not understand about gender at such a young age of girls up to 7, Fireman Sam’s demographic, 99% of them will not be bothered about whether or not the word ‘man’ is involved with the name of the television programme.


Women can do every job a man can. I know it’s not always easy and there are obvious barriers to this even in 2017. I’m not naive. But I have never heard of a job involving the word ‘man’ to put women off. There are still female Police officers, still female Firefighters and in other male dominated areas; there’s the female boxer Nicola Adams, the England Womens football team is massively successful, we have a female Prime Minister (regardless of how bad she is).  


So does this mean that the word ‘man’ has to cease to exist? How long before ‘Postman Pat’ becomes ‘Post Person Pat’? How long before ‘Batman’ becomes ‘Batperson’? ‘Superman’ becomes ‘Super Gender Neutral Person’?

Then to flip it round, does that mean we can’t call ‘SuperWoman’ ‘SuperWoman’ and she has to be ‘SuperPerson’? Because you’ve got to have total gender equality right?


Will it ever to the point where we have to remove the word ‘man’ from ‘Woman’ and remove the word ‘men’ from Women? Then what would we have to do? We would have to completely change what we call everything and everyone all for the sake of a word.  


Or is it impossible for us to simply see things as words anymore?

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