A discussion on Fireman Sam on Good Morning Britain has sparked a debate among parents after it was suggested that the main character's name is outdated, and should potentially be changed to 'Firefighter Sam'. While it was argued that the show perpetuates gender stereotypes, and as such may dissuade young girls from that career path. Speaking about the debate on Twitter, Piers Morgan wrote: "If women are being 'put off' joining the fire service because Fireman Sam - A CARTOON CHARACTER - supposedly 'perpetuates male stereotypes' then can I politely suggest these women probably don't have what it takes to fight fires."
Do you think Fireman Sam is sexist?
Viewers were quick to discuss the issue on Twitter, with one writing: "Apparently ‘Fireman Sam’ is sexist and putting women off becoming firefighters? Surely this is PC going over the top - it’s a cartoon?" Another person added: "I would class myself as a feminist but why am I watching two women arguing on @GMB that FIREMAN SAM is sexist? Just because a cartoon character is a man, does not mean it is against women. People need to focus their energy on the serious sexist problems that affect us." However, others supported the argument that Fireman Sam could be considered sexist, with one person tweeting: "Don't usually feed the trolls, but this is beyond ignorant from @piersmorgan. It's about letting young girls, like my daughter, who watches popular kids shows, that female fire fighters exists and it's ok for her to be one if she wants."
Another person wrote: "Fireman Sam isn't the issue. It trivialises the main issue about the lack of diversity in the fire service and that’s the debate that needs to be had." Speaking to the Telegraph about the issue, senior fire officer Alex Johnson opened up about her campaign to encourage woman to join the service, as they currently make up five per cent of firefighters in the UK. She said: "This is largely because of the image of firefighters portrayed in the media and in films, which is of men rushing into burning buildings to rescue people. Children's shows like Fireman Sam don't help to break down stereotypes either. Most of the job is nothing like it is portrayed. We do community and youth engagement work, where we need to be seen to be representative of the population."