Many know the inspiring story of a little train who thinks it can and then successfully does. “I think I can, I think I can” is something I have heard more than one person repeat. If you have not read The Little Engine that Could (Retold by Watty Piper, illustrated by George & Doris Hauman) recently you may not remember that before the little miracle worker engine successfully gets all the toys and sweets over the hill to the good boys and girls, a bunch of mean power hungry engines tell the train that they don’t have the time to pull it to the boys and girls, even though it would be easy for them since they are strong. They are too important for toys or children. All the bad engines are men. The good engine is a woman. Or at least all the bad trains are referred to using male pronouns and the good one using a female pronoun (and the original toy-sweets puller was also female). Is this because the train is headed for children and the book is kind of sexist (I know I am reading too much into it here, but I find the switching of pronouns weird and would love an explanation)?
Or is the male vs. female engine dichotomy because the last train is good and the books kind of, for lack of a better term, hates men? This reminds me of a moment I had in class when someone asked “Is there a word, like misogyny in terms of women, that means hating men?” and a student replied “Feminist.” No, that is not the right answer. In any case the female engines help, the male ones do not. What you think of this in the book, probably relates to what you think of this more generally, in life. Let me know what you think!