The "Slut" and the "Mistress": Gender and Ethnic Stereotypes in Immigrant Representations in Drama

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This paper will propose a looking-glass that reflects the way female drama roles, whose attributes and characterizations portray them as marginalized immigrants, are represented in a mainstream repertory theater. The two model plays in plays that are analyzed, were written, and written about, as claiming to criticize double standards regarding the acceptance and assimilation of the "welcomed and wished- for" immigrants. The Plays are "An Immigrant Comes and Goes" by Joseph Mundi (1992), a satire, and "Uri-Muri" by Ytzhak Ben Ner (1998), a Melodrama. In the first we meet Immigrants from Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union, and in the other from Ethiopia. Reading these Plays from the perspective of feminist critic, reveals the representation of the central female characters to be suffering from a doubly-stereotyped characterization. They are stigmatized both as "women-stereotypes" and as "unwelcome-immigrant stereotypes". The question is whether contrary to the playwrights' attempt, or professed purpose, to criticize state institutes and hegemonic society, they unintentionally unveil the inherent easy stereotyping, within the male playwrights "transparent" or "unconscious" world-view and gender-bias when it comes to female representations. This paper is based on a wider study (2005) that examined the texts of original plays, Israeli drama, in a major repertory theatre: FROM WHORE TO AMAZONE - AND OTHER REPRESENTATIONS IN BETWEEN: Representations of Female Characters and Gender Issues in Israeli Drama: Two Decades in the Cameri Theatre (1982-2001).

The theoretic fields underlying this study are feminist critical theories and studies about the inter-relations of sociology and theatre.

Keywords: Drama and Feminist Critic, Female Representation in Drama, Female Immigrant Representation
Stream: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: The “Slut” and the “Mistress”, Gender and Ethnic Stereotypes

Dr. Ester Levanon-Mordoch

Lecturer, Humanistics Dept
Drama and Arts and Literature Section, Kibutzim College of Education ;  Oranim Academic College of Educatin

Kibbutz Gazit, Israel, Israel

DR. Ester Levanon-Mordoch (1947-. I am a member of Kibutz Gazit, in Israel.
By profession I am a lecturer of Literature, Theatre, Feminism and Gender Studies at two Teacher Colleges. I majored, in Tel Aviv University, in Literature and Theatre. At my M.A. Studies I concentrated on Poetry in General, and on Israeli modern poetics specifically. But my Phd reasearch , after "diving" deeply into gender studies, feminist criticism and education towards gender equality, was devoted to looking into the repertoire of mainstream theatre from the perspective of Feminist Critic. Besides my academic work I am also involved in public and political activities: I participate in peace movements for further peaceful solutions of the regional conflict. I am member of educational forum for the advancement of education towards gender equal opportunities, and Vice-Chair of IWN- Israeli Women Network. Recently I ended a double term as SIW (SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL WOMEN) Vice-President, and still serve as an Israeli representative to the organiztion.

Ref: I08P0575