The Case of Peppermint Patty

We watched Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving tonight and, as Snoopy was throwing plates around the table like frisbees, I took a peek at Twitter and saw that Lisa had been watching with her kid who wanted to know if Peppermint Patty and Marcie were lesbians.

Now, I do not believe in outing as I have made very clear in the past but I’m not above speculating about a fictional character.

I would argue that both Peppermint Patty and Marcie are lesbians though neither of them have figured it out themselves.

Exhibit A – Clothing: Peppermint Patty was the first girl to be shown wearing shorts in the Peanuts comic strip. Marcie was the second character to do so. All of the other girls wore dresses. Girls who wear pants are not necessarily queer, obviously. Girly girls can be gay too (Maybe Lucy is hiding something which is why she is so crabby and unhappy all the time). But, androgynous style and practical footwear are pretty common among lady lovers.

Exhibit B – Softball: Peppermint Patty is the captain of the softball team and the star pitcher. Lesbian. Softball. Enough said.

Exhibit C – Relationship to Marcie: Peppermint Patty and Marcie. Marcie and Peppermint Patty. They are always together. Marcie is always looking at Peppermint Patty with such admiration and addresses her primarily as “sir”. Peppermint Patty relies on Marcie to help her navigate social relationships and Marcie gladly does her bidding. I would argue that Marcie has a crush on Peppermint Patty (though she isn’t aware of it) and I think Peppermint Patty is just generally clueless. I saw this dynamic in pre-lesbians all the time in college.

 Exhibit D – Crushes: Both Peppermint Patty and Marcie have crushes on Charlie Brown. Let’s be real here…Charlie Brown is a nice but bland guy and the kind that girls have crushes on because it feels safe. Neither Peppermint Patty and Marcie are in touch with their feelings at all so they just pick Charlie Brown randomly to crush on. Plus, if they both really felt anything for him, wouldn’t they be competing in some way for his attention? Wouldn’t they have moments of tension because they both have feelings for the same boy? They would and they don’t so it’s pretty obvious they don’t really give a darn about Charlie Brown.

I predict that Peppermint Patty and Marcie went to college, got drunk after a softball game and made out. They both immediately realized that they had been in love all along. After graduation, they moved to Portland, Oregon, rented a small house and got a black lab. Marcie is getting an advanced degree in library science and Peppermint Patty became a gym teacher. The end.

By the way, as I was searching for images for this post, I ran across Peppermint Patty/Marcie fan fiction. That’s right – there are Patty/Marcie shippers out there which proves there is truly fanfic for everyone.

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29 Responses to The Case of Peppermint Patty
  1. Dolores
    November 21, 2012 | 9:49 pm

    I do like the fact that they have ended up in Portland.

    • Vikki
      November 21, 2012 | 10:55 pm

      I thought you guys might like that :)

  2. Lisa Frame
    November 21, 2012 | 10:12 pm

    I want them to be Peanut’s aunties. He’s not very athletic. Peppermint Patty could give him that needed push.

    • Vikki
      November 21, 2012 | 10:56 pm

      Peppermint Patty is kinda abrasive. As my friend Esther would say, she’s as smooth as a cross cut saw.

  3. Kelly
    November 21, 2012 | 10:40 pm

    No wonder they were the only two characters from the series I ever remembered!

  4. Justine
    November 21, 2012 | 10:58 pm

    Thank you for your always-incisive, hilarious analysis. Did the “Sir” thing connote some interesting power exchange dynamics to you? I always wondered about that.

  5. Alexandra
    November 22, 2012 | 12:19 am

    Covering my mouth from giggles so I don’t wake up my family.

    Pre-lesbians. *snort*

    This one is da bomb diggety.

    Thanks for the midnight laughs.

    And the fascinating animated soc 101 study.

  6. Laurie
    November 22, 2012 | 12:29 am

    I’m concerned about you further marginalizing Marcie by not even including a photo of her in this treatise on her sexuality. WHATEVER.

    I kind of hope Marcie ends up with a high femme who likes to take care of her. She’s been kowtowing to PP for far too long now. FREE MARCIE. (Lucy is indeed the one to watch.)

  7. Jenny
    November 22, 2012 | 7:04 am

    This made me laugh. My girls thought Peppermint Patty was a boy because Marcie kept calling her sir.

  8. Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom
    November 22, 2012 | 12:28 pm

    And PP wears Birkenstocks. ;) We had this same conversation with our six year old, Miles while watching last night. My husband invoked the Charlie Brown crush scenario, but I like your theory.
    That’s the one I’m going with.

  9. Meg
    November 22, 2012 | 2:17 pm

    The Birkenstocks always clinched it for me.

  10. Natalie
    November 24, 2012 | 3:57 pm

    Very true. There is an episode of Family Guy that does feature Peppermint Patty and Marcie living together. I am not sure what their chosen careers were but your prediction sounds like a good fit. No sign of the black lab though. :-P

  11. Sunday salmagundi
    November 25, 2012 | 11:05 am

    […] hard to discern what it is that the Lord Spirit is guiding you to do.• Vikki makes the case for outing Peppermint Patty and Marcie. Wait … when was this a secret?• Ditto what John Scalzi says here, particularly No. 3 and No. […]

  12. Tonio
    November 25, 2012 | 3:35 pm

    I don’t like this theory because it’s the old homophobic idea that non-conformance to gender stereotypes equates to non-straight orientation.

    • Vikki
      November 25, 2012 | 3:39 pm

      Very true. It was supposed to be funny and light but perhaps it misses the mark.

