The delightful audience at our BroadFish presentation!
by Melissa D’Agostino
Hello lovely folks!
Last Saturday we presented our work-in-progress, BroadFish, to a wonderfully warm house at the Studio Theatre at Harbourfront Centre as part of #HatchTO. It was a wonderful evening of performing this theatrical piece in its current incarnation, and receiving some insightful and interesting feedback from the audience. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it all went down!
Making theatre is a fascinating process. When my team and I went into the theatre Monday morning, we had very little in the way of a clear script, or a solid idea of what BroadFish is or isn’t. We asked a lot of questions. We answered some, and left others for another time, the next phase of development.
I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work with Hatch on this project. For the first few days of the week, I was in my usual headspace: we have to make a show. We have to have answers to all of our questions. We have to be perfect.
The set coming together. The light sabre photo did not make it into our final presentation, sadly. 🙂
This attitude, of course, did not serve the true exploration of the piece. And so, luckily, through the encouragement and pragmatism of my wonderful creative team, and everyone at Harbourfront Centre, I was able to let go of that by Wednesday, and just dive into the unknown. Let things be imperfect. And let beautiful gifts emerge from the ‘not knowing’.
Over the past few days I’ve realized what a metaphor this is for life, and more specifically, for weddings.
A lot of pressure gets put on that one day. The big day. The Wedding Day. This makes sense, since a wedding can often involve large groups of people, big sums of money, and huge emotions. A lot seems to be at stake.
All that said, the times that my fiancé and I, or my family and I have been able to just let go of our expectations and give ourselves permission to not know and not be perfect have been some of the most satisfying moments in this process.
Fabulous choreography, Monica Dottor, teaching me the tango that opened the show.
As it turns out, what happened between my Dad and I after that post became the closing monologue and an integral part of our presentation of BroadFish. And my Father was in the audience on Saturday, April 19th, and so, got to hear me talk about it. Which meant the world to me.
To close this chapter of #HatchTO, and as we move forward into the next stages of #BroadFish, I include the final part of that speech here for you. Thank-you for following our journey. Your comments, likes, retweets, insights and perspectives helped the piece so much. And I am bolstered and inspired by your courage, honesty and humour.
My Dad, my big Sister and wee me on Christmas Morning circa 1982.
Here’s what happened between me and my Father:
“I went to my parents’ house a few weeks ago to choose a song with him, and practice dancing. I was really nervous about it. I always feel very protective of my Dad and his sensitivity. I want him to know it’s okay to feel so much around me. Because I’m feeling so much too.
We listened to some songs, and settled on this Johnny Cash cover of In My Life by the Beatles (that song plays). We danced a bit in the kitchen, and it seemed to all go okay. But, if I’m being honest, he didn’t seem thrilled.
I debated whether or not to mention it. I’m always worried about making other people happy. An eternal pleaser. Was this a time to push?
I decided yes, I should make sure this is right for him. I asked him if he really liked this song? Is he happy with this for our moment?
He said yes. But I knew he wasn’t.
So we just sat there for about a minute. In silence. Together. We just let our desires float up to the surface and hover.
And then he, very quietly, said: “I guess we can’t do a tango, eh?”
And every fear bubbled up inside of me. What if we try this and he can’t? How much will that hurt and disappoint him? How much will that hurt and disappoint me? Can we actually face this situation with open hearts and take the risk that this might not work? And risk the pain that comes with that?
I decided, if he was brave enough to suggest it, I was brave enough to endure any pain that came from a discovery that we could not tango.
So we chose a song, and we got up and we started dancing.
And by the universe and everything within it, my sweet Dad who walks with a cane, and has trouble moving his left leg started to lead me in a beautiful tango. And his face – his face lit up like I haven’t seen it light up in so long. It was surprising and joyous and full of love.
And we danced. And our hearts soared.
And even if by the time the wedding gets here, something changes in his body, and we can never dance like that again: we will always have that cloudy Thursday afternoon in my parents’ kitchen when our hearts soared and our feet moved, and the only thing that mattered was that moment.”
