Welp, internet. I’ve hit my limit. It’s finally happened.
After five years running The Craptacular, and more years loving theater than I can accurately tally, I just cannot take another minute of Broadway’s sexist, misogynistic bullshit and stay silent. Just cannot be done.
Because guess what? Women make up close to 70% of your audience. Theater as a commercial enterprise literally doesn’t exist without women. And yet, every time I turn around, it seems like Broadway is going out of it’s way to make us feel unwelcome. To tell us we’re worthy of little more than the opportunity to fork over our hard-earned cash to buy your tickets.
Sometimes you’re just mounting generally sexist musicals, like Wonderland and Bullets Over Broadway (and, I hear, Honeymoon in Vegas). Other times charmers like John Why-the-Fuck-Are-You-Still-Writing Simon go about insulting little girl’s looks for kicks (turns out Little Red just wasn’t little and lithe enough for that dirty old man), while lovely gentlemen like Michael Riedel publish lovely little bon mots like this one:
Female empowerment is fine for daytime television, but it’s flesh-crawling in a musical.
Still other times it gets even worse, and producers and casting directors hire men who are confessed sex offenders — with a penchant for teenage girls — to take leading roles on Broadway without batting an eye.
And I’m supposed to keep giving you my money?
More and more I wish I could say ‘fuck no.’ Because honestly. Sometimes I don’t understand why I’m even here. Why I keep coming back for more in a space that is openly hostile to me just because I was born with a vagina and, 32-some-odd-years later, I continue to identify as a woman.
And worse, I don’t know how to change it. Other than this. Then calling it out.
Because I’m tired of being silent about it.
Tired of watching people like James Barbour sexually abuse little girls and then get high profile Broadway gigs. Tired of sitting back while men publish sexist shit in some of the most circulated papers in the country — and the world — and get applauded for being so hilariously witty and contrarian and whatever the fuck else you fuckers think Michael Riedel is. Tired of being told to brush it off, like I’m being oversensitive, when if you swapped the word “gay” in there for “female,” there’d be uproar. Tired of reading articles in the New York Times where men speculate about why women aren’t coming to the shows they’ve mounted — without a single woman in a prominent place on the creative or production teams — without bothering to interview them for the aforementioned articles they are writing. Tired of sitting down in my seat at the theater only to hear Frank Wildhorn’s show tell me that it’s the woman’s fault her marriage fell apart because she emasculated her poor unemployed husband when she got a job to support her family (Wonderland). Or turning on my television to watch a supposedly satirical musical refer to women as ‘frigid’ and ‘bitches’ without any aim of actually subverting those stereotypes for productive commentary (Galavant).
I’m tired of keeping your fucking shows afloat with my hard earned money — even when they dismiss me, or don’t tell my stories, or demean me — while you laugh all the way to the bank without promoting women in the ranks around you, Mssrs. Producers/Theater Owners/Artistic Directors. I’m tired of buying your papers and valuing your opinions on theater when you couldn’t find a single fucking female to talk to in an article where you talk about women seeing theater, or a single fucking female to edit your writers so they don’t say disgusting misogynistic bullshit in their columns.
So I’m just gonna keep on talking about it. I’m gonna be that girl. And I know already that it’s going to be annoying and exhausting. It’s a banner I’m really not in the mood to bear. But clearly no one else is going to do it. So I’ll be here just making noise. Maybe someday someone will hear me.
I bet the comments section on this post is going to be a bastion of really intelligent conversation, too. Can’t wait for that, either.