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Title: Women's bodies in dramatic confrontations with patriarchal logic : the representation of violence against the female body in contemporary drama by women
Authors: Ahmad, Ebtehal A.
Issue Date: 2003
Description: In this study, I examine the dramatization of violence against the female body in contemporary drama by women and the purpose behind their representational approaches. I concentrate on the representation of three types that I consider inclusive of other minor forms of violence: the political, the medical, and the social violations of the female body. In chapter one, I study the dramatic representation of political violence against women as their bodies become ideological expressions of their lands. This chapter analyzes Suzan-Lori Parks' Venus and Naomi Wallace's In the Heart of America. These dramas represent the violation of women's bodies to parallel the violation and rape of their lands that are effeminized by their subjugation to the dominant powers of the world. In chapter two, I examine the representation of medical violence against women's bodies as connoting the lower status of the female body within patriarchy. The dramas of this chapter, Louise Page's Tissue and Margaret Edson's Wit, illustrate how the female body is dehumanized and devalued by a patriarchal medical practice that fails to recognize the distinctive physical and mental needs of women. Finally, in chapter three, I discuss the dramatic representation of social violence as the most inclusive form of aggression against women. The plays of this chapter, Caryl Churchill's Vinegar Tom and Maria Irene Fornes' The Conduct of Life, emphasize the masculine fear of and intimidation by the female body's sexuality and productivity, which instigates all types of physical violence against women within the social context. In the conclusion, I discuss Eve Ansler's The Vagina Monologues as a piece of performance art that instigates an active type of opposition against women's subjugations and violations. The activism of this type of drama and its effectiveness in enforcing change upon women's lives makes it an excellent extension to the type of ideas and notions brought about in this dissertation.
Appears in Collections:Doctoral Dissertations

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