“Hers; The Smurfette Principle” – Katha Pollitt

Posted: April 15, 2014 in Uncategorized
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This New York Times article by Katha Pollitt is from 1991, but is still depressingly relevant to our media culture today. Pollitt proposes a principle of her own making “The Smurfette Principle” in which cartoons with an ensemble cast have one female character. She marvels at the fact that little had changed since she was a child watching television in 1950. Although aspects of this article no longer hold true (Sesame Street has added female muppet characters) there are still a lot of points that ring true. I googled “popular children’s tv shows” and the top shows I got were Spongebob Squarepants, The Wiggles, and Pokemon. All shows that feature one main female character, if any. Now I know that Spongebob and Pokemon have a variety of peripheral female characters, but the main cast have one girl: Sandy and Misty. This means that over two decades after Pollitt wrote about her Smurfette Principle; it’s still not only relevant, but prevalent.

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