Date of Degree

6-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Theatre

Advisor(s)

David Savran

Committee Members

Jim Wilson

Edward Miller

Jill Dolan

Subject Categories

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Film and Media Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Theatre and Performance Studies | Women's Studies

Keywords

Feminist theatre, Experimental performance, Half Straddle, Young Jean Lee, Jibz Cameron, Room for Cream

Abstract

“Straddling Feminisms,” is the first academic study of a new movement in feminist theatre. Examining experimental performances from 2008 to today, I argue that this resurgence of explicitly feminist work in New York City represents the rise of what I call “post-wave pop feminism”—an intergenerational politics that engages French feminist philosophy, 1980s U.S. feminist ideologies, queer and trans theory, and Third Wave feminist thought. Unlike performances of previous decades, in which feminist politics arose from a conscious presentation of “gender as a construction,” today’s work embodies a kind of woman-centricity that expands upon the definition of woman—to include queer cohorts of all sorts—without essentializing it. I contend that this work presents a “homonormal” worldview and I show how the performances depict trans men and women as crucial feminist constituencies, countering lesbian feminists’ historical rejection of these groups. I also demonstrate that, central to all of these performances, is the simultaneous celebration and critique of popular culture. The concept of “post-wave pop feminism” is a useful paradigm for other research; it presents new ways of understanding our contemporary feminist moment beyond the stage, and provides strategies for making U.S. feminism a more intergenerational, coalitional, and multi-vocal movement.

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