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Measure for Measure Debate #1 Response

Don’t think the patriarchy still exists?

Throughout we're raising awareness of some the urgent and shockingly modern themes this 400 year old play deals with. Every week there'll be a new topic of debate, starting with public poll.

Our first debate is taken from the central dilemma of Shakespeare's play. We asked proposed two statement and asked people to respond:

A nun refuses to yield up her virginity to save her brother’s life. Should he
A - ‘Do it’ – a life is at stake
B - Stick to her principles
C - Other – pls reply

A priest refuses to yield up his virginity to save his brother’s life. Should he
A - ‘Man up’ – a life is at stake
B - Stick to his principles
C - Other – pls reply

Our Co-Founder Sarah responds:

A Nun must yield her virginity to save her brother’s life, should she do it? 60% of respondents to our survey said she should do it. Put a priest in the same position and only 30% of you thought he should do it...

The same situation. Different genders. Different results.

Interesting that in 2019, gender is still viewed so differently, that women’s agency over their own bodies is still considered less important than a man’s.

Don’t think the patriarchy still exists? Clearly the above results combined with the fact that there is still a societal expectation on women to protect themselves from sexual harassment and assault (dress sensibly; don’t walk home on your own in the dark; if you’re drunk and alone you’re 'asking for it') rather than the expectation being placed on men not to perpetrate this behaviour.

It feels like there is a belief that women’s bodies are public property but that men’s aren’t. Do the results mean that people believe it is prudish for a woman to stick to her principles but honourable for a man to do so?

Once out with an ex-boyfriend, a man approached my boyfriend and said “Your wife is really beautiful mate”. I, the, object of this supposed compliment, was not worthy of being told directly, moreover the congratulations were due to the boyfriend, for “catching” me. I was chattel in that moment. An object. Property. Would that situation have happened in the reverse? I doubt it.

It feels ever more vital to not only be staging Measure for Measure but also to be exploring it through two different versions. By gender swapping and playing the same play twice we throw up questions of how we view gender, we question our own prejudices as well as society's, and we get to step into someone else's shoes and see the world from a different view point, just for a moment.

Watch the trailer and read more 

Next debate starts on Twitter on Wednesday 16 Feb

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