By Michelene Wandor
`one hell of a seminal learn ... here's a booklet that grapples, with strength, ingenuity and fabulous highbrow rigour, with a bewildering wooded area of matters round gender and politics ... illuminating, insightful, perceptive.' - Women's evaluation
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Extra info for Carry on Understudies: Theatre and Sexual Politics
The constitutional attempt to repress homosexuality helped spur the campaigns of social and political radicals: from the 1880s to the 192,08 the most sympathetic supporters for sex reform in general and homosexual reform in particular had come from the left; and, as a corollary, most of the reformers were clearly men and women of the left. But the theoretical and practical 18 CONTEXTS problems that this connection raised had never been clearly explored…. One of the problems was that there was no fully worked-out theoretical position on women and sexuality in the socialist tradition.
This is, of course, something of a simplification—but the basic distinction between radical and socialist feminism is that the former assumes that sexism is the root of all other antagonisms in society, and envisages some kind of revolution of women (the oppressed) against the oppressors (men, or the patriarchy) to change things. Socialist feminism attempts to relate a class analysis to an analysis of sexism, and to decide on the best organisational and strategic way to change both economic exploitation based on class and oppression based on gender.
While women have figured prominently in the development of the novel, they have figured only sporadically in the visible history of playwriting. Most permanent theatre companies consist of more men than women (in keeping with the casting demands of both the classical canon and the contemporary repertory theatre fare), and in a profession dogged by high unemployment the average earnings of actresses are lower than those of actors (stars are always the exceptions). On the technical side, women remain in the minority, a combination of prejudice against them, and a hesitancy on the part of women themselves.