An exploration of the representations of different gender roles in Pam Gems’ Dusa Fish Stas and Vi.
This study discusses the work of playwright Pam Gems (1925-2011), in particular, her 1976 play Dusa, Fish, Stas and Vi. The aim of the study is to explore the representations of different gender roles within this play, through devices used by Gems to represent gender roles and aspects of womanhood, through analysis of gendered language based on the work of feminist sociolinguists such as Lakoff, Tannen, Crawford and Cameron. The study grounds observations in the socio-political contexts of the 1970s and has through consideration of feminist writings of de Beauvoir, Wandor and Greer. Dusa, Fish Stas and Vi features four female characters from different backgrounds, all under great pressure economically, suffering from abusive relationships with men. The study explores four aspects of womanhood – the mother, the sexual woman, the victim and the natural woman. It reflects on Gems’ critique of the Whole Woman, examining the fractured aspects of the Whole Woman which feminism presents as an ideal, highlighting the contradictions and failings Gems finds in feminism.