Debate Magazine

The Smurfette Principle

Posted on the 03 May 2011 by Erikalust

This is a great video from the Feminist Frequency by Anita Sarkeesian who analyses the Smurfette Principle or Token Minority phenomenon.

The Smurfette Principle was named two decades ago by Katha Pollitt, when she noticed that there were a disproportionate amount of male characters in programming aimed at young people. Even in adult programming, when women do appear in the primary cast of a television show or movie, they are usually alone in a group of men. Sadly, this trope has made its way into the 21st century.

Prelude to Gonzo Smurf Scene

Prelude to Gonzo Smurf Scene

“Girls exist only in relation to boys”, said Katha Pollitt. They are constantly stereotyped and stuck in the female cliché: they’re automatically defined as the sexy sidekick. “Men are represented as the default, and women are seen as sexy decorations”, adds Anita Sarkeesian in the video.

Inception, Star Wars, the Muppet Show, Transformers…

So in the future, when you watch a movie, try to ask yourself about the role of the female characters. You’ll be amazed this Smurfette Principle can sadly be applied to A LOT of productions, even now, in the 21st century.


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