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.
“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.