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The Smurfs are a bit of fun aren’t they?

I am not talking about the films.
I have not watched the films on principle.
I have watched almost all the “Winnie The Pooh” films and I am the lesser for it.

I don’t want the films to spoil the Smurfs for me.

Unfortunately my view of the world of the Smurfs is being shaken.

I am pretty sure they are still the cute little guys I remember.
They might be.

The Smurfs might also be the most sexist series of books I have ever read.

It is only reading it now that I wonder.

In fairness to Peyo, who wrote them, I have not read them all.

On the other hand, Peyo was writing the Smurfs in fifties and sixties France, about a village of one hundred males and one female and if stereo types of the time are anything to go by there is slim chance things are going to improve.

If the stereo types are anything to go by.

Which is the point unfortunately.

To write off Peyo (who, up until now in my memory of children’s books, was a towering hero) as a stereo type is to fall utterly and completely into the trap.
Supposing I start making dour and downbeat remarks about one of France’s best loved publishing giants only to have some future person expose my biased and mildly xenophobic remarks?

I mean, I could be right.

“The Smurfette” might be indicative of, and an early advocate of, popular body modification trends in the early twentieth century.
Smurfette herself may be a key signifier of all that is wrong with the portrayal of female characters in popular culture.
She may be an inverted role model, a sort of less gobby Spice Girls.
Media oppression and objectification of femininity dressed up as “a bit of fun’ or ‘strong character’.

This may be the first spoon feeding of ‘cute’ negative role models that the Proles have fully absorbed.

I say fully absorbed because Prole1 is currently translating the whole of the Smurf Anthology volume 1 and 2 for Prole2.
They have been through the books about seven times each.

But I am hoist by my own liberal petard.

Because on the other hand….

It may just be a bit of fun.
The Proles might not take it seriously.

The illustrations are brilliant.
Some of the jokes are very good.
The stories are very funny.

So in order to find out the truth of the question “Is Peyo’s Opus valid reading for the twenty first century?” we probably have to read to the end of the series to find out.

Just to be sure.

You have to get to the bottom of the Honey jar, just to make sure it’s not cheese, right?

After all, as a friend pointed out the other day, you have to wade through quite a lot of early Herge racism before you get to the Tin Tin classics….

 

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