Battling myself (an International Women's Day Post)
This is a little late to the IWD but I did finish writing it on Tuesday so I think it counts!
I have a confession to make. I am a feminist, and a playwright, and I suck at representing women in my work. They tend to be victims, not heroes; passive in romances, work, and the home. My current body of work probably wouldn't pass the Bechdel test (this test rates movies on whether they have more than two female characters who talk to each other about something besides a man). And I read about the Bechdel Test and thought, well it can't be that hard, can it? Believe me, it is. In fact, try and think of a scene in a movie between two female characters that passes.
Not so easy, huh?
I'd like to pretend that I wasn't so heavily socialised but here I am contributing to the misogyny of the Arts. Surely, as a feminist and a playwright, creating work that improves the representation of women in my medium as people capable of more. Nope. But surely I am, in terms of sheer numbers? Well. I do, but only because I have recently been trying very hard to improve the number of female characters in my work. But at least my themes touch on problems that are specific to women's struggles across the world. No, not really.
So far, not so great. I mean, what have I been writing about?
And then I read this article about how sexism is built into our childhoods. My two year old pays the lady at the counter in every shop we go into and a man drives a digger. And I did that (well me, my family and society)... Here I am raising my babies to continue the associations between gender and role that I have been perpetuating in my own work but that have held back my own aspirations and advancement.
What am I doing?
I am beginning to realise that my art is imitating life. And there are flaws with life. Flaws I want to combat. Flaws that I would like to see eradicated in my lifetime. So I've decided, I'm going to try. Try harder to include women; as characters, in storylines that reflect that adventures can be had by the whole population, and not just keep them to the masculine half.