Holy smokes, we love Bluey. And who doesn’t? At the risk of sounding dramatic, it’s quite possibly the best family-friendly TV show out there. Anyone who has kids in the house has very likely heard mention of this heartwarming cartoon about a family of dogs (about 100 times a day, no doubt) — and if you haven’t, well, that’s the real head-scratcher. Bluey has tapped into the cultural zeitgeist as a rare series enjoyed almost equally by children and adults. While the show’s popularity is no mystery (it’s ABC iView’s most-watched program in history), one aspect of the series apparently perplexes many people: Is Bluey a boy or a girl? If you’ve been curious at some point while watching with your 5-year-old, hey, now you’ll know. If you’re wondering why it even matters, there’s a lot to unpack there, too.
Before that conversation, though, let’s start with a quick primer on the show and why everyone and their mother is obsessed with it.
What is Bluey about?
For those out of the loop, Bluey follows a family of heeler dogs living in a posh house in Australia. The dad, Bandit Heeler, and mom, Chilli Heeler, might just be the cartoon world’s coolest parents while still being utterly relatable. In each episode, you’ll witness Mum and Dad navigating the parenting life and doing an excellent job at it. Even when one of their pups refuses to do anything without their new balloon or the pups instigate an imaginary neighborhood bus ride on the stair landing, Bandit and Chilli are there, playing along and going with the flow.
Granted, they may not be as perfect as, say, Daniel Tiger’s parents. While the Tigers seem unaffected by nearly everything, animators have done an excellent job of giving Chilli and Bandit subdued side-eyes, smiles, and tears that both humanize them and make them more relatable. It’s those very subtle gestures that even gave way to the theory that Bluey might be a rainbow baby.
But the fascination with Bluey’s beloved parents isn’t where the conversation stops. Enter: Bluey’s identity.
So, is Bluey a boy or a girl?
Bluey is a girl! As a matter of fact, both Heeler family pups are girls. Bingo is orange and reddish-brown, which might seem like the more “feminine” color combo because (a) it’s warmer tones and (b) those are Chilli’s color, too. But people are often thrown to learn that Bluey, who is blue like her dad, is a girl. Although the idea that such a thing as “boy colors” exists is a demonstrably outdated stereotype, it continues to be a gender-based assumption people make — most typically adults since kids don’t seem to notice or care.
So, how do we know Bluey is a girl? Well, perhaps the most obvious answer is because Bluey’s makers have said so. In social media posts and ads, Bluey has, on occasion, been referred to as “she.” More importantly, Bandit even refers to Bluey as a “her.” So, that kind of seals the deal, right?
Does it matter? Yes and no.
Bluey being a girl is worth celebrating — but not just because she’s a girl. Instead, we’re celebrating the way the show handles her girl-ness. Bluey often turns gender stereotypes on their heads. From the obvious fact that Bluey is, well, blue (a color typically assigned to boys) to the overarching theme of how the kids play with more gender-neutral toys, there’s nothing about Bluey that screams she’s a she. Or, more pointedly, there’s nothing about Bluey that suggests girls should act or play one way and boys another.
And isn’t that wonderful? My little girl loves to pretend to be dinosaurs, take wild flying leaps off furniture, and build, build, build. Those are all types of play that have historically been assigned to boys, but that’s just not realistic. Bluey offers a more natural approach to gender and play: All that matters is that it is fun. Bluey not only normalizes that concept but can also help other less “girly” girls, less “rough and rowdy” boys (or more “rough and rowdy” girls), and kids outside of the gender binary to see themselves on television. Our girl Bluey is relatable to any kid.
And apart from Bluey breaking gender stereotypes, she also represents the girls who look like their daddies. Despite what television may teach us, little girls aren't always born as spitting images of their moms. Sometimes they are replicas of their fathers, and that's normal too. In the same way Bluey’s color isn’t a representation of her feminitiy or girliness, neither is being a girl who looks like their dad.
Bluey’s parents also turn gender roles on their heads. From the fact that Dad is the much more hands-on parent to the very idea that Mum works in security. We’ve even witnessed where Dad is the more romantic one. (The bus scene again! Can you tell we love that episode?)
Our favorite thing about Bluey, though, is that the show doesn’t really focus on gender at all. Unlike more gendered children’s series, Bluey is a show inclusive enough for every child to watch and enjoy. This works because Bluey’s gender isn’t the focus. Nothing she does is inherently “girly” or “boyish.” She’s just having fun, living life, and loving her parents — and that is universally aspirational and entertaining.
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