How much really has changed since then?

When I read this article from The Sydney Morning Herald, I couldn’t help but notice how even today we put girls into this picture perfect mold. As the article points out, before girls even reach middle school, they are focused with their physical appearance and are praised every day for it. So it begs the question, how much have we changed since A Doll’s House? We still value beauty and fitting into this mold more than we appreciate intelligent women who can think for themselves. Bloom even says, “What’s missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.” It’s also scary to see that university educated women would rather be attractive than intelligent.

We also discussed in our last class, Theresa Rebeck’s quote in Zinman’s article, “50 ways to leave your Torvald”, about how reality television shows depict beautiful women who strive to be for a rich husband who can take care of them and let them spend all their money. She also acknowledges that, “it’s not necessarily a societal structure now, but it retains power as a cultural fantasy.” I thought this was interesting and it lead me to look into the “Real Housewives of…” series. This show has been running for 22 seasons in 7 different locations. There are even 4 international seasons in the works (Israel, Athens, Vancouver and Brazil). This fantasy of great wealth and allowing the woman to lead a futile life, while she aimlessly spends away her husband’s fortune made the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” the number 1 television show in it’s time slot amongst 19-49 year old viewers.  So even if this lifestyle isn’t as common now as it seems it was in A Doll’s House, people seem to continue to idolize it and with shows like “Millionaire Matchmaker” and “Most Eligible…” they try to make this fantasy, a reality.

After examining these two articles, I really see the need for this production now and hope it can raise some questions for women about where they fit into society and how they wish to be perceived in the future.


  • Michael Oliver says:

    I wander how much we as participants in this project and as participants in this society need to learn how to be first and foremost human beings. We are all engaged, whether we like it or not, with the same society whose dominant values teach us to be more concerned about our expected roles than our fundamental well being. I can’t imagine that any of us is not affected by the expectations, rules and roles found in the world we live. I think one of the first steps we could take in unpacking the gender issues raised in this play is to look inside ourselves and honestly ask how far we think we, as individuals, have come since the days of Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’? How liberated are we from these societal norms.
    I know for myself that it is a constant battle to retain a sense of my essential and primary humanity. There are plenty of times that I give into expectation and act not according to my own will but according to some other, external and imposed will. I wander how much this play will help me, as an actor, to better re-affirm my essential humanity. And hence, I also wander how this play shall effect the the cast as whole in this regard.

  • says:

    I agree with Michael, and especially after reading the Templeton article, that the play isn’t only important for women in today’s society–it applies to everyone. The reason I immediately loved Nora as a lead character, is because she doesn’t just speak to a woman’s role in society. At the end of the play she really tries to challenge Torvald to open his eyes WITH her and to see the lie they’ve been living TOGETHER. She wants him to understand, just as she has understood, the trap that they’ve set up for themselves. I, personally, love Nora because she is a rare representation of a female “everyman.” The message of the play is just as strong for women and men alike.