The Salem Witch Trials: Sexism And Misogyny In Theater

1922 Words 8 Pages
Sexism and misogyny in Theater There are plenty of women who produce, direct, design sets and act in theatrical productions, however they did not always have these opportunities. “Women’s parts were played by men until the late 1700’s. When women did get the chance to perform in the United States, actresses were often seen as fallen or disgraced women because respectable women were not supposed to engage in public activity” (Matthews, 315). Examples of sexism in theatric productions include, Macbeth, The Twelfth Night, Hairspray and the Taming of the Shrew. Macbeth may be empowering to women, however the idea of women always portraying the part of witches may be a bit misogynistic. The reason it is offensive to cast women as witches is …show more content…
The Salem witch trials consisted of a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft. The trials resulted in the 20 executions by hanging and fourteen of them were women and two were dogs. Five others died in prison and two of them were infants. (Schiff, 2015). People were accused of witchcraft if they are believed to be contentious, stubborn or have been accused of other crimes. (Roach, 2013). Obviously, the Salem Witch trials were unnecessary and nobody was actually practicing witchcraft, meaning people lost their lives for nothing, which is why it is sexist to assume that only a woman could portray a character that is wicked and capable of horrendous …show more content…
She learned from his book that wife beating was a recognized right, and that daughters who resisted their parents’ choice of a husband were “locked-up, beaten and flung about the room” (Ulrich, 74). Women have been objectified for many centuries, however I am disappointed that there is misogynistic behavior in theater as well. The first big female star was Charlotte Cushman in the 19th century. Her best role was as Shakespeare’s Romeo, dressed in male clothes. Women could finally perform or they were servants of performers, however they had no authority or power backstage or as directors. It wasn’t until the 20th century when women began to create their own American theater. It was still a struggle because people viewed women actresses as “tainted” or sinful. Actresses including, Ethel Barrymore, Katharine Cornell, Lynn Fontanne, Helen Hayes and Jessica Tandy impressed the audience with their artistry so much that the category of “fallen” women no longer had power like it did in the past (Matthews,

Related Documents