Hello out there! Thanks for following along on my journey developing BroadFish for HatchTO.
Creating a new theatrical work is a crazy, roller coaster ride of an experience.
When I began working on BroadFish, many months ago I thought I was making a modern-day folktale or fairy tale. Most of my self-generated work has involved broad (no pun intended) characters based in clown, bouffon and physical theatre forms. I thought I was going to that place again, and that’s how I was approaching the project.
As I began doing research online via Twitter using the hashtag #BridesNeed2Know:
A question I posed to the Twitter-verse about Say Yes to the Dress.
The response I got (in record time) from the Production Company that makes Say Yes to the Dress
And through the incredible response I got to my blog posts on praxistheatre.com, the piece started shifting.
New works are shifty. They take on a life of their own.
In the midst of my research I came across Anita Chakraburtty – a woman in Australia who was planning her wedding without a groom in site.
I became obsessed with her. In a way that was surprising to me. And everyone around me, I think.
I wanted to understand her and why she was making these choices. I wanted to know everything about her. At first, I wasn’t clear on why this was so important to me, and now I believe I might.
And so, BroadFish has actually become about my obsession with Anita, and by extension our obsession with Fairy Tales, and magic, and weddings.
It’s also about how often we mock or attack other people’s decisions to project our fears, avoid our own vulnerability, or justify our own decisions — AND how the internet can facilitate this distancing we do from one another.
In making the show I’ve used almost every social media tool I could think of: Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Voxer, Storify, Google+, Skype, FaceTime… I think I only really avoided Reddit. Because… well… Reddit.
I thank all of you who read these blog posts, responded on Twitter or Facebook or here on WordPress. You have played an integral part of the development process, and will continue to do so as I work on this piece during our residency week, and beyond HATCH.
It would thrill me if you would join us on Saturday, April 19th at 8pm for our one (and only) showing of this stage of the BroadFish project.
I’ve been thinking a lot about traditions and rituals lately.
I watched Disney’s The Little Mermaid last week for the first time in decades as research for my show BroadFish. As the opening sequence began several things occurred to me:
a) The themes in this movie are seriously fucked up (Don’t get me started on Ursula the Sea Witch. Don’t.)
b) Prince Eric constantly looks bewildered: what’s up with that?
c) This was one of the first movies I ever saw in a theatre, and I went with my Father.
As I continued to watch King Triton rage against his daughter’s wishes and use all of his force to ‘protect’ her, including the destruction of her cave of treasured human possessions, it occurred to me how strange it is that my first cinematic experience with my Dad was this very traditional and patriarchic view of Father/Daughter relationships. Because ours is definitely not that.
My Father and I share a lot – we have the same eyes – they droop a bit. We share a name: his name is Francesco (Frank) so they gave me the middle name Francesca as a tribute. And we share a deep appreciation for a cleverly timed one-liner. My Dad is a gentle, lovely, kind soul that will surprise you. One day he was driving me home from dance class and the Fugees’ Killing Me Softly was on the radio. Imagine my surprise when my quiet, introverted Father started singing out ‘One time’…’Two times’ along with Wyclef Jean.
He’s one of a kind.
My Father was never a blustery, over-protective, Alpha-male Dad. I always knew he loved me and wanted the best for me, and he was fairly easygoing about my choices. I always felt that he trusted me. I never felt pressure to be a certain kind of daughter for him.
My Dad, my big Sister and wee me on Christmas Morning circa 1982.
That said, I did always picture him walking me down the aisle, if I ever decided to get married. And I certainly always pictured dancing with him at my wedding. There were traditions I wanted to preserve and those were two of them.
When it came to planning our wedding, Matt and I decided not to get married in a church. This was a challenging decision to make for me. Not because I’m religious — I parted ways with the Catholic Church many years ago for many reasons, and though I remain a spiritual person, I do not follow a particular doctrine, most especially Catholicism. And my fiancé Matt is an Athiest, so getting married in a church seemed like a lie, and I didn’t want to start out this new phase of our relationship with any ritual that wasn’t based in our ideals.
