Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ranting about the O'Neill

On Oct 8, in reply to my rant about the absence of women in this year's O'Neill line-up, Jeff Sweet wrote: They usually have a much better average than that for women. Much better.
I protested:
No, they do not. Check through the records. Historically, less than 25% of the attendees are female-- and many of those are "two-fers". I'm not in a snit because I'm a female writer. Most people, and the gender-assigning computer program that's based on subtle grammatical differences and is supposed to be 85% accurate, mistake my unidentified work for that of a man. The Humana is very female- friendly, and I don't ever expect to be picked to go there-- I don't write "Humana-type" plays. But I still send in my annual 10 minute, because it costs nothing and who knows? -- some year my stuff might interest them. There, I take your advice to"Don't give up on a place just because the panel for one given year was too stupid to choose you! The panel the next year will be different."

But I'm outraged as a citizen and as an audience member by the O'Neill's gross disparity in gender selection. I simply won't support them in any way any longer, and I urge my male colleagues to consider doing the same thing, and for the same reason. Calling for women to boycott programs that have a blatant male bias is counterproductive: it gives the excluders the excuse that "women just don't apply". But where are the men? Why don't they notice when women aren't in the room, and feel outraged, too? Because their audiences, their families, the world, are made of females as well as males. The theatre is the place where we come together to examine our lives. I don't speak for women. But women as half of humanity speak for a
range of experience that men often leave out, and their voices are vital to our joint project of mutual understanding.

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