A Good Night Out for the Girls: Popular Feminisms in by Geraldine Harris Elaine Aston

By Geraldine Harris Elaine Aston

Relocating around the barriers of mainstream and experimental circuits, from the affective pleasures of commercially profitable indicates corresponding to Calendar women and Mamma Mia! to the feminist probabilities of new burlesque and stand-up, this ebook deals a lucid and available account of renowned feminisms in modern theatre and function.

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The film moves to America and deals with the pressures of celebrity and the tensions this produces in the friendships between the women. The play remains located in Yorkshire to represent the WI community coping with local, national and international reactions to their campaign. Chris and Annie have to win the approval of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, while news of the calendar has the press camping out on the doorstep of the church hall, and voiced-over media reports are heard from America, Japan, Britain and France.

Skeggs opens this discussion with the example of how ‘the hen party woman’, stereotyped as ‘loud, white, excessive, drunk, fat, vulgar’, and, as she notes, ‘explicitly and excessively heterosexual’, has come to function as a ‘figure’ for ‘the national constitutive limit to propriety’ (ibid). Skeggs argues that while this figure is never named as ‘working-class’, the discourse around it exactly reproduces the register of ‘moralising, pathologising disgust’, historically employed in the representation working-class women (ibid: 965, 967).

Of broccoli’ (ibid: 5), the audience is ‘screened’ (light projects on to spectators so that they become the ‘screen’ the WI women are watching) for their responses to being instructed in the art of domestic culinary. The dominant perception of the WI as tied to the apron strings of domestic arts and crafts is projected into the viewing space, only to be loosened up by a refusal on the part of the ‘watching’ women (performers and spectators) to take this seriously. The calendar of WI events is not viewed as a means to perfecting the ideal housewife – indeed the antics of the Knapeley group suggest this as an impossible ideal, given their unenthusiastic and hopeless efforts to compete in the regular rounds of fetes and festivals.

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