Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Andrew Brown says:
She has a point, doesn’t she? Boys have plenty of robust role models with occupations on offer – Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder and so on. But where can girls look for inspiration? Peppa Pig, Upsy Daisy from In the Night Garden, and Bella from The Tweenies – robust isn’t the word that springs to mind. Apart from Dora the Explorer, few of them have proper jobs.As Brown goes on to point out, children's books have always offered a more satisfying range of characters:
Partly, I suppose, this reflects what television producers think parents want. There’s a fashion for princessy or ballet-related themes with anything to do with girls. Perhaps it’s to do with anxiety about girls growing up too fast, a desire to preserve them in a candy-floss cocoon of hyper-feminine, pre-sexual innocence.
On the printed page, you find any number of tough, fearless female role models. Just think of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alice, surprising herself with her own courage, stands up to the Queen of Hearts, who’s crimson with rage and screaming, “Off with her head!” It’s an invigorating illustration of how to face up to bullies.