“So what is a Smurfette? Noone wanted an answer more than Smurfette herself.” This is the opening line to the 2017 film, Smurfs the Lost Village. This is an immense film and does more for feminism than the recently unveiled Mary Wollstonecraft statue (although that isn’t hard!).
The film strives to tell the story of Smurfette, the one female smurf amongst her male tribe -who all have names that describe an aspect of their personality- Clumsy, Hefty, Brainy, Jokey, Papa for example. Although the names aren’t flattering in every case these smurfs have a character and you know what they are about.
But what is an “ette?”, well in the Oxford English Dictionary there are two meanings:
- Forming nouns denoting relatively small size.
- Forming nouns denoting an imitation or a substitute.
Smurfette, cigarette, kitchenette, you get the idea. Whilst we’re on this topic, how about the origin of the word suffragette? Well the term was originally suffragist (to describe a man or woman who believed all should have the right to vote)and later suffragette was coined to describe women only, it was a derogatory term but has been reclaimed and is proudly used today.
Back to Smurfette. The film ends with the following words “As for that burning question Smurfette can’t be defined by just one word she is many things. Smurfette can be anything she wants to be.” Isn’t that beautiful? The story has evolved, Smurfette finds her tribe and her identity and we revisit her origin story.
I think there is something fabulous about the way that the writers have moved on the original story, whilst not scrapping a much loved story they honour it but bring it forward in it’s evolution and tell a part of the story that has never been told. Isn’t that what we should aim for? To hear those voices that don’t get heard and tell stories that need to be heard.