The exploration of gender issues in “Gregory’s Girl is developed by the playwright’s skill in presenting stereotypical views of boys and girls whilst at the same time, challenging them. Gregory’s Girl is a play written by Bill Forsyth that explores teenage life and problems they face during the 1980’s in Scotland. Bill Forsyth explores gender issues and stereotypical views between adolescent boys and girls. Both challenging and supporting views are given in this script. Immediately at the start of the play, gender issues are presented to the awaiting audience, in a typical stereotyped way.
It portrays the view that “Boys play football, and girls don’t” to the audience. “Gregory, watch the bloody striker. Andy move out! Get off your line, Andy, now! ” This shows the typical view of boys playing football. By introducing football this early into the play it gives the theme of the play. By introducing the stereotype here, it makes this point of view stick in the minds of the audience. This is important later as there is a challenging stereotype portrayed which goes against this. The character Madeline is introduced next. She is Gregory’s younger sister.
This character is quite an interesting one during this script because although Madeline is a younger character compared to Gregory, she is portrayed by the playwright to be much maturer and acts as a mother-like figure giving Gregory advice and help along the way. When she say’s “It’s complicated. He use to be football mad. Now that he’s growing up, you know… adolescence”, and “I think his proper shorts are in the wash” both show this in a not-so-subtle way. This shows another stereotype presented by the playwright although it is not as obvious.
It shows that females mature quicker than males. This is an excellent supporting example of this. Bill Forsyth also reinforces this particular stereotype throughout the play in order to strengthen the remembrance and significance for the audience to grasp. Gregory is next shown as a stereotypical teenage male, who thinks about himself constantly and will push others down in order to reach the top. This occurs after the first football match. The playwright has portrayed the character of Gregory as a very persuasive character in this scene.
He is talking to Phil (the P. E teacher) and trying to persuade him to let him stay on the team, an utterly outstanding example of this is when Gregory say’s “I’m going to be fine. What about Andy? He hasn’t even started growing yet. He’s going to be real trouble. ” Gregory’s character is portrayed to support the stereotypical view of the teenage male that I previously mentioned. The next scene is a fine portrayal of male stereotypes. Humour is also added to the play at this point, the stereotype creates this in a great way.
This scene contains Andy, Charlie, Eric, and Pete. They are outside the nurses’ hostel peering into the windows in hope of an explicit view of the nurses. The scenery is dark and the lighting is dull. This adds to this scene as the scenery helps to create humour along with the stereotypical view in the audiences’ minds. The stereotype that Bill Forsyth has presented here is of the male gender becoming extremely excited over the idea and pictorial view of the naked female body. This is extremely exaggerated to make the scene more powerful and obvious to the audience.
Take it off… please miss… take it off”, This dialogue shows the stereotypical view of the female body and sexual thoughts associated with this, that it is only to be used for sexual purposes. This supports the stereotype within the viewers/readers mind. Exaggeration is used when Andy faints from over-excitement. “I can’t breathe, I can’t see right”. Again, this dialogue brings humour into the play. By doing this, the playwright has made the audience think more deeply and intensely about male and female issues.
This stereotype is continuously repeated throughout the play to reinforce and support the idea. Throughout the play, male stereotypes of some sort continue to arise. In scene three Gregory is getting dressed. The humour from the last scene is now strengthened and comedy arises again. “Then just a little dab to encourage the chesty- follicles, and perhaps a quick whirl around the band of the Y- fronts and he’s protected”. The fact that the character is talking to himself devises amusement. The stereotype of males is being vain is supported during this scene.
When reading this script it becomes visual, and I imagine when watching the play it really comes to life from the stage directions and actions of Gregory’s character. The fact that Madeline enters and Gregory continues to act natural shows the kind of relationship that the two characters share. This challenges the average stereotypical view of the audience and they receive the unexpected. The stereotyped mind of the audience will think that naturally, because the characters Gregory and Madeline are siblings, they will automatically not get along with each other and feel uncomfortable around each other.
