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Well, that took a turn...

Growing up, I read a lot of books. Like, a lot. Started from Enid Blyton's works and made my way up to the Newberry Honor List, sprinkling some Harry Potter in there for good measure. I read for the escape, as I'm sure many of you do too. There's nothing quite like disappearing into a good story, captured by the plot and the characters. There were so many books that I lived by, breathed, almost. Looking back, there is so much that I learned that I didn't know I learned.

Enid Blyton's famous five series showcased two boys, a girl and a girl who wanted to be a boy, not to mention the greatest dog in the world. Those five characters taught me a ton about friendship, determination, trust and family. They also taught me a ton about gender roles: the boys were rough-and-tumble, brave, and strong; their sister was gentle and delicate. She always followed them on their adventures but was never first through the door. She kept them grounded and calm, making a cave "homely" for them, serving food and cleaning on their adventures. Georgina wanted to be a boy so she cut off her hair and refused to wear dresses like her cousin. She always tried to appear tough and brave like her male cousins, but there was always a moment of weakness, some tears here, a break in her bravery there. The gender roles were so clear, so obvious, that even the characters in the book emphasized them. They would remind George that she was a girl, and by extension, what was expected of her.

This blog post was supposed to be about gender roles but as I write this, it's becoming clearer and clearer. George would insist on everyone calling her by that name and would be upset when her father called her by her dead-name, Georgina. She jumped at the chance to pretend to be a boy for any reason, never corrected anyone when they assumed she was male, tried to do everything her male cousins did, and got upset when the child they were hiding and protecting made a "better boy" than she did. Blyton's books highlighted George's desire to act like a boy and at a young age, it never occurred to me that their character might have been transgender. Was George trans this whole time? Why did no one talk about this?

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Wow, your reflection on the series really took me by surprise. I grew up reading those books too, and like you, I never really thought deeply about the gender roles portrayed in them. It's fascinating to revisit those stories with a fresh perspective.

George's character definitely stood out, and I remember admiring her tomboyish nature and her determination to be like the boys. But now that you mention it, it's intriguing to consider the possibility that George might have been transgender. The signs you mentioned, like wanting to be called by a different name and getting upset when referred to by her dead-name, do hint at a deeper identity struggle.

It's disappointing that such an important aspect of George's character…


nostalgic and a pleasant trip down the memory lane. I almost forgot that i still have the famous five in my bookshelf and even though i can hardly recall what the story was about by i can remember some bits of the story. Regarding George, since i was too young to make sense of the complexities that surrounded gender on my own and being raised in a pakistani culture on top of that, i remember categorizing her as a "tom-boy" a slightly acceptable and more appropriate because trans was a supposedly bad thing. looking back, i can now see how problematic this is and how we have strictly identified feminine and masculine characteristics and how it is so deeply ingrained…

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