Isabel H. Evans
Over 230 years ago, a young woman named Deborah Samson fled her role as an indentured servant in Massachusetts, disguised herself as a man, and enlisted in the Continental Army. About two centuries later, her descendent Alex S. Myers ’00 came out as a transgendered man and was the first openly transgender person to attend Harvard.
What on earth do incarcerated women and Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” have in common? Absolutely nothing, you may think. I thought similarly until I saw an incredible all-female production last week of “Julius Caesar” at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York. Modern re-imaginings of Shakespeare are of course nothing new—and sometimes, they are painfully terrible. But this version of “Julius Caesar,” directed by Phyllida Lloyd of “Mamma Mia” and “The Iron Lady” fame, is entirely successful in its creativity and innovation.
On YouTube, anyone can find a home. There are the amateur twerkers, the singers trying to go viral with their renditions of “Wrecking Ball,” the comedians, the rappers, the cats, the news reporters’ bloopers, and the politicians’ filibusters. I am happy all of these different types of videos have found a haven on YouTube and personally spend many hours watching marriage proposal fails. But lately, it seems more and more that YouTube’s welcoming nature towards content is also dangerous. It has become an outlet for crime, criminals, and violence. Everything from videos of beheadings to gang initiations, YouTube too often gives violence a popular forum where an audience can watch and learn.
Instead of turning people off with their bloodthirsty acts, these three female killers are often seen as examples of empowered, tough female role models. But with these labels, an uncomfortable question arises: are these women seen as powerful because they are violent? In other words, for viewers and readers who worship these fierce women, does violence equal power?