Underrepresentation of Women

This article kind of reminded me a bit about that slide Dr. Smorol showed us about the art that is published in galleries, the people who go to art galleries, and the owner’s of art galleries. This article reminded us that just like in art galleries, women and people of color are underrepresented in theatre. This is salient in many facets of our culture and it is truly a shame. I always remember hearing people say, “Oh yeah well Shakespeare used all male actors for his plays” But I never really wondered why that is. This article shows the discrepancy between the percentage of plays produced and directed by women, and how many women are in the audience. On Broadway 16% of plays are directed by women, yet 63% of the audience is women. The disparity here is unsettling. As is with most parts of life, theatre has been geared toward the white, male, heterosexual norm, and unfortunately this has leaked over into the arts more generally.
I did find it interesting that in smaller and poorer theatres the amount of women directors and playwrights inclined. To me this suggests that in small pockets inequality can be reached. However, oppressive structures rigidly hold patriarchy to the utmost importance, thus suppressing women’s voice and influence in theatre and the arts.
 I like at the end of the article when the author says, “If 80 percent of the stories that are told are written by and about men, if the majority of female characters are created from a male perspective, and if the directors, producers and critics are predominantly male, something is inherently wrong. We do ourselves and the theater community a great disservice by not working together to address this problem.”
If 80% of the work produced is by males and for males, then our perception of what we are watching is most likely skewed and gender biased. I do not know if that is the best thing for society, unless you are a heterosexual white male. I’m glad that the author calls for a shift in this paradigm, and raises almost a very solemn warning or maybe even a precautionary note, that what we are watching may not always be taken at face value.

 

Word count: 363

 

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/20700-majority-of-theater-going-audience-minority-of-playwrights-and-directors

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