The Smurfs are little blue and white gnome-like characters created by Peyo (a.k.a. Pierre Culliford) in 1958 as a Belgian comic strip. They became very popular in North America in the 1980’s when The Smurfs t.v. show and licensed merchandise became available and have recently seen a resurgence in popularity with the release of the Smurfs movie featuring Katie Perry as Smurfette.
Let me be clear; I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s at the height of Smurf mania and was always puzzled by the cartoon. One female in a group of over 50 males? They don’t age, and there seems to be a baby, but it isn’t Smurfette’s baby? Where did this baby come from? The Smurfs were always fighting over who got to be Smurfette’s boyfriend and the show often featured petty little rivalries between them. Even more upsetting is Smurfette’s back story.
Smurfette was introduced into the comic strip in 1966. She was created by Gargamel as a Pinocchio – styled doll to infiltrate the Smurf village and create dissent and petty rivalries among the male populace. After spending some time in the village, Smurfette decided that she wanted to live there permanently, so Papa Smurf took her into his laboratory and changed her from a doll into a real Smurf, signified by her blonde hair (it was black when she was a doll).
Smurfette’s back story is a horrifying role model for girls: females are created/exist to create dissension between men and the only relationship that can exist between a man/woman or girl/boy is one of constant sexual tension. I know it is only a cartoon, and kids don’t really consider all of these things when watching it, but it is good to know, nonetheless.