Why is it important that the majority of the team, onstage and off, on Boys Will Be Boys is female?
Whilst this play explores a number of different themes and thoughts, (from finance and the City, to prostitution, relationships and winning) it is ultimately about gender: "How do you get into boy’s world when you’ve got a vagina?” There is, it is proposed in rehearsals, a fascination with women’s sexuality. We discuss how women are still often divided into two categories: the Virgin Mary or the sinning Eve. We idolise a woman’s beauty, their figure and their being. But if they make a mistake then they brought it on themselves, they are reckless and they should have known better: “Ooh, we love damaged women don’t we?”
We want women to be supremely feminine, in a form of femininity that’s set out from a young age. When you were a little girl did you dream of weddings and making houses? It abounds in the films, books and TV we love: princesses saved by princes; Mr Right turning up just in time for the wedding; nuclear families with perfect kids. Neither Astrid or Priya fit into this box – they’re not ones for plaiting hair and playing house, for discussing why he didn’t call – but some may argue that in eschewing that particular feminine route they create their own undoing. Their choices, their actions, their desire to play in the boys world leads to their down fall.
At the end of every run-through there is a feeling of anger and of emptiness– like I, and the women around me, are punching a brick wall. Because sometimes it feels like you’re shouting and not being heard. Because the events in this play happen all the time and we still don’t confront them. Because whilst there have been major shifts in gender equality, it is still a live and pressing issue. Because whilst we’re not saying that men are in anyway intrinsically abusive as a gender, this is a play that highlights how easy it is (for all genders) to accept sexism. It’s something that, as women, we have all encountered: there is always something extra we have to prove, have to fight for, need to work a little harder at, because “they never ever forget you’ve got a vagina.”
As liberal, intelligent women, we want to change this, we want to speak out and with this show we do. It’s one more step forward amongst many (see: The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard, Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, I Love Dick by Chris Kraus, to name a few). So how long till we make a real difference?