'You Might Think Less Of Me' explores odyssey from girlhood to womanhood
We live in a world, and really a city, where looks can be everything. Everybody has a thought or an opinion about other people's bodies.
You see the judgment and how we look at each other. You read it on social media sites. And for those who identify as female, that judgment can be especially harsh.
A new performance piece written and performed by Las Vegan Jenny Fox called “You Might Think Less Of Me” explores that theme. It opened this month at the Super Summer Theater. Producer Kristen Kidman talked with her recently.
What is the play about?
[It] tells the story of a girl and her journey from childhood to adulthood, and how she learns that parts of herself are acceptable and parts aren't. And then we witness her battle to find wholeness. And ultimately, the piece is really about that universal experience of choosing what parts of oneself to reveal, and what parts to hide. The piece is a little unusual, because it's a one person show. So we have a variety of characters. Some of them are realistic, some are very imaginary. We have girlies, grandma, a childhood bully, her abusive partner, but then we also have a Maryland Barbie, and a puppet and a plastic surgeon. And so we have a variety of different kinds of characters.
What was the writing process like?
The writing process itself actually came about in my own exploration of trying to find self acceptance. So it was actually my counselor who said, ‘Hey, you know, I know you're a writer, and you're writing a lot about this stuff for yourself through your poetry and your essays. But you're also a performer, why are you not putting this in your body? Especially so much of this is about body stuff, why are you not exploring it that way?’ And I pushed them away. And I was like, ‘Yeah, no, that's ridiculous. That's not, I'm not going to do that.’ And then it just kept popping back in my head. And then I thought, ‘You know what? I don't have to show this to anyone.’ … So it's almost like the act of exorcism in a way like, let me see what's going on for me and where it lives in my body and how I can move it out and through.
What are some concerns you have on this topic?
I think we'd all be better off if we emphasize bodies less altogether. So yes, we live in our bodies, we want them to be healthy, we want them to be spaces that we inhabit, mind, body, spirit, well away. But the emphasizing of a body is objectifying and so that in and of itself, I wish there was less of. I wish that we valued humans for being humans, just the mere fact that you're a human makes you a value and of equal value to any other human. So I think if we emphasize bodies less, it'd be beneficial. I also think body positivity and body acceptance is not quite the solution that we hoped it would be. So to me, it's paradoxical. Like, it's actually still a conflict, because we're still judging bodies, even in the act of being body positive, right? So all we've really done is we've widened the circle of body parts that we're saying are okay, so instead of just saying you know, this part of your body, whatever it may be, doesn't have to look like this anymore. Now, what we're saying to people is, it's okay for it to look like this to end this. But we're still judging. You know, we're still superficially relating to the body. And so I think we'd all be better off, if we emphasized bodies less.
Has the culture of Las Vegas influenced your writing?
I've lived here over 20 years, I became a mom here. I came here without consciousness and awareness of my own lack of love for myself inside and out. So I was susceptible to begin with. And I think, for everyone, these images and messages affect us. So whether we're conscious of them, whether we're not conscious of them, and whether they have an impact subliminally or not. … Even if you don't have a personal kind of tangible story, it seeps into all of us, like, there's no way. And the overriding message is that women's value is in their desirability, that's primary. So for me with this piece, I mean, very much part of the story that's told is, in a very concrete way, what that is like experientially. And yeah, some of that imagery, for sure. … It's in our environment. It's everywhere.
You Might Think Less Of Me is playing at Super Summer Theater on May 13, 14, 20 and 21. For details and ticket information, click here.