From John Ray's shorter notes
January 24, 2015
Will feminism produce great works of art?
DVDs are a wonderful thing. I have a DVD recording a performance at the Mariinsky theater in St Petersburg of the great ballet "Firebird". The company is the Ballet Russes. I am far from a balletomane but the wonderful music of Igor Stravinsky gets me in every time. And the reconstructed choreography of Michel Fokine is of course excellent too. It is no wonder that Firebird has a prominent place in the classical ballet repertoire.
And I couldn't help noticing that the chief ballerina (The Firebird) got thrown around an awful lot by the chief male dancer. It was done with enormous athleticism and grace but there was no doubt who was the dominant character in the scenes concerned. And it struck me that feminists would almost certainly find that repugnant -- with words like "patriarchy" and "inequality" popping into their addled brains. Perhaps they think the ballerina should have thrown the larger male dancer about!
But Firebird is not alone in its representation of male/female roles. A traditional representation of such roles is virtually universal in opera and in classical ballet. So, having seen what artistic wonders traditional thinking can bring forth can we expect such art to emerge from feminist attitudes? Feminism has been around since the likes of Emmeline Pankhurst and her girls over a century ago but I know of nothing notable that has emerged so far. The only possible candidate appears to be the disgusting Vagina Monologues and they seem to be notable only for their crudity.
So my proposed answer to the question in my heading is a blunt "No". Most prominent feminists are radicals and seem quite deranged most of the time. They seem to have no beauty in their souls. And they don't care about women anyway. They ignore the terrible plight of most women in Muslim lands and content themselves with nitpicking criticisms of everyday speech in their own country.
Fortunately most women are not feminists. They believe in things like equal pay for equal work but have little in common with the fountains of rage and hatred who are the radical feminists. So what I have written above is in no way critical of women generally. I have been married four times so I clearly think women are pretty good. And plenty of ladies find my views acceptable -- particularly ladies around my own age.
Some desultory notes on the Mariinsky performance of Firebird:
As I have previously mentioned elsewhere, in all stage shows I like authenticity in the staging. I can put up with modern minimalist staging but when directors of the performance try to be "creative" and invent very strange sets, costumes, backdrops etc. I dislike it greatly. So I was most pleased that this performance endeavoured to re-create the original Diaghilev staging.
And at risk of enormous political incorrectness, I might perhaps note that, this being Russia, all the performers were very white -- which did of course echo the original. There is a great push to get blacks into everything these days but to revise in some way an original great artistic creation is to me just stupid. The lily-whiteness of the skins was part of the artistic effect.
I am breathless with admiration for the dancing of (Firebird) Ekaterina Kondaurova. She is unbelievably light on her feet. She almost defies gravity.
Ballerinas tell me that the male dancers are no good to them. They are mostly homosexual. So ballet is to a significant extent a homosexual art. I have on various occasions been critical of homosexual assertiveness. So does that lessen my regard for ballet?
I regard it as irrelevant. I judge art by what I see and hear and have no animus at all towards individuals who have the homosexual disorder. I feel rather sorry for them in fact. My late sister was homosexual and there have almost always been homosexuals in my social circle. There were two homosexuals at a dinner I hosted recently and their presence was welcomed both by myself and everyone else there. I certainly would not say that "some of my best friends" are homosexuals but all those I know are perfectly pleasant people.
I was sad to hear of the premature death (from AIDS) of prominent homosexual Michael Cass, with whom I got on rather well. He taught at Uni NSW Sociology, where I also did. People who know Brisbane will not be surprised to hear that he was a former Nudgee boy.
Go to John Ray's Main academic menu
Go to Menu of longer writings
Go to John Ray's basic home page
Go to John Ray's pictorial Home Page
Go to Selected pictures from John Ray's blogs