07/26/2011 12:44 pm ET Updated Sep 25, 2011

The Origins Of Smurfette

In the new Smurf movie, Katy Perry lends her voice to Smurfette, a character introduced to the original Belgian comic series for potentially cynical reasons. Some speculate that in 1966 a female Smurf was added to prove the all-male Smurf village's heterosexuality and stop rumors that they might be gay. Don't buy that the creators had something to prove about the sexuality of imaginary creatures intended to entertain children? There's another explanation: Smurfette was added in order to market the series to little girls. And in fact, Smurfette is the franchises' most heavily merchandised character.

Within the story, Smurfette's creation myth alludes to Adam and Eve. Gargamel, the Smurfs' enemy, decides to create Smurfette from clay so that she can use her good looks and charm to cause jealousy and competition among the all-male Smurf village. Gargamel hopes the female temptress will bring down the Smurfs, but the blue creatures' kindness makes Smurfett want to be a real Smurf. Papa Smurf can help, and he takes her to his lab. She emerges sweet and with long blond hair, and throughout the comics the lone female Smurf is treated like a prize for the male Smurfs.

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