But it was a ritual that had happened in my family as long as I can remember, and I didn’t know how my family would react to it.
I had to really consider what I believed in.
At one point in my decision-making process I asked my Dad if he would be disappointed if he wasn’t walking me down the aisle of a church, but instead walking me down an aisle in a secular location. He didn’t seem to mind, but then there were other elements of this ritual that were on his mind.
My Dad has Multiple Sclerosis. He walks with a cane, and often has trouble with his balance, and one of his legs in particular is very difficult to control. This is a fairly new diagnosis, so his symptoms have progressed rather quickly. I knew when we started talking about him walking me down the aisle that there were many emotions coming up for him. It would never look like what he had pictured when I was growing up, because things are very different for him now.
We always talked about dancing a tango should I ever get married: my Dad was a fantastic dancer, having trained in all the social ballroom dances when he immigrated to Canada. Watching he and my Mother dance at weddings was a real treat. Would he be able to dance now? If he couldn’t, how could we create a special moment between us? How do we not get stuck in the fact that we can’t do this ritual the way we always pictured it, and instead focus on what we can do to celebrate the moment?
Truthfully, I was surprised just how much this affected me emotionally. I’m usually really good at adapting to a situation, and seeing the benefit of a challenge; rising to the occasion. But, it’s been heartbreaking to watch my wonderfully energetic Father lose mobility, and lose some of his effervescent spirit.
I’ve noticed that when we discuss the topic, there is a sadness around it, like we’re sitting in the reality of the past, wishing that we were back at a time when my Dad was able to walk independently and trip the light fantastic. We’re Southern Italian – we like nostalgia, we like drama, and we find it easy to see the bruise on the apple. Take us or leave us!
Very recently, however, I had to make a real choice to fight that urge and see the positives of this situation.
The wonderful thing is that my Dad can share in these rituals. They may not look like the traditional Father/Daughter dance or walk down the aisle. They may not happen in a church. They may be filled with mixed emotions and vulnerability in a way we never anticipated. But they can happen, and that isn’t the case for everyone. I am grateful for what is still possible.
I recently saw these beautiful images of a daughter and her father, who is in a wheelchair and how they made these rituals work.
And I’ve had several friends suggest wonderful ideas, like dancing for a few shorter dances if my Dad’s stamina isn’t great, or dedicating a song to Fathers/Daughters should things progress and make dancing difficult.
The interesting thing about planning an event like a wedding — an event that has so many cultural and societal rituals and expectations, is that it has helped me clarify what is truly important to me, and what is truly important to us as a couple.
The truth is that anything is possible, and that the joy of bringing families together is the creation of new rituals, and the celebration of all that is hopeful and positive about love and family.
And whatever these rituals look like on my wedding day, I know they will feel incredibly special, and full of love.
I’d love to hear about your experiences – @melissadags
Hello again! Thank-you for reading these posts and for all of your wonderful feedback!
Today’s post is about grooms and how they are talked about, categorized and stereotyped in this wild and wacky wedding industry.
It would seem that for every article about princess brides obsessed with bling and opulence, there is an article about how to ‘handle’ your groom. Is he being too strict about the budget? Is he watching football instead of helping with the seating chart? Or has he become the dreaded…duhm duhm duhm…GROOMZILLA!!!
Yes, these are the horrible, shallow and grossly narrow-minded categories for men in the wedding industry. It makes sense that if women are so clearly defined by wedding vendors, men would have to be equally categorized.
Now I know that there are plenty of gentlemen who aren’t into wedding planning — there is some truth to that. But I know very few men who didn’t have SOME involvement in their nuptial plans, even if it was only a couple of areas. I also know women who aren’t really into wedding planning. So, once again we are being given a template for gender roles that exists mainly to sell us products and services.
Side note: part of the reason I stopped auditioning for commercials (and there were several reasons), is that I couldn’t handle the horrible scripts of nagging, irritated wives and their lazy, buffoon husbands. This is not my experience of relationships between men and women. And I resent that ad companies perpetuate these ideals to turn a profit and keep us buying merchandise.
