Posted on April 19, 2017
Here is another presentation on my favorite topic: gender! Previously I have discussed the lack of agency and the constraining effects of the gender binary of women in literature. At least in those stories, there were women present in the book. In Glengarry Glen Ross, society gets what it has always wanted: a workplace without women. I mean if they do not have agency in a story or are going to be treated poorly by misogynistic men, then why bother including them, right?
Glengarry Glen Ross is a testosterone, driven story of men in competition to make their way to the top in a very crucial field in the American job-market: real estate. There is our first problem. The absence of women in this crucial career is dangerous because insinuates the idea that women do not belong in this field. It would be a different story (haha, literally), if there is one woman in the workplace. This would show that women do belong in real estate; however, even in that scenario, women become a minority to the men and this theme is also dangerous. Rest assure, we are saved from this dangerous situation when Levene mentions that he has a daughter. This is the only reference of female character in the book. To further play devil’s advocate, we could infer that he also has a wife. So, there. We are saved from the patriarchy. Hallelujah.
That was a joke. I hope you’re laughing. Williamson only mentions his daughter because he wants to keep his job and make his way back to the top. Understandably, he wants to support his daughter. Who wouldn’t? However, his excuse is twofold. The men of the play are greedy and will do anything to get to the top. With that, it is hard to believe Levene when he mentions his daughter because I am lead to believe that each character will do something to buy or rob their way back to the top.
Although the play was written in the 1980s, I feel that it could have had a profound impact on workplace equality, especially in finances and real estate. Pop culture and the arts have the power to generate and persuade our views of society and the values we have for one another. If the play included more women in the business who are trying to compete against with other men and women, then I believe that the play would communicate a healthier lesson about competition and going against the binary in the workplace. Until then, we are stuck with this testosterone driven plot.