Gender of Tuu-tikki

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matsnorberg
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:58 am
Location: Uppsala

Gender of Tuu-tikki

Post by matsnorberg » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:53 pm

Today I looked in the sweedish original text of Tove Jansson's Trollvinter. A couple of weeks ago I read it in finnish without having access to the original text. The finnish title is Taikatalvi, a more or less litteral translation of Trollvinter. To my utter astonishment I found out todäy that the character "Tuu-ticki" (Too-ticki in swedish) was a female. I have always thought that she was male. For some reason there is an extremely male air and feel about her but maybe it's just my prejudice. The pictures of her in the books really look like pictures of a man. In the finnish text I did'n detect anything indicating a female gender, the finnish pronoun "hän" can easyly erase all traces of gender or sex. Perhaps this was the intent of the writer. Many years ago I saw a TV-series "Julkalendern" 1971 I think is was partially based on Taikatalvi. This was in swedish of caurse and a very very long time ago but I clearly remember that I thought Tuu-tikki (Too-ticki) was a male. In fact I took it for granted! I now have to rewrite Taikatalvi in finnish carefully to see if there is any passage where she is refered to as "nainen". If it's not there is no way the reader can really e sure of her gender. Maybe she is really rendered genderless. Someone here who knows? I feel really stupid about missing such a fundamental thing for so many years, but it's never too late for correcting oneself.

Tuu-tikki is modeled on Tove Jansson's girlfriend. She was a feminist sweden-finnish writer who also wrote adult litterature. And one has to suppose that she was also bisexual because she also had boyfriends in her youth.

Mats



Gender of Tuu-tikki

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heretostay
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:54 pm

Re: Gender of Tuu-tikki

Post by heretostay » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:54 pm

matsnorberg wrote: And one has to suppose that she was also bisexual because she also had boyfriends in her youth.

Mats
Having opposite sex partners in youth does not make someone bisexual. Some people don't figure out or come to terms with own their sexuality until later in life. Also, societal pressure was probably even stronger in Tove Jansson's younger days for women to have a boyfriend.


Rosamunda
Posts: 10649
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 12:07 am

Re: Gender of Tuu-tikki

Post by Rosamunda » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:45 pm

As you know, Jansson wrote in Swedish so to really understand what she "intended" would require reading the original version, not the Finnish translation. If the original version is somehow ambiguous as to Too-ticki's gender, then the Finnish translation should also retain that ambiguity.

In the English version she is clearly identified as female in the opening pages: Her common sense often restores order in the valley. (Translation: Thomas Warburton). I assume this is a direct translation from the Swedish 'hennes' (I don't have the book in Swedish) - Swedish does have gender-specific pronouns.


matsnorberg
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:58 am
Location: Uppsala

Re: Gender of Tuu-tikki

Post by matsnorberg » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:38 am

Oh My! I'm intreagued by this Tuu-tikki character but I'm not convinced that having common sense and ability to restore order to a confused situation is a particularly female trait. The swedish version is unambigous as regard to Tuu-tikkis gender: she is FEMALE! Pronouns such as "hon" and "henne" immediately reveals this fact.

The finnish translation however uses the pronoun "hän", which compltely obscures the gender identification.
So I have to reread the finnish version to find out. Maybe I missed something. Maybe there is some passage in which Tuu-tikki is refered to as "nainen" or "neiti" or some other specific female word. The TV series I mentioned can also have obfuscated the gender issue besause in TV or film one usually referes to people as "you" rather than "he" or "she". TV is founded on direct dialogue with little room for narrating text.

If it turns out to be no references to gender in Taikatalvi I would säy that the translator has committed a big mistake because he/she would then have obfuscated the original intent of Tove Jansson. The word hän works as a gender-discloser. Without some gender-sensitive labels the reader has absolutely no chance to correctly judge the correct gender of the characters. The other characters I believe are correctly marked up by such labels as "neiti", "sisar", "rouva", "äiti" or "esi-isä" possibly with the exception of Hemuli and Mörkö. And of course those who have read the earlier muumin-books should already know that Muumipeikko is male and Pikku Myy is female. Well the Nuuskamuikkunen should be male I think but I'm not sure he's marked up either. I really have to reread that book!!!

When I think about it there really is some gender disambiguity in the muumin-books. The Hemulis for instance likes to wear skirts. Or is it gowns? This is clear if you read Taikurin Hattu in finnish which I'm reading just now.

Mats


Rosamunda
Posts: 10649
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 12:07 am

Re: Gender of Tuu-tikki

Post by Rosamunda » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:18 pm

Here is a BBC Radio 3 programme (from last Tuesday) visiting the Tove Jansson exhibition which just opened at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b099wz08

They discuss the Moomins from about 32:00, Moominland Midwinter is referred to from 42:00 when they discuss the character of Too-ticki.


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