Saturday, June 10, 2006

Women Relegated to Silence

A woman playwright complains:
All white men season at The Roundabout.
Same thing is supposedly happening in Cleveland with a woman artistic director at Dobama. Two other women directors at another theater have done Neil LaBute regularly but no women.
I think it is time to start screaming in print and boycotting seasons. We sometimes feel odd saying these things as women playwrights, but we know subscribers at these theatre and they should be told.
I chime in:
Boston too is swamped in women-free seasons. I just boycotted the Playwrights Marathon, b/c I couldn't bring myself to buy a ticket to a 10 minute play festival in which women were less than 1 in 4 of the 51 writers chosen. I'm withdrawing my "Consent of the governed". I want my money back from the O'Neill! One American woman out of 8??!!! We should all make a stink. But we won't, because it is an Admirable Cause, a Fair process, with Blind Readers, and therefore there must be something wrong with Us-- women just haven't got what it takes to be worth attention and support and nurture. We must reconcile ourselves to our natural position, which is to be the givers of attention and support and nurture. God forbid that we should be Shrill or Whine. We should be Ashamed of ourselves.
I think it is probably an unconscious process-- as violence replaces negotiation in our public discourse, we women lose our (always tenuous) claims to expertise and authority. The longer we are "at war", the more women will be silent-- or silenced. What is happening to us is the mirror of what is happening to women in Iraq and Afghanistan (and now in Mogadishu?). When might makes right, our only claim to attention is as victims--- preferably silent dead ones, whose blood cries out for vengeance.
I don't think we can change this, but we can at least point out that it is happening-- if we are loud enough and if we are shameless.


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