In the case of our wedding, my fiancé, Matt, has been actively and excitedly planning the festivities. It has been a real team effort. And there has been no ‘groomzilla’ in sight.
Having passion for photography did not turn Matt into a Groomzilla, proving the internet wrong.
The one item that he was really particular about was photography. He’s a filmmaker and quality images are important to him, and I respect that. So we compromised to make room for this element in our budget, and agreed to tighten the reigns elsewhere, in areas that were less meaningful for us both. There have been no tantrums, no hissy fits, and no major conflicts. I consider that a positive sign for our marriage. Because the reality of our relationship has nothing to do with gender roles as seen in Wedding Belles Magazine (to name but one).
When Matt and I went to meet vendors, we were greeted with very traditional expectations in terms of our relationship. Many vendors made jokes about me being a ‘bridezilla’ right off the bat, and then very quickly changed their tune if they noticed me addressing the budget and Matt wanting to splurge on an item. Suddenly I was a shrew and Matt was the fun-loving groom. Or sometimes they were taken aback at how clear and vocal Matt was about what he wanted – how present he was. And most of the time people were genuinely surprised at how collaborative we are in our decision making. They were confused that Matt was there and so involved, and that I not only wanted that, I thrived on it.**
**I want to note that we didn’t actually select any of the vendors who treated us this way. All of our vendors are fantastic, and enjoy the dynamic of teamwork in our planning. It wasn’t intentional, but we were so put off by these gender assumptions that we weren’t compelled to work with anyone who didn’t get how we work and respect our dynamic.
The most glaring example of how grooms are viewed in the industry for me was when we attended the WedLuxe Wedding Show. They had a room full of free samples, but according to the information on their site men were not allowed to partake of said free samples. You can check out our adventure here:
Truth be told, most of the samples were geared toward women, and most of the people at the show were brides without their grooms. But it made me consider the marketing of these shows: this focus on females as the sole consumer of wedding merchandise, and the idea of exclusivity, of ‘women only’ that the industry continues to perpetuate. Perhaps if the show wasn’t so geared toward brides, grooms would feel more included in the process. Perhaps it would foster a more collaborative view of weddings, and in turn, of marriages.
Some WedLuxe Swag
Because let’s face it, your wedding is one day — one lovely and loving celebration of your relationship and the commitment you are making to one another. But the marriage exists long after that party is over (hopefully). And what kind of conditioning is happening when the predominate message being put out there is that men are either completely disinterested, there to reign in a woman’s impulsiveness, or control freaks who need to be in charge of everything? I mean: a little nuance, please.
But I guess if I don’t know which of those categories my man fits into, I won’t know which vacuum cleaner to register for. Right?
I often wonder what our society would look like if we didn’t buy into stereotypes about married couples, and disgruntled husbands, and all the rest of it. What would happen if I didn’t believe that I had to get those tough grass stains out of my husband’s shorts because he’s off watching a soccer game with his buds, and I have to do the laundry? Would I still need to buy Tide? Could we break free from these ideas?
Also: I don’t buy Tide. Largely because of their ad campaigns. (And also because of the product itself.)
I’ll leave you with another exciting discovery at the WedLuxe show: WeddingGuard Insurance. Apparently you can get wedding insurance: in case your cake falls, or your limo doesn’t arrive, or your Dad (who is obviously paying for your whole wedding because it’s 1954) loses his job before all the wedding bills are paid. Sigh. One thing leads to another, I suppose.
Have your own experiences around this? I’d love to hear what you think! @melissadags
It’s something I’ve been grappling with since I was a kid – a bit of nature and a whole bunch of nurture. I’ve spent a lot of time tackling, accepting, analyzing, examining and attempting to surrender to this condition, though it often cripples my ability to express myself fully, to enjoy my wonderful life fully and to feel joy fully.
When I reveal this to my friends/family, they are often surprised. I create bold, physical work and spend a lot of my time advocating for positive body image and changes in and around the way we evaluate/punish women in the media for their bodies. I guess it’s surprising that someone who seems so confident in her body would struggle in this way. The truth is, my passion in regards to this issue, and the work I create, come directly from the dysmorphia. It’s how I respond to the voice in my head that deems me worthless because of how I look. And that’s truly what it is: a feeling of worthlessness.
