I am overwhelmed, sometimes, by the amount of misfortune in the world. To be a feminist and follow current events is often acutely painful. But there is also good in the world, and feminists have come a long way. So I've decided to try, about once a week, to remember something I came across that made me smile-- something gender-related, of course.
I'll start with Romeo and Juliet.
I've been with a theater company that does Shakespeare for four years now, and in that time I've been exposed to a lot of his plays. Many of them are truly problematic from a feminist standpoint. Thus, I was quite pleased to learn that Romeo and Juliet was the play we would do this year.
Since I've been looking for good cultural reference points to introduce my friends to feminism, I was overjoyed. The more I look at the play, the more I like it. Some highlights:
-- the destructiveness of the feud illustrates the damage done by male gender roles
-- The interactions between Romeo, and Mercutio illustrate homosociality
-- Juliet makes her own decisions, and even possesses explicitly sexual desires
-- the abusive, controlling father is revealed for what he is-- abusive and controlling
-- Romeo's downfall is caused by his murder of Tybalt -- motivated explicitly by a desire to conform to masculinity
I'm sure everyone here knows this already; I know there is a substantial body of gender-based Shakespeare scholarship. But I've got to post something, and this makes me smile.
Now I should go finish learning my lines...