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Posted on September 3rd, 2012, by

The second half of the 20th century was marked by the emergence of feminist playwrights which affected consistently the development of drama and theatre in the second half of the century. At the same time, feminist playwrights had their own aims, different from traditional playwrights, which paid little attention to feminist problems. As the matter of fact, the actualization of feminist problems and the position of women in the American society was one of the major goals of feminist playwrights in the second half of the 20th century. In such a way, the development of feminist playwrights marked the emergence of the feminist movement and, what is more important, feminist playwrights accelerated the development of feminism and contributed to the consistent improvement of the position of women in American society.

On analyzing the development of feminist playwrights in the second half of the 20th century, it is possible to distinguish the general trend that can be traced throughout the works of different feminist playwrights in the course of time. To put it more precisely, the post-war feminist playwrights emerged as a response to the consistent change in the position of women in the society. In fact, post-war feminist playwrights mirrored the new role of women, which could be equal to men because women had experienced the life, when they could count for themselves mainly, while men took part in the war. As a result, women grew conscious of their ability to live autonomously and independently of men. The latter stimulated the rise of the feminist movement which was mirrored in feminist playwrights which promoted the idea of female’s autonomy and equality compared to men.

At the same time, the development of the feminist movement in the post-war years was predominantly focused on the struggle of women for equal rights and on the break of cultural stereotypes concerning gender roles and position of women in the society. In this regard the struggle for equal rights peaked in the 1960s, when the Civil rights movement accelerated the feminist movement and inspired many feminist playwrights. In this regard, it is worth mentioning Irene Maria Fornes, whose early avant-garde plays, such as “Tango Palace”¯ (1964) and musical “Promenade”¯ (1965) brought the playwright the public approval and recognition of many critics (Innes, 1994, 135). In addition, it is worth mentioning works written by Terry and Jo Ann Shmidman, who supported the idea of equality of rights of women and men and showed the unbearable position of women in the society. Cary Churchill was another prominent author who started the work in the 1960s stimulating the rise of feminist movement. At the same time, the main character of playwrights was a woman, who stood for her rights and larger opportunities in her life.

However, the shift toward the struggle of feminist playwrights for equal opportunities was a characteristics of the 1980s ”“ 1990s. After the success of the feminist movement and feminist playwrights in the 1960s ”“ 1970s, which brought larger rights and legal equality of men and women, the late 20th century became the period of the struggle of feminists and feminist playwrights for equal opportunities. In this respect, it is worth mentioning works of such authors as Marsha Norman and her works, such as “Night, Mother”¯ (1983), or Paula Vogel, and Wendy Wasserstein, who wrote about the role of women and who stressed the importance of equal opportunities of men and women.

Thus, the feminist playwrights in the second half of the 20th century marked tremendous success of the feminist movement and they were characterized by the focus on the role of women in society and struggle for equal rights and opportunities of women in society.

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