I’ve posted this on Elizabeth Zwicky’s Facebook timeline, where it’s been appreciated. Now to give it a somewhat more permanent home, on this blog.

From the website One Last Blog on Nothing of 12/18/13, “One Weird Old Trick to Undermine the Patriarchy” by Michelle Nijhuis, beginning:

My five-year-old insists that Bilbo Baggins is a girl.

The first time she made this claim, I protested. Part of the fun of reading to your kids, after all, is in sharing the stories you loved as a child. And in the story I knew, Bilbo was a boy. A boy hobbit. (Whatever that entails.)

The story continues:

Then I thought: What the hell, it’s just a pronoun. My daughter wants Bilbo to be a girl, so a girl she will be.

And you know what? The switch was easy. Bilbo, it turns out, makes a terrific heroine. She’s tough, resourceful, humble, funny, and uses her wits to make off with a spectacular piece of jewelry. Perhaps most importantly, she never makes an issue of her gender — and neither does anyone else.

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