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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty issues of gender and crimes of masculinity

For years, the Regina Leader Post has continued to run old Peanuts comics. It is limited to the colour weekend editions now. I enjoy them most of the time, usually because I half remember them but see something new in them with older eyes. However, this comic came as a complete surprise to me. I am certain that I never saw it before as it reveals an important connection between Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown, a piece of back story that is never hinted at in any other comic I've seen from Schultz. Not only does it suggest that this event of a mistaken haircut might be responsible for Patty's current identity as a "tom boy" (the term that would have been used at the time of this publication), but it also seriously critiques gendered speech and gendered relations. Patty begins a story about her trauma that resulted from her voice and her mother's voice being ignored by men. Charlie Brown interrupts her without really listening to her and tells his own story. Reveal that these are the same story from different perspectives and we suddenly realize that Charlie Brown's father has committed a sort of crime against Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown repeats that crime by ignoring her story and suppressing her story with his own. Realizing that he and his father are cut from the same cloth, Charlie Brown is crushed by shame. As the sun sets, Peppermint Patty sits quietly, not appearing to carry a grudge, but just disappointed at her voice, yet again, being suppressed by someone she trusts. 

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