The Great Garfield Gender Debate Resolved: 'Garfield Is Male'by The GoComics Team
Last week the internet was abuzz as a Garfield wiki war waged. Turns out people have STRONG opinions about the specific gender of Jim Davis' fictional cartoon cat.
Spurred by blogger, social commentator, humorist and sometimes troll Virgil Texas, the argument stemmed from a quote from a 2014 Mentalfloss interview:
“I would like for readers in Sydney, Australia to think that Garfield lives next door,” Davis says. “Dealing with eating and sleeping, being a cat, Garfield is very universal. By virtue of being a cat, really, he’s not really male or female or any particular race or nationality, young or old. It gives me a lot more latitude for the humor for the situations.” The farm that Davis grew up on reportedly had 25 cats, several of which he based the Garfield character on.
The quote aligns with Davis' longtime inclusive and good-natured (unless you count Garfield kicking Odie off of the kitchen table) storytelling. Garfield IS universal and he's been that way since 1978.
Still, starting with a change by Texas, last week Wikipedia users edited Garfield's gender back-and-forth to the point that the site was temporarily forced to put the official Garfield page on lockdown. Through it all, the wider internet was faced with valuable, thought-provoking questions about gender fluidity and the role and power of fictional characters in our everyday lives. After all, does Garfield's gender even matter as long as Mondays continue to be unbearable and lasagna continues to be delicious? Of course, the internet being the internet, the conversation spiraled into a debate (and in many cases trolling) about everything from pronoun use to trans rights -- forcing Davis to respond to The Washington Post on Tuesday.
“Garfield is male. He has a girlfriend, Arlene," the 71-year-old Davis said in a statement to The Post.
With that clarified, Garfield's Wikipedia is once again primed for edits. It can't hurt to re-read the entirety of the Garfield and Garfield Classics archives here on GoComics, though, to help you navigate your thoughts on the philosophical side of the conversation -- even when Garfield isn't even a part of it at all.
rgbourj about 6 years ago
My only question is " Does Jon understand Garfield " ?
EmeraldKitsune943 about 6 years ago
It’s just a comic strip. >_>
tcayer about 6 years ago
“He’s” been that way… Umm… kind of a moot debate!
Spider-UK, formerly Spider-verse117 about 6 years ago
Why was this a “debate”? Garfield has always been referred to as a He.
Teto85 Premium Member about 6 years ago
Why was this made a big deal?
BiggerNate91 about 6 years ago
Why did this happen?
toahero about 6 years ago
I’m glad that you can finally comment on these articles!
Rrhain about 6 years ago
That Garfield has a girlfriend doesn’t mean he’s male.
That he is referred to as “he,” “him,” and “his” means he’s male.
orinoco womble about 6 years ago
Garfield has always been male. Those of us who have read the strip since it started have always known that. Those who created the “debate” just haven’t paid attention. Jon is male, Odie is male, Nermal is male—and Garfield is male.
Tue Elung-Jensen about 6 years ago
I´m sure it won´t stop certain groups to point out even if he has a girlfriend, it wouldn´t automate him as male. But yes, he is male. But tyose wondering about it coming to discussion ought to look into the web what people there are.
Marvin Premium Member about 6 years ago
Maybe Garfield is considering being Gertrude? Sort of trendy these days.
up2trixx about 6 years ago
I’ve been reading Garfield since day one, and have all the collections, and throughout the history of the comic Garfield has always been referred to as he, him, and his. This has never varied. The strip has also always made it a point to never, ever touch on politics or even current events (was probably one of the only strips that made no references whatsoever to 9/11 when it happened, for example). I like to think that Jim Davis and Paws, Inc. have done this on purpose because the strip could never, not even a single daily, ever be used to make somebody’s political or religious point.
trspence about 6 years ago
I got hooked on Garfield when the strip first came out and remember all the other characters being introduced. I’m surprised this is even a question. It was obvious from the first — at least to me — that he was male.