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Once You Notice the ‘Smurfette Principle’ on Movie Posters, You Can’t Un-See It

1 minute read

Ever noticed that most blockbuster movies with an ensemble cast have exactly one woman in the main crew? She’s usually clad in leather, can drink her weight, kicks bad guys with abandon and has a bit of sexual tension with the leading man. There are exceptions like the Fast and Furious series and, lately at least, The Avengers. But most of the time, discounting damsels in distress or villains, there’s just the one lady. It’s called the Smurfette principle — because there was only one female Smurf among all the Smurfs. This pattern is particularly obvious looking at the posters for some of the biggest action movies of the era. Here are just a few:

Star Wars, 1977
Star Wars, 1977Lucasfilm Ltd.
Ghostbusters, 1984
Ghostbusters, 1984Columbia Pictures
Space Jam, 1996
Space Jam, 1996Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
The Matrix, 1999
The Matrix, 1999Warner Bros.
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, 1999
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, 1999 Lucasfilm Ltd.
Ocean's Eleven, 2001
Ocean's Eleven, 2001Warner Bros.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, 2007
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, 2007Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Star Trek, 2009
Star Trek, 2009Paramount Pictures
Inception, 2010
Inception, 2010Warner Bros. Pictures
Captain America: The First Avenger/, 2011
Captain America: The First Avenger, 2011Paramount Pictures
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, 2011
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, 2011Paramount Pictures
The Avengers, 2012
The Avengers, 2012Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Out of the Furnace, 2013
Out of the Furnace, 2013Relativity Media
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 2013
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 2013Warner Bros. Pictures
Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The Expendables 3, 2014
The Expendables 3, 2014Lionsgate
Fantastic Four, 2015,
Fantastic Four, 201520th Century Fox
Now You See Me 2, 2016
Now You See Me 2, 2016Summit Entertainment
Warcraft, 2016
Warcraft, 2016Universal Pictures
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, 2016
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, 2016Lucasfilm Ltd.
Kong: Skull Island, 2017
Kong: Skull Island, 2017 Warner Bros. Pictures
Justice League, 2017
Justice League, 2017Warner Bros. Pictures

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