Ironic (or perhaps sadistic?) of me to choose to work in an industry that is frightfully punishing, limiting, and unrealistic bordering on ludicrous when it comes to women’s bodies, and what their bodies represent to the world (this is also happening with men, of course, but it’s still especially damaging with women).
So I exist in a very interesting middle place – loved by so many friends and family members for who I am and what I look like and blessed with a beautifully full and fulfilling life, and caught in an agony about my flesh, my curves, my shape – all exascerbated by an industry that actually does see me as ‘fat’, ‘overweight’ and really quite expendable because of it.
I recently went shopping for a wedding dress and the days leading up to the experience were stressful for my BDD and I. I had many fears. Would the sample sizes be too small? Will I hate everything? Will the size and flabbiness of my arms make me feel like a grotesque female Quasimodo? Yes – this is how extreme these feelings get. But I had to start shopping, since you have to order your dress a lifetime in advance of the day of your wedding, or so the blogs tell me. So off we went: me and Mom.
For the most part, things went well. One store, Ferre Sposa (and yes I’m naming names) had sample sizes that were TINY. I didn’t fit into any of the ones I tried on there. This didn’t happen in other stores. It didn’t make me feel great. Or good. Or in any way excited about my wedding. I name them because I think they should know, and so should you.
I ended up buying my gown at Mrs. Bridal Boutique. They were friendly, low-key and had an exclusive selection of gowns in the style I was looking for.
So I was happy – dress I wanted, in my price range, my Mother was happy, too (miracle!).
Maybe my body issues would stay at bay?
When Kelly, my lovely consultant, took my measurements to order the dress, she mentioned the size I was, and BOOM – trigger city.
Bridal gowns are always made 2 sizes smaller than other gowns so what would usually be a size 10 is a size 14 in bridal, which is maddening. I mean, seriously? Doesn’t that seem topsy turvy? Can none of this be made easier? Why not make them 2 sizes bigger? Help those of us with some psychological minefields out with a bit of vanity sizing for our very special day? Nope.
And the truth is that even as I type this I’m embarrassed. I’m ashamed that I even have these feelings – that I feel insecure about my body in this way. I feel like I’m betraying my gender, or I am being overly sensitive, or I should just get over it. But the feelings happen, and I can’t ignore them, or they get stronger. So…shame party over. Back to the story.
NB: This is NOT my dress. This is actually me during a tech rehearsal for the play Mambo Italiano. But this sums up many of my feelings during the dress buying process.
The most telling moment of my own insecurity was when I asked Kelly: ‘What happens if my body changes between now and my wedding?’ I was convinced that I would lose control: emotionally eat myself into oblivion, and out of that dress.
So Kelly gently let me know that it wasn’t a problem, and that they have plenty of time to make alterations.
And then she took a moment to herself, looked up from putting my dress back on the hanger and said: ‘But I really hope you don’t lose weight; you look so great in this dress and you’re beautiful.’
I was stunned and overwhelmed. Maybe because the dialogue inside my brain was the opposite of that thought, or maybe because I assumed the wedding industry would do everything it could to encourage me to lose weight, be perfect, join some godawful boot camp immediately to cure me from my flabby, hideous imperfections.
Turns out: not really. Well, not ALL of the industry is doing that. Trust me: a lot of it does. Almost every blog, magazine, wedding show, thread, you name it – they will tell you how to tone your arms, lose the flab, slim down, bulk up, all of it. I’m sure they could tell you how to grow a limb, if you wanted to.
This experience made me reflect that maybe part of the reason I play the characters I do, and part of the reason my latest project, BroadFish, deals with transformation is because what I’m really wrestling with is what being in my very own skin and body is like.
What do I call myself? How do I see myself? What is it to be a bride? To be larger than life? To be healthy? To sit comfortably in my skin?
