I’m going to preface this by saying that there will be mention of rape and rape culture in this post, so if this is at all triggering to you, please stop reading.
Again, TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE and RAPE CULTURE
Saturday night I went to a reading of Rachel Bykowski’s playwright of Glory vs. The Wolves held at the bookstore, Women and Children First. It was a very pro-women environment which, as you guys could probably tell from some of my blog posts, is something that I am really about. Anyways, Glory vs. The Wolves on the surface is about a brothel. The main characters are four women who work there as prostitutes and are sheltered from the outside world due to the rule that nothing from the outside world could be brought into the brothel; however, the play is actually one giant commentary on rape culture and its effect on young women and men.
The actors of the play simply sat or stood on stage (depending on whether or not they were supposed to be seen by the audience) and read from Bykowski’s script. As you can see from the above picture, the stage was not very big so there was a narrator (far left) who read out the stage directions. At first this was hard for me to follow, but you got used to it as time passed.
When describing the purpose of the reading, Bykowski said, that she wanted to take an artistic and holistic approach at tackling the issue that is rape culture and to educate people on it. She did not say this at the reading but on her blog she wrote that the reason for the playwright and the raising the issue of rape culture was due to people’s reactions to the Steubenville Rape case. She said she was disgusted that the media felt sorry for the young boys who were described as being “students with promising futures” instead of what they should have been described as, “rapists.”
I had similar feelings to hers when it came to the media coverage of the case. I think Bykowski did an excellent job on her play. She developed multi-faceted and complex characters that were all female which I found to be something new and exciting. She dealt with the main problems with rape culture and how society treats rape and the victims of rape. A lot of it focused on the idea of choice. There were several lines that really struck me hard in the play. One of them was said by the main character Glory to her co-worker/friend, Flesh. They were talking about a rape trial that was happening outside of the brothel. Another co-worker of theirs, Spike, had managed to sneak in newspapers that she would get from one her clients and her, Glory, and another co-worker Choke Chain found and kept up with a story of the rape trial. Anyways, Flesh was telling Glory that it was the victim’s fault. She said she made the choice to wear a short skirt, she made the choice to drink too much, and she made the choice to stay out late. To which Glory said back, “Those men made the choice to rape her.”
This is such a great comment on how society and the media tends to blame victims for this horrific experience. That it is up to women to not get raped instead of telling men to not rape. This always angered me because like a person can literally wear nothing, walk around late at night, drunk out of their minds, and they will not get raped unless someone else makes the choice to rape them.
Overall, I had a great time and was so happy that this was the second event that I chose to go to because not only did I gain a new experience of seeing a reading of a playwright, I was surrounded by people who were just as passionate about something as I was (the something being how rape culture is a prevalent thing in our society), and also I was happy to see members of the literary community fight this large issue.
On a lighter note, besides the people that were there and the quality of the entertainment, the bookstore provided free food and I grabbed myself a cookie that is pictured below.
I am going to end this by bringing up the groups that were involved in making the reading happen. Along with the bookstore, the event was sponsored by the Rape Victim Advocates (RVA) and Slut Walk Chicago. The play was performed by the 20% Theater Company of Chicago whose mission is to create opportunities for women in theater. I urge you to check them out and educate yourselves, or maybe get involved.