When considering mother characters in musical theatre through a feminist lens, how does maternity relate to status and power?

Buttery, Jessica Jaye (2015) When considering mother characters in musical theatre through a feminist lens, how does maternity relate to status and power? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation examines the writing of musical theatre mothers, assessing to what extent these characters manipulate their motherhood to gain status and power, demonstrating feminist movements of twentieth century America. Moving in the twenty-first century this dissertation also acknowledges the affect that musical theatre might have on contemporary audiences when looking back at past feminist movements. Beginning with Gypsy(l959) and then looking at Chicago (1975) this dissertation first looks at 1920s feminism that finds freedom for women both economically and sexually, and how these musicals relate the 1920s to feminist movements within the 1950s and the 1970s. When looking at Gypsy the focus is on how Mama Rose treats her role of mother as a job, questioning to what extent Rose stunts her daughter's growth through being economically feminist. Chapter two considers Diana Fuss' Strategic Essentialism, establishing a link between Fuss' theories and the way in which Roxie Hart performs a pregnancy to gain freedom from imprisonment. The third chapter of this dissertation looks at The Light in the Piazza (2005) and In the Heights (2008) comparing the mother characters in these two musicals to Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. Taking Friedan's approaches of mothering and applying them to these two musicals, I assess to what extent these mother characters are postfeminist, becoming the feminist women that Friedan's book calls for. Data for this dissertation has been sourced from books journal articles and video footage. In comparing these musical mother characters this dissertation aims to show how the writing of musical theatre mothers reflects on feminist movements, proving that each of these characters manipulate their motherhood to gain status and power, proving inherently feminist.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2017 13:58
    Last Modified: 08 Feb 2017 13:58
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/22779

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