Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Smurfette Principle

So, apropos of nothing in particular, I was thinking about the three women we have on the Supreme Court now (Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg), and how we are slowly moving away from the “Smurfette Syndrome” in politics. 

The Smurfette Syndrome, for those who are unaware, is a trope where they are lots of different male characters, and then one female character, who is apparently used to represent all women or femininity.  Like the 100 to 1 ratio of females to males in the Smurf village, later slightly improved to 100 to 3 ratio.  Seen in countless tv shows and movies, and can also be seen in real life, like the 5 to 1 ratio of men to women in Congress.  Or the even worse 0 to 44 ratio for presidents.  Here is a video explicating the theory further: 

While I believe the situation is slowly improving on all fronts, will we ever reach the point of parity of representation amongst the sexes in politics?  Is that even something we should strive for?  What if less women were genuinely uninterested in politics compared to men, as I’ve heard some theorize?  Are women in politics always doomed to be Smurfettes?

1 comment:

  1. I gotta tell you I think about this ALL the time. Particularly as I'm picking out what my kids get to watch. I have a beef so big with Pixar about how they never have girl characters. So you can imagine how I feel about my government and the press being so crazily unrepresentative of women's voices. When I worked on the Hill we used to argue about whether a black man or a white woman was likelier to become president first. I always said a black man (though at the time I was usually thinking Colin Powell). I would never try to diminish the strength and power of racism, but I feel like sexism is considered wholly acceptable, still, in our society in a way that racism is not. People try to hide racism and public people get fired for saying racist things. People do not try to hide sexism.