      • Tonio
        November 25, 2012 | 4:26 pm

        I found your post funny, but maybe as a straight man I’m not the target audience. I don’t know your orientation, and this type of speculation would be funniest if it were lesbians who were doing the speculating. It would take on a far different tone if it came from straight men.

        • Vikki
          November 25, 2012 | 4:34 pm

          I am a lesbian and I agree it would be different coming from a straight man.

          There is also truth in your original comment – it does play with stereotypes. That said, I do recognize that gender expression and sexual orientation are two distinct and different things. I was playing and also making assumption that everyone who reads my blog knows that (and who I am) so it is a good reminder that that is not always the case.

          • Kit
            November 25, 2012 | 7:34 pm

            I’ve long suspected that Peppermint Patty was unknowingly transgender instead, and that her foul moods and nastiness to poor Marcie were more the results of her constant discomfort and over-the-top attempts to act “manly”. Nooo, I wasn’t a borderline-abusive friend in middle school because I thought it was how guys were supposed to act and I subconsciously thought I had to not only mirror their behavior but one-up it to be accepted, why do you ask? *shifty eyes*

            I love your story too, albeit maybe with an ending where, once they accept themselves, PP realizes she’s been hurting Marcie. They break up for awhile, find themselves and grow, then run into each other in Portland and go for it.

          • Vikki
            November 25, 2012 | 7:47 pm

            You are so right. They really do need space before the head to Portland.

          • Kit
            November 26, 2012 | 1:56 am

            <3 Who knows? Maybe PP adjusts early. I'm still with my college sweetie, and we only took a little bit of space.

            Just realized I didn't quite make it to my actual point, which was that I think we all see ourselves in characters we like or shared memories, coloring our interpretations. The internet, it seems, is pretty much in agreement that PP and Marcie were given multiple lesbian stereotypes to get the point across clearly to everyone who recognizes them. I love how Tonio sees the ways that enforces gender conformance, and I love how you show what was probably written as stereotypes by an outsider being affirmative cultural markers to insiders. The thing I like most about PP is that ze DOES break the gender mold, even if ze's "cast" into another label to do so. Kids are only recently aware enough of QUILTBAGs to question whether ze's a lesbian, or a boy. I don't know when I caught on to the shared interpretation of hir as gay and I know my "waitaminute, trans?" realization was very recent, but as a kid I just thought it was COOL that SHE got called SIR.

  13. WereBear
    November 25, 2012 | 8:18 pm

    I adored this! Completely flew past me in childhood, but I think your analysis of their behavior is spot on.

    And so sweet they wound up together :)

  14. e
    November 27, 2012 | 1:30 pm

    Of course they’re in Portland. I see them around all the time! They’re on a Rec league softball team. Sometimes we meet up at the dog park or at the Lucky Lab brewpub for a pint. Then we commute by bicycle or take the streetcar to Powell’s to pick up a used book or two. LOVE those womyn!

    (Disclaimer: I am a lesbian and live in Portland)

  15. MichaelV
    November 27, 2012 | 3:49 pm

    Great piece.
    My only quibble is that Peppermint Patty played BASEBALL, not softball*. If I remember correctly, she was the manager and star pitcher of the far superior team that regularly beat Charlie Brown’s team.
    http://ilfantasyleague.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/peppermintpattypitching.jpg

    Other potential evidence: she was the only one who treated Snoopy like a kid, not a dog, which points to both a general open-mindedness and questioning of assigned social roles.

    *nothing against softball, obviously.

    • Vikki
      November 27, 2012 | 3:59 pm

      You are right! Baseball. I misspoke. You bring up a good point about Snoopy…I’ve know MANY lesbians who treat their dogs like kids.

  16. Jjiraffe
    November 28, 2012 | 10:49 pm

    This cracks me up. My friend was one of the voices of Marcy in the specials when she was a kid. She still gets residual checks sometimes (“not often enough” she’d say) and we were just talking about her glory days as a voiceover star a few days ago. I’ll have to tell her about your theory…

  17. Peppermint Patty | Lemonpuss
    December 7, 2012 | 5:39 pm

    […] and guffaws to make it worth while. I was all set to do a quick post about Peppermint Patty when I read this. I feel preempted in the best of ways. Have at it. This entry was posted in holidays, LGBT and […]

  18. Elena Como
    December 7, 2013 | 6:36 pm

    I’m not a big Peanuts fan, but re-watching the special, it occurs to me that Peanuts has more girls than most cartoons, probably the most gender-balanced cartoon before the Simpsons. Sally, Lucy, Pepermint Patty, and Marcie are all regulars, alongside Linus, Pigpen, Schroeder, and Charlie Brown. 4 main girls, and 4 main boys. A better balance than Looney Tunes, Tiny Tunes, Animaniacs, and anything else I can remember from my own childhood.

  19. Kimbis
    March 26, 2014 | 2:58 pm

    Peppermint Patty has a crush on Charlie Brown. She’s a tom boy, but not a lesbian.

    Marcie, on the other hand, is probably a lesbian.

  20. Raymond
    November 21, 2014 | 7:33 pm

    I’ve always fantasized that when the Peanuts gang grow up….

    Charlie Brown becomes radio host.
    Sally becomes a baker.
    Lucy becomes a news caster.
    Linus becomes a political activist.
    Franklin becomes a businessman.
    Marcie becomes a scientist.
    Peppermint Patty becomes a t.v. aerobics instructor.
    Schroeder becomes a famous pianist.
    Frieda sells beauty products.
    Shermy a football player.
    Patty a nurse.
    Violet a rock star.
    Pig-Pen a construction worker.
    Rerun.. well I’m not sure LOL

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