I was watching an interview with David Henry Hwang in which he was describing his influence in writing M. Butterfly. He was elaborating on this notion, or perception rather, of weakness in the east when compared to the west and how it almost parallels the relationship between men and women in this male-dominant world. What I found most intriguing in his interview was the following statement:
“In some sense the idea of how men fall in love with women has a lot to do with looks, with artifices, with the women fitting into a notion of what women are supposed to be, which was invented by men.”
It took me directly to Song’s statement that “only a man knows how a woman is supposed to act.” Women are “supposed” to be beautiful, “supposed” to be submissive, and “supposed” to the weaker creature. Notice the concept of assumption which society so deeply embeds in our actions. Have men taught us to deceive ourselves or does the male perception of women not infringe our self-perception and contact with the world?
If you get the chance, I highly recommend your watch his video (and preferably after you finish the play since there may be a few spoilers). The author delved into so many of the themes we discussed last class in part II.