Multidimensional picture of women’s oppression in English drama and theatre of second wave of feminism – chosen examples Cover Image
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Wielowymiarowy obraz opresji kobiet w angielskim dramacie i teatrze feministycznym drugiej fali na wybranych przykładach
Multidimensional picture of women’s oppression in English drama and theatre of second wave of feminism – chosen examples

Author(s): Dariusz Leśnikowski
Subject(s): Theatre, Dance, Performing Arts, Gender Studies, Sociology of Culture
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego
Keywords: British feminist drama; British feminist theatre; radical feminism; Sarah Daniels; Caryl Churchill
Summary/Abstract: From the very beginning the English second wave feminist theatre strongly emphasized the need to manifest the scale of oppression women were subject to in a patriarchal society. In a group of texts and theatre performances ‒ especially those influenced by the idea of radical feminism ‒ there was a vast array of issues which included phenomena such as: physical violence, sexual harassment, rape, prostitution, pornography, mental oppression or enforced heterosexuality. The point of reference for many literary and stage works was an assumption that the household space became an area of specific “colonizing” of women on many levels. Creations of some theatrical groups showed a picture of everyday life limited to the constantly repeated home rituals; other groups created a vision of the hell of domestic existence marked by physical and psychological violence. In the artistic expression the extreme form of alienation was fetishisation of women – sexual objectification. The characters from texts and theatre performances fight this form of oppression, starting from the territory of domestic and family life, from the area of marital life, and in marriage ‒ from the bed. The issues such as birth control, abortion and contraception also become important for them. Rape is often a model form of violence against women in the creations of British feminist theatre. Dramatic texts (for example written by Sarah Daniels) correspond with the works by radical feminist writers who perceive male sexual violence as spiritus movens of male history, and they regard pornography as the most visible manifestation of male domination. The radical stance of playwrights and actresses is expressed in criticizing a very wide range of practices: from telling misogynist jokes to shooting and distributing pornographic films from a group of the so-called snuff movies. It is worth noting that for English fringe theatre women’s specific experiences, including actresses’ personal experience, soon began to be a significant inspiration. However, the problem-orientated performances of the feminist groups of the British second wave avoided shallow agitation and featured the ideological content expressed in a variety of interesting theatrical means.

  • Page Range: 121-135
  • Page Count: 15
  • Publication Year: 2019
  • Language: Polish