I’m not sure I know any concrete answers yet. What I know is that being able to create art, to express myself and to make work that can open a dialogue around these issues is a blessing that has saved me from living my life in one, long, joyless panic attack.
And for that, I am grateful.
Experience any of the same things? Let me know what you think! @melissadags
Hello again! And welcome back to BroadFish Blogging.
As I often do, I am creating a show that parallels the events in my life. So I’m writing a story about a woman who plans a wedding before finding her groom and I’m in the midst of planning my very own wedding*
*Don’t worry – I have the groom. 🙂
Here’s the thing: I was always a bit of a Judgemental Judy around weddings.
A lot of the marriages I witnessed growing up were not happy and seemed to involve sacrifice as opposed to compromise, which led to a great deal of resentment in both husband and wife.
I worked as a cater waiter for large events, and witnessed horrible things like full plates of food being thrown away, and mean shouting matches on wedding days between warring family members.
I was also raised as an Italian Catholic – so marriage was wrapped up in patriarchal ideas about ownership, property and old-fashioned gender roles. And that’s not my jam.
As a gal who was determined to have a career and a life of adventure, I made the assumption that marriage wouldn’t be a part of my future. And I was totally okay with that.
So it was pretty easy to be cynical about people and their weddings.
And then I met my fiancé, Matt, online on OKCupid. Online dating. It works. Who knew?
As we grew to love one another deeply, I realized that I had found in him a partner that not only supported my career ambitions and my desire for a life of creativity and art, but also one who was pursuing the very same goals and whose presence in my life elevated it and made it fuller, and brighter.
And it caught me completely off guard, because I 100% wanted to marry this glorious human being. I wanted to live the rest of my days with him in my corner and at my side. No question. Surprise! I’m going to get married!
So we started to plan a wedding. And it seriously made me examine everything in my life: my relationship to the cosmos, my feelings around money, and my identification as a feminist. Yep. There it is. The F word. Still with me?
I absolutely consider myself a feminist. A proud feminist. And I’m proud to be marrying a feminist. My fiancé Matt is an advocate for human rights, and equality. It’s great.
When we started to plan our wedding, I went through a very interesting internal struggle. The judgemental part of me wanted to slough off the giddy joy I’d feel when we’d plan the littlest detail. I didn’t want to tell most of my friends that we had an engagement shoot, even though I had a blast doing one. And I felt embarrassed sometimes when I talked about my plans with certain people who didn’t see me as a ‘bride’ or ‘someone who bought into all of that’.
Matt and I in the engagement shoot I’ve been slightly embarrassed to discuss. But no more! Photograph by the fabulous Gillian Williamson at Ikonica
The truth: I was really happy planning a celebration that would solidify my wondrous partnership.
So why all this shame? A few reasons, I think.
I do a lot of satire and comedy, and I’m a university educated artist, mentor and an advocate for women’s rights. Because of this, I somehow felt that I should downplay my girlish excitement. That it was foolish. I feared I had become some sort of Bridezilla-esque beast infected with the frivolity of fairy tales.
And then I read several articles full of judgement, like this one and it made me really angry:
Now let me say this: the wedding industry is full of all kinds of cons. Short cons. Long cons. Hideous, tulle-covered cons. But buying a beautiful dress for your wedding day doesn’t mean you’ve ‘bought in’ to something. Necessarily. And people are welcome to spend as much money on a wedding day as they’d like. Who the fuck is anyone else to criticize? But they do. A lot.
And my biggest beef with that article I posted above is that despite the author’s efforts to make the post a criticism of the industry, or an indictment of reality television (which I can totally go along with), she inevitably makes it about forcing her own judgments around how much money is too much money to spend, or that weddings in general are distractions from other pursuits for women. I think this is a slippery slope. Is there truth in some of what she says? Sure. Is there also an absurd amount of judgment around women’s personal choices? You bet.
Aren’t we supposed to support one another’s personal choices? Or, if not support, not completely invalidate one another’s personal choices?
