Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Yarghblarghaughughpuke.

This is the kind of crap that makes me really ashamed to go to Duke.

Not that she's graduating summa cum laude and going to Harvard Law (although, puke). Nor is it that the writing is particularly bad - the Our View column is where my brain cells go to die, so I've got particularly low standards in this case. I mean, it's not good, but I've seen worse. Actually, it's kind of like reading the essay my curator wrote for the front of the book in that my first impression is "holy god, you went to college and they let you out with this?!" But I digress.

I am ashamed because it is blatantly, horrifyingly obvious that this girl COPIED AND PASTED HER LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS ESSAY VERBATIM AND SENT IT TO THE NEWS. I AM CAPSING HERE BECAUSE HOW SHAMELESS IS THAT?! DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND, DUMB GIRL, HOW THE COLLEGE PROCESS WORKS? NO ONE WANTS TO READ ADMISSIONS ESSAYS IN THE FIRST PLACE, NOT EVEN ADMISSIONS EMPLOYEES, SO WHY DO YOU THINK THE REST OF US GIVE A CRAP?

I think I'm going to write an Our View column about how much all the other Our View columns suck. Whatever space is left will be filled with *gasp! ohno* political commentary or something *gasp! ohno* interesting or useful. Maybe I'll be like the other hypocritical columnists and complain about the sensationalism of American masa media! (I can't think of the phrase "mass media" in English anymore. Similarly, all leftovers of anything have been converted to "restos" and I will call them restos for the resto of my life. ahahaha.)

***

Has anyone formed a comprehensive feminist theory based on the Smurfs? Because they should. And if they have, stop reading here.

Actually, this isn't really comprehensive. Never mind.

I've been considering the significance of Smurfette's status within the world of the Smurfs. Obviously, her femaleness (and femininity, I suppose) set her apart from the rest of the Smurfs. While everyone else is classified by the content of their respective characters (there's a nerdy Smurf and a cranky Smurf and a protective, nurturing Smurf), Smurfette is different just because she is an -ette.

Right. This is all pretty obvious. My question is, does Smurfette's exclusion on the basis of her gender reinforce or destroy preexisting gender stereotypes? On the one hand, you could argue that the female status of Smurfette precludes all other distinguishing characteristics - although there are nerdy and mean and sporty and happy boy Smurfs, none of these characteristics could ever be identified with a girl Smurf, because she is already sufficiently othered by being female. She is excluded from the preexisting social conventions that define Smurfness (I would imagine that, as a young male Smurf comes of age, there is a whole Smurf-naming process undertaken from which Smurfette is necessarily excluded. Like a Smurf bar-mitzvah without the accompanying bat-.) The idea of Smurfette as limited and identified by gender is further strengthened by Smurfette's really annoying giggliness, which cements her in the stereotypical role of dumb chick. She can never be identified by anything other than "girl Smurf" and she can never rise above the inherently denigrating state of "girl Smurf" - though, as previously stated, she never really tries.

However, there's another reading of Smurfette, and it is - what if being a female IS her defining personality characteristic? If you look at it that way, the Smurfs frame gender in a nonessentialist, almost subjective light, casting it as a socially determined factor. Nerdy Smurf chooses to be nerdy, Pigheaded Smurf chooses to be pigheaded, Papa Smurf chooses to save the rest of the clan from Gargamel, and Smurfette chooses to fill a gaping niche in a society of 50 "men" by casting herself in the role of "female". Clearly, her status as lone woman in Smurfland cannot be solely biologically determined, unless she has litters of 100+ Smurfs per pop, is immortal, and never experiences menopause. So Smurfette, realizing that there are a number of personality paths afforded her, chooses to follow the one that says "girl". In this case, she is as full a member of society as any other Smurf. Having chosen her place in the Smurf Village, she is now merely fulfilling her duties.

So, does Smurfette reinforce the status of woman as inherently limited or does she throw the entire concept of gender into flux? Leave me a smurfing comment and smurfing tell me already, you smurfing son of a smurf.

12 Comments:

Blogger Dante said...

actually, you completely forgot the part about how smurfette was a creation by gargamel with the intent to infultrate and bring down the smurf society.

since smurfs reproduce asexually, i don't really think it matters a whole bunch. can sexism really even exist in an asexual system? apparently, the next generation sure thought so...

and about that article. yeah, it was horribly written and that girl is beyond hopelessly naive, but why do you let it bother you? so she's a dunce? i'm sure at some point the world will brutally rape her of that innocent naivity and she'll end up just as jaded and bitter as the rest of us.

especially since she's going into law....

6/15/2005 3:17 PM  
Blogger Jeannie said...

i know jamie as a pretty cool chick, but her article made me want to stab my eyes out with my computer mouse maybe. I really hope her mom found it and submitted it against her will.

6/15/2005 11:06 PM  
Blogger Dante said...

"yeah, i saw you leave with smurfette."

"oh man. as soon as we got out of the bar, she started smurfing me."

"shut the smurf up!"

"yeah!"

"right in the smurfin' parking lot?"

"smurf yeah!"

"oh that is freakin smurf!"

(courtesy of seth macfarlane)

6/16/2005 5:26 PM  
Blogger Chris Clarke said...

litters of 100 smurfs per pop
.

... or one smurf with each of 100 pops, maybe.

I'ma gonna leave now before someone makes a "blukakke" comment.

6/16/2005 6:50 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

OH AH BLAGH UGH OH MY GOD.

6/16/2005 10:02 PM  
Anonymous craig said...

Wasn't this whole conversation in Donnie Darko?

6/16/2005 11:48 PM  
Blogger Chris Clarke said...

Bunny.

6/17/2005 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See my essay on "Smurfette's Secret" for my own speculations about the Smurf life cycle.

http://www.hankfox.com/Smurfette's%20Secret.htm

Excerpt:

"And of course, finally, there must be some explanation for the troublesome detail of Baby Smurf. For myself, I think this question can be simply answered by assuming Baby Smurf is not so much a baby as a runt — perhaps cast too far by the explosive hatching of the initial egg mass to get back in time to gulp a few bloody mouthfuls of Smurfette’s nutritious body."

6/17/2005 1:05 PM  
Blogger Dante said...

craig - yes donnie darko had a conversation about smurfette with his friends that covered pretty much this same thing.

6/17/2005 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Katie said...

Actually, the life cycle of smurfs was explained. The official explanation of why there were no girl smurfs (before Gargamel created Smurfette, anyway) and why Baby Smurf exists is that every 100 years a baby smurf comes down from the sky. It takes a hundred years for it to grow up, just in time for the next one to come. And smurfs are nearly immortal (not quite, but live for freaking ever, so it's basically a moot point). So Baby Smurf just happens to be the last baby delivered who hasn't grown up yet. And that's why he's the only one.

As a kid, I always thought the whole thing was kinda fishy, but I guess it was easier than trying to explain how an all-male society procreates.

6/23/2005 11:42 PM  
Blogger Chris Clarke said...

It takes a hundred years for it to grow up

.

I can relate.

6/24/2005 12:05 AM  
Blogger :D said...

I have nothing to add except that this is the funniest comment-series I have read in a long time.

7/04/2005 8:09 PM  

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