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Congress Has Entered the War Over Garfield’s Gender

Photo: Paws, Inc.

For the past few days, an editing dispute on the Garfield Wikipedia page has vacillated back and forth over whether or not that fat, lasagna-lovin’ cat has a gender. Some context: In 2014, Garfield creator Jim Davis told Mental Floss, “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.”

That quote was potent enough to inspire online rabble-rouser Virgil to add Garfield’s supposed gender fluidity to the character’s Wikipedia page. You know, Garfield, the cat that loves being lazy, hates Mondays, hates Nermal, and believes that gender is a spectrum. This has inspired an impassioned conversation on the entry’s Talk page, where editors discuss how to reconcile conflicting indicators of Garfield’s gender. According to J-canon (Jim Davis canon), Garfield is neither male nor female, but he does use male pronouns such as “he” and “him.”

“Clearly this is a comment explaining the philosophy of Garfield’s universal appeal,” editor DrCliche writes, “and not an attestation that Garfield is (or that Jim Davis believes the character of Garfield to be) literally genderless (or ageless, or without nationality, etc.) Throughout the strip, every character (including Garfield himself!) constantly refers to Garfield unambiguously as male, and always using male pronouns.” DrCliche then provides links to 19 Garfield comic strips referencing the pudgy rascal’s masculinity.

Now, it appears that Congress is stepping in to resolve the issue. More specifically, someone using a congressional IP address has edited Garfield’s Wikipedia page to remove him from the category of male comics characters. “Garfield does not have a gender, he should not be in the male comic characters category,” the edit’s description reads. We salute this anonymous public servant’s commitment to accuracy in Garfield.

Congress Has Entered the War Over Garfield’s Gender