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Feminism Gone Mad in Caryl Churchill's Top Girls

  • Date Submitted: 10/30/2013 01:02 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.9 
  • Words: 1953
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Feminism Gone Mad in Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls

In Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, we are shown a world of Post-Feminism and Thatcherism gone mad. Women speak over each other in dialogue, not really listening to what the other is saying, use vulgar language, and one character leaves her child in the care of her sister so that she may advance in her career. Churchill’s lead character in the play is paradoxically a female misogynist who takes on a stereotypically male business persona who climbs to the top of the corporate ladder. Churchill also offers an interesting take on female pageantry, Post-Feminism of the 1980s, the “New Wave” of Feminism, and English feminism and capitalism under Margaret Thatcher’s rule, as well as family values and the ease and ability to climb the corporate ladder with a child.
The main character of Top Girls, Marlene, often comes across as a highly unlikeable character. Throughout the play, Marlene’s discourse with the rest of characters (an all-female cast) is seen as dismissive and bullying. The play begins with a restaurant scene in which Marlene is celebrating her newest promotion at the Top Girls Employment Agency in London. At her celebratory dinner, Marlene is joined by various ghosts of women from different points in time who have all had their own personal glories and achievements which have made them “Top Girls,” however, after an initial celebratory toast, the characters then begin to reveal their own stories of suffering and loss along with their successes. “Isabella’s travels prevented her from forming close relationships; Gret lost children to a murderous invading army; Griselda, a peasant taken in marriage by a marquis, was forced to prove her loyalty to him by giving up her children and renouncing all the privileges of her position. The entire celebration has been undercut by an irony - all these women, however successful, have based their lives on imitation of and obedience to masculine authority.   Their apparent...

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