Taking down the gender agenda

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The F-word.

Report by NewsroomPlus.com Contributed by the F Word

We are told gender no longer matters, so why are girls drenched in pink and boys still look forward to earning more? Whose surname do our kids get? And most importantly, who should pay for dinner on the first date?

These are some of the questions tackled in the sell-out comedy The F Word – returning to Wellington after a nationwide tour. The F Word – sex without the ism is a comedy about what FEMINISM means in modern day New Zealand.

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After their sell-out debut season in BATS last year, this group of Wellington actors and improvisers took their comedy about feminism on the road around the country – even to a tin shed full of farmers in Methven.

“I thought we might get lynched at the end” says improviser and economist Geoff Simmons. “One farmer came up to me after and said ‘that was very funny. Complete load of sh*t, but very funny’. This reaction – along with the Tony Veitch saga – shows we still have a lot of work to do, and we hope this show helps in its own way.”

The play was born over some heated discussions between members of the troupe, which provided plenty of fodder for the play.

“We got to share perspectives and explore issues to a level you don’t normally get to do with friends. We all learned a lot about each others point of view.” says actor and Director of the Voice Arts Trust Nicola Pauling.

Did they find any answers?

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“Sometimes, but mostly we just found more questions,” says musician, improvisor and computer programmer Matt Hutton. “We’re seeing more legal equality between the sexes, so now we need to change our culture, which is hard. We don’t want to preach, just ask the hard questions – if this sort of behaviour isn’t acceptable any more, what do we do instead?”

In the process of writing the play the group found out a lot about themselves.

“I’m a feminist now, whereas before I thought ‘what’s all the fuss about?’” says improviser and drama teacher Katie Wilson. “I particularly enjoyed watching Geoff alter his dating habits, but I’ve made some changes too. I now make an effort to ask guys out and ensure we split the bill.”

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues.
Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia’s FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand’s The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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