A wonderful show with an interesting gender relevance
Say Eh-Oh! To the Teletubbies..
'Teletubbies' is a BBC television program shown around the world (in the United States on PBS) created by the brilliant 'Ragdoll Productions'. The program is geared towards a target audience of one to four year olds, but has developed an amazing adult following. Perhaps 30% of the viewership are between the ages of 18 and 35, quite an interesting thing in itself.
The show is utterly surreal, totally without guile, and filled with innocent and loving play. Without question it is one of the most visually striking programs in history, and certainly the most gentle. In Teletubbieland, there is no Sesame Street 'Bert and Ernie' teasing, no 'Barney' moralizing, but only the most pure and sweet playfulness. The show teaches kindness by actual example rather than by negative 'Don't EVER do THIS' style instruction. The pocket universe of the Teletubbies is both comforting and totally bizarre at the same time. But what makes this unique cult show of value to THIS site, is that it features a role model for transgendered children....and a happy haven for childlike adults such as myself.
First, an introduction to the Teletubbies and their universe.
These are the Teletubbies: Tinky
Winky, Dipsy, Laa
Laa, and Po.
They live in Teletubbieland which is located "Over the hills and far away". They live in Hill Home, sometimes known by fans as the 'Tubbietronic Superdome'.
The program is intended to make technology familiar and comfortable to young children, thus the Teletubbies have some impresive technology that would give any science fiction show a run for it's money, including dimentional engineering, teleport technology, intrauniversal transportation, and creation without instrumentation. They exist roughly on the level of the Krell from 'Forbidden Planet', but without any destructive Id problems.
Various interesting characters inhabit their world, including their pet cybernetic vacuum cleaner and butler, the machine called 'Nu Nu'. Assorted miraculous interdimensional intrusions occur within their realm, all marvelled at by the Tubbies in their native Tubbiespeak, a proto-language that includes words like 'Eh-Oh' for hello.
Let's meet the Tubbies, and see what the gender interest here is.
This is Tinky Winky, the oldest and the
tallest of the Teletubbies. Tinky Winky is defined as male, terribly
reserved and extremely gentle, has the best language skills of all of
the Tubbies, and though not shy, is very delicate in behavior.Tinky
Winky is very loving and compassionate. His favorite thing in the
world is a large bright red handbag -which has the property of being
larger on the inside than the outside-, and he adores dancing in a
tutu. His best friend is Po.
He is clearly the subject of our gender interest here.
This is Dipsy, very strong of ego but also very easily frightened by things. Dipsy is strongly male. Dipsy's favorite thing is a cow-pattern hat, and his best friend is Laa Laa. He is considered to be the best dancer of the four. Dipsy tends to be involved in the manufacture of Tubbie Toast, one of the strange foods that feed the Tubbies.
Laa Laa is a perky and very cute female who loves her shapechanging orange ball. Her favorite word is 'Nice' and she is exceedingly sweet. She is very outgoing and full of smiles. She is probably the second best dancer, and is the second best at language. She also loves to sing, and is very affectionate.
This is Po. Po is the smallest of the Teletubbies, and rides her beloved scooter all over Teletubbieland. This female is particularly adept at the technology of the Tubbies, operating most of their machines. Po is very shy, rather quiet, and very young, but occasionally counts and speaks in Cantonese as well as English and the common Tubbie pre-language spoken by all. Po generally operates the Tubbie Tustard custard machine which feeds them.
no other Teletubbie site offers:
The CORRECT romanization of Po's Cantonese!
to four in Cantonese:
Yat, Yi, Saam, Sei
you can chant along with Po!
"Faai di, Faai di, Faai di, Po!"
The 'gods' of the Teletubby universe are the Baby Sun and the omminpotent Windmill. The Baby Sun rises and sets, opening and closing the program, while the Windmill seems to perform miracles of various sorts, not the least of which is broadcasting pictures of our world onto the tummies of the Tubbies.
The voice of the Teletubbies universe speaks to them through the ubiquitous and mysterious Speaker Horns.
Clearly, this is no ordinary show.
I bring this all to your attention because of two reasons: one, the show is brilliant and very soothing and happy to the often broken child within us as transgendered folk, and because of Tinky Winky.
I cannot imagine but that Tinky Winky is the first behavorally transgendered character ever shown in a children's program designed for very young children.
Tinky Winky fits the classic model of the transgendered, especially the transsexual child. Tinky Winky is very quiet and reserved, but not especially shy. He is very lingustically advanced, and delicate of behavior and manner. He is a bit awkward, as though not entirely comfortable with his body. He has an early facination with things that are bright and pretty, and associates mostly with females, and with artifacts generally associated with females. He is not otherwise especially effeminate ...just gentle and delicate and reserved.
These are all the standard, recognized qualities and behaviors of children who later turn out to be transgendered or transsexual.
Tinky Winky dances sweetly in a pretty tutu!
I cannot imagine that the creators of Teletubbies are entirely ignorant of this. It fits too perfectly.
So, though I am certain they would never
admit it publicly -indeed I expect it would be
denied most vociferously for quite understandable reasons in our
current world of intolerance- I for one am very glad and
grateful for the inclusion of a genderqueer individual in the show - one
Copyright for Teletubbies
characters, pictures, sounds and logo
Ragdoll Productions (UK) Limited 1996 and BBC Worldwide Limited 1996/7.
All Rights Reserved Worldwide. This discourse on Teletubbies is not endorsed or in any way affiliated with the BBC or Ragdoll Productions. This article is for educational purposes only. All images are used under Fair Use law as educational and illustrative materials, as well as artistic collage covered by First Amendment rulings.
It's TubbyToast! Yayyyyyy!