Yes weddings can be steeped in old-fashioned ideas and gender roles. And yes, it can be damaging if women only see themselves within the context of relationships to the men in their lives. And there is still, most definitely, far more emphasis on being a ‘princess’ than being any other kind of woman. But isn’t denigrating women for wanting traditionally labeled ‘feminine’ experiences just as damaging? There’s challenging the patriarchy, and then there’s creating a new stifling system where we as women dismiss our own gender through rigidity and criticism. Can we be feminists and want poofy dresses? I think we can.
When I was growing up, feminism was about equality. At least for me. It was about choices. Birth control, abortion rights, equal pay – it was about being in charge of my own choices, and wanting the same thing for other women. Other people. Period.
I know it’s more nuanced than that. Patriarchy, privilege, power systems. I know.
But at the base of it all: could we avoid perpetuating the idea that you’re either an intellectual or you’re a princess? Could we be more than that? Could we be queens and rule over our own bodies, our own minds and our own choices? And honour other queens, whether they get married or don’t, have babies or don’t, wear dresses or don’t? Can we be critical and still be able to celebrate? Still love beautiful things? Still like the idea of being someone’s wife?
I think there should be more women in political power, that we MUST protect pro-choice laws, and that the key to a more progressive world lies in the liberation of women from outmoded ideals/systems, AND I also absolutely love planning my wedding with Matt. I am both of these. At the same time. Plus a whole bunch of other things. BAM.
What I’m witnessing is that as I allow room for love, joy, femininity, and companionship in my life I am able to allow room for others to experience these things in the way they see fit. And that is heartening.
I am ever so excited to be developing my piece, BroadFish through Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH Program. Over the next few weeks I will be documenting my journey, and giving you tidbits of creation, of inspiration and of information as I continue to build this solo adventure into the world of weddings, fairy tales, gender roles and relationships.
For my first post I thought I’d shed some insight on the show’s title.
It’s a little exercise in word play:
Broad is the derogatory term historically used to describe women (more on that in a sec)
Fish points to the idea of metamorphosis, and the allure of creatures like mermaids, and centaurs, but we’ll get to centaurs at a later date. My love for Centaurs needs its own post.
And finally, the Broad Fish is the largest human tapeworm and is transmitted to humans through the consumption of said fish. That’s right. The show gonna get messy. You’ll want to be there.
Now, in doing some research on these terms for this blog, I consulted several sources. And, being as thorough as possible, I meandered over to the gem of the Interweb: Urban Dictionary. How were modern-day folk defining the term ‘broad’, I wondered…
Here are some of my favourite definitions from that hub of information.
Or don’t and instead understand my shock, horror and alarm.
Things began respectfully and educationally:
Then they got a bit colourful thanks, in part, to a Bette Midler quote.
Then someone decided to clarify…graphically*
*Much to my chagrin.
I sure am glad someone clarified for me the whole slut versus broad issue. Phew. That could have been awkward in future, horrific conversations.
Then things got succinct and culinary.
Incoherent when used in a sentence.
Still about meat of some kind.
I have yet to uncover the definition of Sausage in this context, but I’ll keep you posted.
And then, decidedly Vile.
Honestly, I’m pretty sure the definitions were far LESS offensive at the turn of the 20th century when most of us women-folk weren’t even allowed to vote. Oh Internet: I should never take the first click down the awful rabbit hole of bad spelling, incoherent sentences and hateful speech. But I do. I always do.
I am continually puzzled at the gender politics of the world today, and most especially at how these politics play out on the Internet. There is often an undercurrent of misogyny in many threads, posts and articles, and certainly in a lot of video content, and it’s perpetuated by both genders. I say that I am puzzled, but sadly I’m rarely surprised. One simple search for the definition of, what I thought to be, a bygone word used to berate women turned up some truly nasty modern definitions.
Are we moving backward? Has the anonymity of the Internet made it easier to use horrible words against one another and define ourselves in narrow terms? Or are we able to keep a broad perspective? See what I did there?
“After the years and years of weaker and waterier imitations, we now find ourselves rejecting the very notion of a holy stage. It is not the fault of the holy that it has become a middle-class weapon to keep the children good.”