Caryl Churchill has commented that Top Girls grew from two particular initial ideas: that of women from the past appearing to and speaking with present-day women, and the idea of the variety of jobs that women fill, both in the economy and in culture. Though her work is strongly influenced by Churchill’s feminism—she wrote Vinegar Tom (1976) in collaboration with a feminist theater group—the scenarios she presents here open up the question of what feminism is for different women, how they define the concept not only in theory but also through their actions and choices.
The solidarity of women becomes both a theme and a problem. The historical figures of the dinner party in act 1 can be seen as a context for Marlene’s success, a tradition of women who took risks and made their presences felt. Yet each is also presented as isolated in her historical moment, unsupported by a larger society of women and actively discouraged or attacked by men or institutions created by men. Similarly, in the ensuing modern scenes, Marlene and the other Top Girls are shown to have paid high prices in the attempt to succeed in a “man’s world” not established with their ascent or their needs in mind.
Perhaps gender equity has improved if a woman such as Marlene can rise into management or Margaret Thatcher can be named prime minister; these advances form the basis for Marlene’s claim that women do not need a movement or feminist...
(The entire section is 717 words.)
Show us the love and view this for free! Use the facebook like button, or any other share button on this page, and get this content free!free!
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Top Girls Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!