My perfect Saturday night would literally consist of making popcorn and watching action movies in my living room with great company. I'm not much of a party do-er, even sometimes when I wish I was. Watching an intense movie in a relaxed environment is what I find ideal. When I first heard of the “Smurfette Principle,” I automatically associated it with the stereotypical profile of a woman. Although that in itself is troubling, there was so much more to the “Smurfette Principle” that I hadn't even considered.
The "Smurfette Principle" introduces the concept that the majority of action movies consists of only one woman, and that one woman is only there to be associated with men. Women are either the sidekick, the girlfriend, or the sexy trophy just for eye candy; in other words, they have no real identity. It didn't
take me long after I heard of this to completely agree! Taking it back to one
of my favorite action movies, Captain America (okay, it wasn't too far back, but still),
I recall only seeing three woman throughout the
entire show, and only one had a leading
role. The other two were blind dates and only on
screen for 40 seconds, literally. The leading woman
was amongst a sea of army men. Now, I understand the
historical precedent they were attempting to portray,
but the leading woman couldn't have a mother?
Relaying the "Smurfette Principal" to a patriarchal
framework that we all so easily contribute to, women
have no real identity. The only identity that we are
associated with is in relation to men. I believe I am very
well educated in the frameworks that society has placed
me in, but right when I thought I heard it all, there
comes this. Meanwhile, here I am, enjoying these action movies without knowing that I
am supporting the very constructs, stereotypes, and frameworks I am trying to
diminish or atleast bring to awareness.
The "Smurfette Principle" brought me back to my freshman year: the philosophical aspect of feminism course that I woke up every day happy to attend and finished each class ready to burst (literally yelling at my at the time boyfriend). The hardest part of that class, and to this day, is completely redefining the very thing I have been raised to believe, down to the very way I was raised to act.
Let me give one example that completely blew my mind. One fine day in my
philosophical aspect of feminism class, we were discussing the notion of men
opening doors for women. I mean, that's the polite thing to do, right? How can
something that's considered generous and "chivalric" also be considered demeaning?
Our class and I spoke on why opening doors can be seen as oppressive. It is not just
the belief associated with opening a door that assumes that women can not do it
themselves, but that it is placed hand in hand with the theory Marilyn Frye
introduces as "the birdcage". She discusses how it is important to recognize these
elements: these "bars" attached to the birdcage that keep us constrained and
oppressed. Opening a door from a woman is just one construct of the many.
This the hardest and harshest reality of feminism, that something as
subtle as opening a door has its own hidden motives. It is Hollywood
movies, along with these subtle behaviors, where the cycle continues to repeat itself:
this cycle that traps women in an already defined identity. There have already been
movements that have brought these subtleties to light, and if Hollywood
cares enough about their future and their viewers, it's about time they
hop on the bandwagon too.
Video Credit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opM3T2__lZA