What is significant about the portrayal of women in For Colored Girls...?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf is a "choreopoem" by Ntozake Shange, developed as an experimental play performed entirely by women in poetry and dance.

Shange based her work on her own life experiences, and develops the theme of womanhood and gender roles in society with literally "colored" women who recite the poems. The women wear solid colors based on or in their feminine roles, and speak about "love, abandonment, rape, and abortion, embodied by each woman's story" (Wikipedia). By using only women in the play, without any set dressing or fancy production value, Shange is able to focus deeply into the role of women in society; the physical dance and lyrical poetry portray women as both emotional and physical, allowing exposition without preaching. The women in the play are of central importance, with their problems and issues deliberately lacking any male presence except what is in their hearts and minds; the focus is on women as human beings instead of props or scenery.

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