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"Smurfette ruins Society" - Repost (Previous post taken down for Rule 6): SEXES The Banal, Insidious Sexism ofSmurfette In The Smurfs 2, men are identified by their abilities, while women are known for their femininity. PHILIP COHEN AUG 9,2013 Here are the Smurf characters McDonald's is using for their Happy Meals: PICTURES ANIMATION When you buy a Happy Meal at McDonald's, the cashier asks if it's for a boy or a girl. In my experience, which is admittedly limited to my daughters, girls get Smurfette. I guess boys get any of the others In The Smurfs 2, there are a lot of Smurfs. And they all have names based on their unique qualities. According to the cast list, the male ones are Papa, Grouchy, Clumsy, Vanity, Narrator, Brainy, Handy, Gutsy, Hefty, Panicky Farmer, Greedy, Party Planner, Jokey, Smooth, Baker, Passive-Aggressive, Clueless, Social, and Crazy. And the female one is Smurfette-because being female is enough for her. There is no boy Smurf whose identifying quality is his gender, of course, because that would seem hopelessly limited and boring as a Expect more from AI. Learn more about Wats 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. The Smufs 2, which premiered last weekend and came in third at the box office, doesn't upend the premise of Smurfette. The Way It's Never Been Identifying male characters by their non-gender qualities and females by their femininity is just one part of the broader pattern of gender differentiation, or what you might call gendering. atfemininity is just one part of the There are two common misconceptions about gendering children. One is that it has always been this way-with boys and girls so different naturally that all products and parenting practices have always differentiated them. This is easily disproved in the history of clothing, which shows that American parents mostly dressed their boys and girls the same a century ago. In fact, boys and girls werewhen women entered often indistinguishable, as evident in this 19os Ladies Home Journal contest innumbers (a movement that has largely stalled). which readers were asked to guess the sex of the babies (no one got them all The other common perception is that our culture is actually eliminating gender distinctions, as feminism tears down the natural differences that make gender work. In the anti-feminist dystopian mind, this amounts to feminizing boys and men. This perspective during the three decades after 1960, in l However, despite some barrier-crossing, we do more to gender-differentiate now than we did during the heyday of the 197os unisex fashion craze (the subject of Jo Paolettis forthcoming book, Sex and Unisex). On her Tumblr, Paoletti has a great collection of unisex advertising, such as this 1975 ad, which would be unthinkable for a major clothier today: Bo And these clothing catalog images from 1972 (left) and 1974 (right): oy MELLIN'S FOOD BABIES Result of the Guessing Contest portraits were shown in our exhibit at the St.Louis Exposi- e offered $a5o.oo in gold to the person who could correctly guess 4 the boys and girls in the so numbered pictures. No one guessed 2o correctly Mr. George Harrison, Enfield, N. C was awarded the 8a5o.0o, the on guessing 18 correctly, this being the largest number of correct guesses received the GRAND PRIZE. higher the Gold Medal, the Highest Award of the St. Louis Mellin's Foed Today, the genders are not so easily interchangeable. Quick check: Google image searchfor girls clothes" (left) vs. "boys clothes: Today, a blockbuster children's movie can invoke 5o-year-old gender stereotypes with little fear of a powerful feminist backlash. In fact, even the words "sexism and "sexist, which rose to prominence in the 197os and peaked in the 1990s, have once again become less common than, say, the word bacon" 5 000048% 00006% 000024% 0001296 000% 1960 1966 1960 1966 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 And the gender differentiation of childhood is perhaps stronger than it has ever been. Not all differences are bad, of course. But what Katha Pollitt called the Smurfette principle"-in which "boys are the norm, girls the variation"-is not a difference between equals. "Smurfette ruins Society" - Repost (Previous post taken down for Rule 6)

"Smurfette ruins Society" - Repost (Previous post taken down for Rule 6)

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