A Letter to Smurfette

SmurfDear Smurfette,

To be honest, I was more of a Voltron guy growing up. It’s not that I didn’t watch the Smurfs from time to time, it’s just that, well, to me Voltron was cooler. Five mechanical lions morphing into an evil-fighting robot? What’s not to like?!?

Still, I will say congratulations on the success of the Smurfs franchise. You blue-bodied, Gargamel-fighters have done really well. Comic books, nine years on television and now two movies. Bravo!

Smurfette, what I want to do in this letter is to express my sympathy.

Because it’s surely been a difficult journey for you. After all, it couldn’t have been easy to be the only female smurf in your community. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like to be the only female out of about 100 smurfs. I’m sure you felt alone and isolated, the perpetual outsider.

As if that wasn’t enough, I’m sorry that you have had to go through life being identified solely by your gender. While all the male smurfs around you got names that reflected their personalities or attributes, you were defined only by your chromosomes. Again, I can’t imagine what it would have been like to watch Brainy, Grouchy, Lazy and Papa live into their names while you remained shackled with a gender-only moniker. Truly, as this article states:

“These characters, originating as they did in mid-century Europe, exhibit the quaint sexism in which boys or men are generic people–with their unique qualities and abilities–while girls and women are primarily identified by their femininity.”

Finally, it kills me that you were created by Gargamel himself. Not only that, you were created as a weapon. I’ve seen the cartoon that depicts your creation as an agent of revenge, as “a ruthless curse that will make them beg for mercy.”

Smurfette, none of this is right.

And while I’m glad that later on you were joined by Sassette and Nanny, I ache that you had to endure 100 years or more of smurf male privilege. Whoever the smurf equivalent of Tertullian was or is, I’m sure he’s smiling  at all you’ve had to endure.

So, Smurfette, keep your head up, hang in there and be tough. And look for allies.

Heck, where’s Egalitarian Smurf when you need him?!?

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