Something severely wrong with this image

French for SmurfFrench imagery in advertising, roundabouts and even pizza boxes is something I’ve discussed many times on this blog, but this image is the most provocative I’ve seen in a public place. Apologies for the lack of quality: I took the picture temporarily on my phone a few days ago and the poster has since disappeared.

So, here we have a poster for the Lalu nightclub in Le Grand Bornand, featuring smurfs (called ‘schtroumpfs’ in French). I remember Papa Smurf there in the red, and Lady Smurf is of course the woman next to him. The post says ‘Smurf me’ in French (they’ve made ‘smurf’ into a verb), so I guess it’s a party where people dress up as smurfs. And what is that smurf doing below that, with the scissors and the comb? Is that hay being taken away? No. Look more carefully, and if you’re pre-teen, just skip the rest of this entry: it will only add to the teenage angst that you’re destined for.

I’d say to look closely, but you don’t really need to. Can you see anything amiss in this poster? Anything slightly wrong, considering the poster was placed at the height of a kid’s eyes? That’s not hay that the smurf is carting off. It’s pubic hair. That’s not a hill with a house in the distance, it’s a breast. As you can now see, there isn’t much left up to the imagination in this poster.

Admittedly, I stared at this poster, pointed out to me by my friend, for a good minute or so without noticing anything odd. If this poster was in the nightclub itself, I wouldn’t even blink an eye; but it was placed outside the lift ticket office in Le Grand Bornand, right by the ski stand, where parents tell kids to wait with the skis, and as I mentioned, right at kid height, with all these cute, lovable smurfs on display to attracts kids’ attention. Perhaps most kids just overlook this for the love of smurfs the way I did. Still, could any other country be so open to Hairdresser Smurf giving a human an alternative Brazilian? And is that really how you make a human into a smurf? I reckon Painter Smurf with his can of blue paint would have a strong opinion about that.

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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4 comments on “Something severely wrong with this image
  1. I agree. This is way inappropriate for public placement anywhere near children, although I must also admit that my Puritan American values may be showing. Interesting that it was in Grand Bornand too. I know that town since my Tour Operator partner has offices there at Hotel Aravis. So if you live near there, we’re almost neighbors since I’m in Chambery. Cynthia in the French Alps

  2. bertie bassett says:

    Blimey don’t get yer knickers in twist cynthia… based on what I’ve seen on various beaches then les francais seem pretty comfortable au naturel, and don’t seem overly bothered whether kids can see yer bits.

    I particularly remember a taxxing work conference in Nice one september where come 3pm I’d retired to a public beach next to Bvd Des Anglais for a swim, read and snooze but was put off my book a little when this really rather pleasing on the eye french lady walked up the beach from the sand, stripped completely starkers and took her time towelling herself off before find a shirt and shorts and heading off.

    Similar sights on similar beaches – they’re just not as repressed about public nudity as the Brits for sure…

  3. Lyra says:

    I don’t think it’s the nudity that is the problem. I think it’s using the smurfs to give the lady a trim. I’m totally showing this to my husband. He’ll think it’s a riot.

  4. April says:

    Lyra, yes, that IS the alarming thing! I think the poster itself is quite clever as nudity is well-hidden despite its obviousness once spotted!

    Cynthia, I know very well the operators of the Hotel des Aravis in St Jean de Sixt (where I now live), but none in Le Grand Bornand. No doubt plenty of my friends do: it’s a very small world living here.

    Bertie bassett, I remember last summer hearing some French boys talking about a woman’s boobs when she had them out on display down by Lake Annecy. I was swimming close enough to them to hear. What they say about the French not even noticing nudity is apparently not always true!

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Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced professional writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Read more...

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