Anti-Smurf Conspiracy Documents


Smurfs are called...

The Smurfs in England and the USA
De Smurfen in the Netherlands and part of Belgium
Les Schtroumpfs in France and part of Belgium
Die Schlümpfe in Germany
Los Pitufos in Spain
Barrufets in Catalonia (Spain)
I Puffi in Italy
Smølferne in Denmark
Smerfy in Poland
Smoulove in Czech Republic.
Smurffit in Finland
Smurfene in Norway
Smurfarna in Sweden
Strumf in Croatia
Strumparnir in Iceland
Smurfies in South Africa
Os Estrumpfes in Portugal
Törpök in Hungary
Sirinler in Turkey
Dardasim in Israel
Sumafu in Japan

(print out this handy list and study it!!!)


Smurfy Sexism: Drawn with a Biased Hand
By Mariruth Graham

Cartoons are the highlight of every child's day. I remember waking up every Saturday morning overcome with dread, wondering if my dad had a hangover, yet joyous nonetheless knowing that all day I would be watching my favorite television programs. Shows like Jem, My Little Pony, The Monchichis, and my all time very most favorite-- The Smurfs, could brighten any kid's day. Now that I am more educated and less naive, I look back on that one show and am appalled to find latent sexist messages. The Smurfs have only one female character, Smurfette, which creates a subtle problematic. Smurfette's stereotypical "female" physical characteristics, personal attributes, and anonymous role in the Smurf community and Smurf Realpolitik promote inaccurate stereotypes of females.

You *know* what she's askin' for... Smurfette's physical appearance marks her as a charicature of a hoochie-momma, and this promotes sexism through the insulting image of women she perpetuates. From the moment you see Smurfette's delicate physical features, her blond flowing hair, those shapely legs, and always in that tight white dress and "fuck-me" heels, you immediately expect her to be one hell of a classy, feminine broad, in all her actions and speech. Studies show that children are easily fooled by such feminine stereotypes, "North American children report that viewing gender biased materials leads to gender biased attitudes." (Davidson, Yasuna & Tower, 1979, Pingree, 1978.) This study supports the notion that children are impressionable and can mimic the attributes of television characters, often to the point where it becomes quite annoying. In the cartoon The Smurfs, Smurfette always wears her hair down and when danger strikes she is forced to run in high heels-- is this fair? The creators of Smurfette confine her in tight, revealing clothes. The message this conveys is certainly not a positive one for children.

No drug references here! Smurfette's personality traits, such as her tendency to worry or be silent, create a subtle, yet forceful, sexist subtext as well. Whenever Smurfette speaks she begins every sentence with the signal exclamatory clause, "Oh!" For example, she says to Papa Smurf, "Oh! I don't know how you could sleep all right! I've been worried all night!", in reference to the younger Smurfs' "special" night spent alone outside. Because the writers burden Smurfette alone to endure the entire community's feelings of anxiety and concern for children's safety, they make a pathetic spectacle of their own biases towards all women. Whether the scene entails the Smurfs running from Gargamel (their antagonist, and one heck of a nice guy,) or reflecting on the day's activities in Smurf Village, the writers consistently position Smurfette next to or near Papa Smurf within the mise-en-scene. In one show she stands silently adjacent to Papa Smurf, facing the other Smurfs, while he praises their group work ethic. Visually, because Smurfette does not stand together with her proletarian Smurf comrades, spectators could be lead to assume that she actually does not fit into the group's dynamics. When female children are forced to watch hour upon hour of Smurfette's daily routine they subliminally accept her actions as right, and tend to mimic her perverted characterization of the feminine at the least appropriate times. However, when male children observe Smurfette's actions they usually assume her behavior is typical, and expect other females to act and respond in a similar fashion.

"Get over here you!"Smurfette does not have a specific job title attached to her name, and as such other Smurfs must view her as insignificant. She does not have a trade, or the ability to contribute any useful product to the Smurf community. Because Smurf Village bears a suspicious resemblance to a communist society, having a vocation probably secures one's position of power and authority within the Smurf commune. Characters such as Handy Smurf (the architect,) and Jokey Smurf (the group's comic relief,) all have very definite responsibilities to their Smurf comrades, and appear certain in their knowledge that they have their place in society. Not giving Smurfette a job or title sends the message that women should agree to perform any assignment, chore, task, or perverted sex act that men can dream up. Whether the task be to help save a fellow Smurf from Gargamel, or to take care of the adolescent Smurfs, Smurfette must rise to any and all occasions. Her unemployment directly correlates with her insignificance to the community. Young male fans of The Smurfs may begin to view all females as subordinate, and they may even try not to embody any feminine qualities for fear of being as insignificant as Smurfette. One study on children's television shows in Japan it suggests that children learn, "being feminine is not rewarding in that it is consistently related to a loss of social power" (Rolandelli.) If another Smurf embodies a typically female characteristic such as obsessive concern for their appearance, as Vanity Smurf does, or an interest in the arts, as Painter Smurf does, the writers always give them effeminate characteristics as well. Vanity Smurf speaks with a lisp and wears a flower behind his ear and his job seems vague which makes him insignificant as well.

Dirty Dancing, the Smurfy way!If that annoying The Smurfs theme song permanently remains in the heads of children young and old, what other dangerous influences from the show will too? In order for women to be fairly portrayed in cartoons at this point in time a feminist hand is clearly needed. Nicole Hollander, the author of a comic strip called Sylvia, has created a strong female character we can all truly respect. Sylvia is smart enough to concentrate on her friendships rather than relationships with men, finds no interest in politics or sports, but readers of the strip know her as a strong-willed individual with her own views about life. Smurfette wears a dress every day, actually the same dress every day, making it difficult to take her seriously if we judge by appearance, or personal hygiene alone. Sylvia's humble and simple appearance, and her sharp, witty comments probably help people see her as a serious person and not just some broad. Because cartoons never get old or stop being syndicated, future writers should be more conscientious about what they write and how they draw a certain character because its' actions and words could have a harmful effect on many people in future generations.

Works Cited
Davidson E.S., Yasuna A., & Tower. "The Effects of Television Cartoons on Sex-Role Stereotyping in Young Girls," Child Development, 1979, p. 597-600.
Pingree S. "The Effects of Nonsexist Television Commercials and Perception of Reality on Children's Attitudes About Women," Psychology of Women Quarterly, 1978, p. 262-277.
Rondelli "Gender Role Portrayal Analysis of Children's Television Programming in Japan," Human Relations, December 1991, p. 1273-99.




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