From Cartoon Character to Internet Icon: Peppa Pig

If you are a regular follower of internet culture, or perhaps a parent of a young child, you know that Peppa Pig has blown up over the past two years or so. The British children’s television character appears virtually everywhere–in TikToks, memes, apparel, and even Airpod cases. In some instances, parents reported their children adopting British accents after being exposed to the show. Although Peppa Pig has been airing since 2004, she has become more popular than ever in 2019.

Who is this enticing creature, and why is she so popular? According to one Washington Post journalist, Peppa “is a pig of the people” whose snappy pettiness distracts us from the chaotic world around us. Her witty jokes and childishness are perfectly memeable to fans of all ages. One particular iconic moment in Peppa’s filmography is an episode in which she calls her friend Suzy Sheep to ask her if she knows how to whistle, hoping for solidarity in being unable to whistle. Suzy, upon learning what whistling is, responds with a perfect pitch, leading to Peppa abruptly hanging up the phone, face shocked. Twitter memes in 2018 began co-opting Peppa as a symbol of pettiness, crowning Peppa as the queen of sass.

In the spring of 2018 in China, Peppa was censored and decried as having ties to “gangster behavior” and a threat to “Chinese characteristics” after first airing in 2015. Her episodes were removed from streaming sites. Teenagers embraced this rebelliousness, placing Peppa onto cars, watches, bags, tattoos, and more. However, in 2019, Peppa resurfaced in a movie about Chinese New Year, leading to positive speculation about Peppa’s future.

A humorous, relatable children’s character, it’s quite probable that the cute cartoon pig will remain a figure of independence and meme culture.


Student at the University of Michigan studying Art & Design and Communication & Media, hoping to create meaningful design for social impact. Every week I highlight an intriguing artist (or group of artists)!

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