Can You Tell Me How to Get, How to Get to Sexame Street: Final Project
What’s love got to do with it?
That was the question posed on the syllabus of our class. I explore what love has to do with it all in my play, “Sexame Street.” “Sexame Street” looks at how love is often presented – sanitized, middle-class, narrow in its acceptance –and how love (even revolutionary love) can break or make a stereotype.
I look at stereotypes based on gender, especially the stereotypical Barbie-like female: Pink-loving, frighteningly thin, and somewhat narrow-minded in her liberality. I base the narrow liberalness of Barbie women off a 2008 article I read, in which Tyra Banks (media personality and actress) grilled Republican Mike Huckabee about his willingness to accept “the gay vote.” She told him she was asking him these questions because “I love the gays and the gays love me.” I found that sentence abhorrent, narrow-minded, and exclusionary – as if gay people are only good for Tyra to use as a political issue. The way she referred to gay people as “the gays” nettled me, too; imagine someone saying, “I love the blacks,” or “I love the Asians”!
But by using Barbie to defy the very stereotypical behavior that I bash above, I try to understand how stereotypes can harm us – and to also remember that being stereotypical is not necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, as symbolized by Barbie’s tragic suicide at the end of the skit, I posit that acceptance of people who conform to stereotypes (whether because they want to fit in, or because the stereotype genuinely sketches how they prefer to act) has not yet gone “mainstream.” We still often live with the anti-Foucaultdian ideals of the repressive hypothesis: We believe that the only way to conquer Big Brother is to defy his strictures. We never realize that Big Brother is really within us; we create our own rules, and we also create the ways to rebel against them. Barbie knew this, Barbie told us this, but even those who defy stereotypes just by being (e.g., Curious George, Ada and Eve) did not hear her, for they were content to watch her jump.
You can read my Sexame Street project, too.