Female Smurf removed from posters in haredi Orthodox neighborhood in Israel
By Josefin Dolsten
March 27, 2017 1:53pm
Image: Smurfette was removed from posters for “Smurfs: The Lost Village” in a haredi Orthodox neighborhood in Israel. (Sony Pictures Animation)
(JTA) — It’s common for posters in haredi Orthodox neighborhoods in Israel to be scrubbed clean of women, out of respect for the community’s stringent modesty standards.
In 2015, Jennifer Lawrence was removed from posters promoting the final “Hunger Games” movie in both Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, a densely populated city with a huge haredi Orthodox population. The furniture giant IKEA has published men-only catalogs for the haredi market.
But this time the latest casualty in the “modesty wars” is not a flesh-and-blood woman but a Smurfette, a blue cartoon creature who stars in the latest “Smurfs” movie.
While a Smurfette — differentiated from three presumably male Smurfs only by her long blonde hair and six cartoon eyelashes — graced billboards across Israel for “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” she was nowhere to be found on the posters in Bnei Brak.
The film’s distribution company decided to erase the blue-bodied beauty from posters in order not to offend residents, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz, which shared a photo of the poster showing only the three male Smurfs. The company, Forum Film, also told Haaretz that it is common practice not to feature women on posters in Bnei Brak.
We’re not sure whether to laugh or cry #SmurfsMovie http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.779813 …
6:48 PM - 27 Mar 2017
Not all Orthodox communities in Israel are on board with the strict gender-separation represented by the haredi community. Modern Orthodox Jews are among those active in pluralistic groups like the Yerushalmit Movement, Women Changing Jerusalem and Yerushalmim, which have put up their own advertisements featuring pictures of women.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews Who Can’t Handle Images of Women Cropped the Female Smurf Out of Movie Posters
March 28, 2017
by Hemant Mehta
The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is (in)famous for altering images to remove women, lest anyone get the wrong idea they’re equal to men. (The actual excuse is that pictures of women might offend the community’s “stringent modesty standards.”)
They removed Hillary Clinton from the iconic picture of the White House Situation Room during the Osama bin Laden raid. They also removed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo from a picture of world leaders. Jennifer Lawrence was notably absent in posters for The Hunger Games movies, while IKEA offers a mens-only catalog for this community.
The latest woman to get the hatchet treatment? Smurfette.
This is one version of the actual poster for the upcoming Smurfs: The Lost Village:
You won’t see that poster in the city of Bnei Brak, Israel, though, because Smurfette, the only female in the group, has been cropped out of the image.
As part of the publicity campaign for the new film “Smurfs: The Lost Village” launched on Sunday, the PR company Mirka’im — Hutzot Zahav censored the image of a female smurf from billboards in Bnei Brak. The smurfette does appear alongside three male counterparts on other billboards throughout the country.
The company distributing the movie, Forum Film, said that the PR company decided not to hang the original poster in Bnei Brak in order not to harm residents’ sensibilities, adding that it is not accepted practice for images of women to appear on the city’s billboards.
If a drawing of a fictional blue creature with blonde hair offends your religious sensibilities, then there’s something wrong with your religion.
To be sure, not every ultra-Orthodox community practices this kind of censorship, but this sort of irrationality really deserves to be called out no matter who’s doing it. It makes no sense in this particular case, either. What happens when the people in Bnei Brak see the movie? Smurfette’s still going to be in it. Good luck cropping her out of the entire film.
There’s no reason not to show women in the advertisements when they appear in the final product, just as there’s no reason to rewrite history when women are, in fact, in positions of power. They exist whether you like it or not.
Keep in mind that the censorship isn’t happening because the women are scantily-clad or sexual in any way. They’re censoring women for existing. Because it’ll burn their ultra-Orthodox eyes, don’t you know.