“East West, Home’s Best”: Feminist Politics of Sue Townsend in Bazaar and Rummage
Keywords:Sue Townsend, Bazaar and Rummage, issue-based play, agoraphobia, patriarchal oppression, feminist criticism, Thatcher
This paper discusses the social reasons for agoraphobia as a psychological disorder as observed in the women characters of British playwright Sue Townsend’s issue-based play Bazaar and Rummage (1982). The depiction of three agoraphobic women in a context characterised by patriarchal dominion constitutes the core of Townsend’s play. Although their problematic condition is presented rather comically, from their accounts, it seems apt to argue that societal oppression is the reason for their longlasting seclusion and constant fear of the outside world. The play offers a rummage sale as an opportunity for women to step outside and conquer their fear. Accordingly, in terms of presenting the psychological condition of women characters and associating the possible solution to their problem with a market occasion, Townsend’s play illustrates an example of feminist criticism. In this study, the play’s analysis is based on the 1980s context dominated by Thatcher politics, and Townsend’s portrayal of agoraphobia is discussed as a criticism of her society in which patriarchal hegemony plays a central role in women’s forced confinement.
"Agoraphobia." (1900). The British Medical Journal 1. 2037: 98. JSTOR. Web. 28 Jul. 2015. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20263132
"Agoraphobia." (1974). The British Medical Journal 4.5938: 177-78. JSTOR. Web. 28 Jul. 2015. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20470844
Bekker, M. (1996). “Agoraphobia and Gender: A Review.” Clinical Psychology Review 16. 2: 129-146.
Campbell, B. (2015). “Margaret Thatcher: To be or not to be a Woman.” British Politics 10: 41-51.
Carlson, S. (1991). Women and Comedy. Michigan: Michigan UP.
Chambless, D. L. and Mason, J. (1986). Sex, Sex-role Stereotyping and Agoraphobia: Behaviour Research and Therapy. 24. 2: 231–235.
Coveney, M. (1982). Review of Sue Townsend’s Bazaar and Rummage. Financial Times. In London Theatre Record. 6-19 May: 239.
Davidson, J. (2003). Phobic Geographies: The Phenomenology and Spatiality of Identity. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV. (1994). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Foa, E., G. Steketee, and M. Young. (1984). “Agoraphobia: Phenomenological Aspects Associated Characteristics and Theoretical Considerations.” Clinical Psychology Review 4: 431-457.
Gournay, K. (1989). “Agoraphobia: A Woman’s Problem? The Sex-Role
Perspective.” Agoraphobia: Current Perspectives on Theory and Treatment. Ed. Kevin Gournay. London and New York: Routledge: 209-226.
Hudson, B. L. (1989). “Social Factors and the Role of Social Workers.” Agoraphobia: Current Perspectives on Theory and Treatment. Ed. Kevin Gournay. London and New York: Routledge: 60-84.
Mathews, A. M., Michael G. G., and Derek W. J. (1981). Agoraphobia: Nature and Treatment. London and New York: Tavistock.
McDowell, Linda. (1989). “Women in Thatcher’s Britain.” The Political Geography of Contemporary Britain. Ed. John Mohan. London: Macmillan: 172-187.
Nicholls, T. (2014). Theatre West Four: So Far as I Can Remember. Vol.2. N.p: Paragon.
Peacock, D. Keith. (1999). Thatcher’s Theatre: British Theatre and Drama in the Eighties. London: Greenwood.
Townsend, S. (1984a). Bazaar and Rummage, Groping for Words, Womberang. London: Methuen.
Townsend, S. (1984b). Introduction. Bazaar and Rummage, Groping for Words, Womberang. London: Methuen. i-v.
Wyllie, A. (2009). Sex on Stage: Gender and Sexuality in Post-War British Theatre. Bristol, GBR: Intellect Ltd.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work [6 months] after publication simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access)