ERIC Number: ED192412
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Aug
Sex-Role Stereotypes in Secondary School Theatre.
The five plays most frequently produced in high schools--"Our Town,""Harvey,""Arsenic and Old Lace,""You Can't Take It with You," and "The Curious Savage"--perpetuate an image of women that is no longer tolerated in most educational materials. An analysis of these plays shows that they include many more male than female roles and that female characters tend to fall into two familiar stereotypes: woman as nurturer (homemaker, nurse, caretaker of men and children) and woman as lovable, ridiculous eccentric whose ideas are not to be taken seriously. Not one of the five plays includes an example of a competent, decisive woman who solves problems and meets challenges independently. There are good reasons for continuing to produce these plays: they are important examples of American dramatic literature, and they are popular with audiences and actors. Teachers can mitigate the effects of their negative images of women through two strategies: (1) they can use the plays as teaching devices for examination of attitudes toward women and of the changing role of women, and (2) they can balance the production schedule with plays offering a more positive or contemporary image of women. (The paper lists criteria for choosing plays that portray women positively, and it discusses a number of plays that meet the criteria.) (GT)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Theatre Association (44th, San Diego, CA, August 10-13, 1980).