Have you been following the news and gettin' a little queasy? Me too. In order to cope, I wrote a play called YOUR WINGS HAVE EYES (with support from The Farm Theater) which explores the treacherous terrain of gender and sexuality on a college campus. It will have it's first public reading at the awesome Geva Theater in Rochester, NY on October 19th, so give your immune system a rest and DVR the debate and join us!
"Asked to write about how gender influences behavior among young people, playwright Micheline Auger has crafted a tale of youth, trust, betrayal, fear, and self-realization. The play was commissioned by the Farm Theater in New York City to be produced at three different colleges, beginning with The College at Brockport, this academic year (directed by Frank Kuhn). Students from Brockport have been working with the playwright since last spring as she has developed the script. A conversation with the playwright will follow the reading."
I'd love to hear you and your friend's thoughts before we go into production in Brockport, Florida and Kentucky (then head home to NYC!) My hope is that it will grab people by the heart. #grabthat
When I was a little girl, I thought it was going to be awesome to be a woman. My favorite TV shows were the Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman and reruns of Isis (the goddess, not the terrorist group.) I grew up in the 70's during the "sexual revolution" and even though I was aware that women were often portrayed in the media as being "less than", there was a movement going on. It was called the Equal Rights Movement and at seven, I was rocking an ERA NOW! shirt and received the antithesis of a verbal high-five by a grown man who said "Fuck the ERA."
Regardless of that and the fact that one of Saturday Night Live's more popular skits had the loudly-applauded line "Jane, you ignorant slut," I was optimistic. According to one commercial, being a woman meant I could 'bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never ever let you forget you're a man.' This seemed like a pretty good thing. I mean, who doesn't like bacon? The women I saw in the billboards and ads were sexy and powerful. Farrah Fawcett was plastered everywhere in her iconic red bathing suit and at eight, I was flipping my hair in the bathroom and practicing my smile. I knew I had brains, but someday I'd get boobs too.
I’ve always been interested in the concept of gender even before I knew it. I remember when I was a kid, noticing how men and women were treated differently – in movies, on the news, in commercials – and I noticed how girls and boys were treated differently in school, and even in my own family. When they separated the girls from the boys, I was in the girls’ line, but there were times I felt like I didn’t fit into the girl box, or wasn’t “girl” enough. Why not separate according to hair color, or interest in music?
I was listening to a Google talk given by Stanford Lecturer and Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal on willpower. She asked a room full of uber-bright Google employees which scenario was optimal in achieving a desired result: imagining your success or imaging your failure. The majority of Google hands went up on “imagining your success” to which she said, “you are such Americans.”
And yes, we unwittingly are. But let us embrace our more pessimistic sides. Studies show that when people are optimistic about achieving their desired outcomes, they are far more likely to quit when the going gets tough. They are also more likely to quit when the going gets just fine. Conversely, people who imagine their failure, or are primed for it, are more likely to persevere in the face of adversity, as well as in the face of success and just okayness.