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How ‘Bluey’ Gently Challenges Gender Assumptions

Bluey Season 3 poster

The Australian cartoon series Bluey has taken the world by storm. Parents and kids alike are obsessed with the charming nuclear family of heeler dogs, and now that the first three seasons are available to stream on Disney+, it’s gaining more traction by the day.

Bluey explores the star family’s everyday lives, including how they manage conflict. Bluey has a younger sister, four-year-old Bingo, and they live with their mom (Chilli) and dad (Bandit) in Brisbane. Although there are four members in their family and two of them are blue and two of them are a reddish-brown, their coloring doesn’t determine their gender.

Is Bluey a girl?

To answer a common question: Bluey and Bandit are both blue heeler dogs, but Bluey is actually a girl. Her younger sister, Bingo, shares the same reddish-brown coloring as their mom, Chilli.

Some viewers are surprised to learn that Bluey is a girl when they watch the series, mainly because our brains have been trained to associate blue with masculinity. Plus, Bandit has a decidedly more dad-like appearance than his wife in promo photos, so seeing Bluey and Bandit together makes it easy to assume Bluey is a boy.

Of course, colors don’t have to be gendered, nor do toys or clothes or anything else. Honestly, the fact that the characters in Bluey are all kinds of colors regardless of their gender may go a long way toward helping kids not develop the same tired associations between color and gender as they grow up. Kids are smart enough to know what they like and to know who they are, and media that reinforces that is deeply important.

Bluey follows in another animated dog’s footsteps

Steve Burns on Blue's Clues

It’s also worth noting that Bluey isn’t the first blue girl dog to star in her own animated series. Despite people wrongly assuming that the titular star of the Nickelodeon series Blue’s Clues is a boy, she’s also a girl. The original Blue’s Clues series ran from 1996 to 2006, and the reboot, Blue’s Clues & You, debuted in 2019.

Blue’s friends Magenta and Green are girls as well, which surprises some because Green’s voice is so deep. Blue and Magenta are very close friends and are often interpreted as a couple by fans, though there’s never been confirmation of this in series canon despite Blue’s Clues being openly supportive of LGBTQIA+ people.

Seeing Bluey and Blue’s Clues & You on-screen at the same time is great. Both series are wildly popular, and neither falsely associates colors with binary genders.

(featured image: The Walt Disney Company)

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Samantha Puc (she/they) is a fat, disabled, lesbian writer and streamer whose work focuses primarily on LGBTQ+ and fat representation in pop culture. Their writing has been featured on Refinery29, Bitch Media, them., and elsewhere. Samantha is the co-creator of Fatventure Mag and she contributed to the award-winning Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. They are an original cast member of Death2Divinity, and they are currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction at The New School. When Samantha is not working or writing, she loves spending time with her cats, reading, and perfecting her grilled cheese recipe.