For years, young boys have had a wide variety of Smurf characters they could dream about one day becoming: whether our sons wanted to be more like “Grouchy Smurf,” “Sloppy Smurf,” “Lazy Smurf,” “Stinky Smurf,” or even “Alchemist Smurf,” they had no problem finding the ideal Smurf to build their fledgling Smurf identities around. Girls, on the other hand, were stuck with a choice between Smurfette and Sassette Smurfling, both of whom were created by a spell that made them evil, at least until Papa Smurf used a magic potion to fix them. (There’s also “Granny Smurf,” whose origins are never explained, but, well, she’s called “Granny Smurf.”) Smurfette and Sassette are great options for girls who are intrinsically evil unless they have a magic potion—but what were grouchy girls, stinky girls, lazy girls, or alchemist girls to do? Fortunately, as, the new trailer for Smurfs: The Lost Village reveals, the Smurf universe is getting a bunch of new female Smurfs, if that makes any difference.
Although we’ve been closely following the development of Smurfs: The Lost Village, it wasn’t clear until Monday why Sony was being so tight-lipped about the eponymous lost village. It turns out they had good reason: The village may be lost, but it’s also filled with lady Smurfs! So however far “more lady Smurfs but in a separate village” moves the needle in the struggle against centuries of systemic oppression of women, consider that needle moved. Who knows how far the women of older generations would have gotten if the Smurf cartoons of their day had contained dialogue like “Girl Smurfs mean business?” Well, we’re about to find out, because the next generation is coming up in a world where Smurf cartoons contain dialogue like, “Girl Smurfs mean business!” And we say it’s about time, as long as gender parity in the Smurf universe is a pressing concern of yours.
Look, if you’re running a company that is in the business of making movies about the Smurfs, it is undoubtedly better to have women represented in the Smurf movies your company is making than it is to make Smurf movies about an almost entirely male cadre of Smurfs. And as long as there’s money to be made in churning out Smurf movies, it’s ridiculous to ask why Smurf movies keep getting churned out: The market demands Smurf movies, just like it demands female Smurfs by the village-load in every Smurf movie from now on. Why take unnecessary chances on anything riskier than “Smurfs but more of them are girls?” Although it’s technically possible that gifted screenwriters like Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon might have original ideas they feel more passionate about than changing the gender balance of the Smurf universe, it would be a rank injustice to pay them to do anything but write Smurf movies until the boys’-club environment of previous Smurf cartoons has been addressed once and for all. Which, apparently, it has.
It’s tragic to think of the creative talent wasted on films like Moana (which Ribon worked on before getting called to up to the Smurf leagues), while girls across the country grew up without positive Smurf role models, but thankfully, those days are finally over. It’s especially inspiring to see that the new female Smurfs are coming from Sony, a company that, as recently as two years ago, was routinely paying women less than men. Was “an insufficient number of female Smurfs” the reason Michael De Luca got nearly a million dollars more a year than Hannah Minghella for the same job? We certainly hope so, because assuming the lack of female Smurfs was the problem, the problem is finally solved. Call out Congratulations Smurf!