Review: What the… Feminist!? – Ana Hine

Show: What The…Feminist?!

Venue: theSpace on the Mile

Star Rating: ***

Reviewer: Ana Hine

You know when you discover other feminists for the first time – often at a university society meeting as a wide-eyed undergraduate – and you just want to tell everyone about this life-changing socio-political philosophy? Yeah? Well then What the… Feminist?! should have you cringing in your seat for the naïve fresher you once were.

It’s not that there’s anything incorrect about what the young women (and one man) of Bits’n’Bobs Theatre Company are saying, it’s just that they don’t seem to have actually had many of the experiences they talk about. It all feels very much like a frantic conversation in a ‘right-on’ Facebook group, with a section about cat-calling followed by one about men being denied custody of their children, followed by a scene about how your ideal lipstick colour is apparently the colour of your labia.

Some subjects worked better than others. I believed them when they complained about getting their periods for the first time. And some of the performers clearly had talent, with vocal ranges and rapping skills that made you sit up and pay attention.

Overall though, it just wasn’t saying anything that an educated and engaged audience hadn’t heard before. And one aspect that annoyed me a little was an underlying joke about the only male member of the troop having to pretend to be a stereotypical straight man, when he was ‘really’ gay. It just fell flat for me. I thought we were past that sort of thing.

As an example of the current intersectional feminism online climate, at least amongst the more privileged among us, What The… Feminist?! has some value. If you’re new to the idea of gender equality, particularly if your girlfriend’s a self-identifying feminist and you want to know what it’s all about, you could do a lot worse than this.

© Ana Hine

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