The playwright however has decided to try to change this view directly by presenting the fact that there is something different and special about their relationship and that Gregory has a somewhat split personality. (This becomes more obvious in time. ). He does this to make the audience think about stereotypical views between siblings and also males and females. “Don’t get too serious about her, if you can help it. Have you asked her out yet? I can tell you things… ” This is not a normal relationship between brother and sister and this is directly showed by Bill Forsyth. “You were good to me when other boys hated their sisters”.
By Madeline, saying this it shows Madeline and Gregory’s relationship again. By doing this, the challenging stereotype is reinforced. By including this stereotype in the play it makes the audience think about their own relationships with their siblings. There is also another part in this play where it makes the audience think about their family relationships. This occurs in a scene with Gregory and his father. This scene stereotypes the ‘non-existent’ relationship between a teenager and their parents. Again, this makes the audience focus on their own real-life situations and relationships. (Sarcastically) why don’t we plan to meet up sometime soon. Say breakfast, later in the week. Say eight o’clock in the kitchen, Friday? Your mother would like that. ” By doing this, it creates obvious sarcasm. This, it strengthens the thoughts within the audience of their own relationships with either parents or children. By using sarcasm to express this, it brings across the supporting stereotype in a more subtle way. “Gregory: Hi Mike, Father: Call me Dad, Gregory, or pop or something. ” This dialogue also shows the fact of the stereotype between parents and their teenage children.
This is a real-life situation and an everyday occurrence. Bill Forsyth has done this to make the play more believable and down to earth. By representing the stereotype in this way, it makes it easier to relate to the whole play, not just this scene. This also makes the audience question the stereotypes presented by the playwright. Scene 5 is quite an important scene when exploring stereotypical gender issues as the stereotype presented is quite a common judgement to be made. This gender presented Stereotype is that only boys play football and girls do not.
This is a stereotype that most people can relate to no matter what the gender or age of the viewer/reader is. This is presented in a way that is again easy to relate to as it the playwright has made it believable and life-like. He has included it in a situation that many of the audience may have experienced before. By doing this, Bill Forsyth has made it easier to understand for the younger members of the audience. In this scene, Dorothy appears for the football trials held by the Phil, the school P. E teacher. She is turned away and rejected at first as Phil is shown as extremely sexist and degrading towards Dorothy.
There’s been a slight misunderstanding, dear, it was boys I meant… for the trials” By using this dialogue, the playwright has expressed the stereotype straight away in a simple yet still effective way. “This is football here sweetheart… maybe Miss McAlpine is up to something with the hockey team, I don’t know, but this here is football… boys”, This is another example of this. By using the word “Sweetheart” in this dialogue it makes it seem as if the character Phil, is talking down to Dorothy and degrading her because of her gender. This is shown also when he repeats the word “dear” when talking to Dorothy.
The stereotype, boys playing football and girls not, is then challenged by the playwright to portray a different view of gender issues and the actual real-life facts. This occurs when the stage directions direct “Dorothy joins one of the lines. Her ball control is superb. None of the boys can touch her” By adding these stage directions it challenges the stereotype by showing that Dorothy is a good footballer and in fact better than the boys at the trials. By using this stereotype in the play, the playwright enables sexist people to think about their views and maybe change them.
The playwright does this by focussing on the fact that the P. E teacher was wrong and that girls can play football and should have equal rights as they are sometimes better than boys at football and it doesn’t matter about whether the player is male or female it is the skill level that truly count. This is shown when the dialogue “Okay dear, you were the best. You’re good”, is given. The next scene relates to the previous stereotype only this time it is in relation to boys instead of girls. It is set in a cookery class. The stereotype presented by Bill Forsyth here is that females are the ones who do cooking and males are no good at it.
The playwright has challenged this gender portrayed stereotype in this scene. He has done this directly and confidently using stage directions and direct dialogue within the characters. This stereotype mainly concerns Steve. Steve is an extremely good cook and an ultimate perfectionist. He also likes everyone to know this and does not hide it at all. “Hands! (Gregory shows his hands. It is a routine inspection)” It is the stage directions in this scene that shows most of the action and what is happening more than the speech does. However, speech does also play a part in all of this, for example, when the character, Steve, says Pastry, what pastry there’s more than one kind you know. Is it rough puff, shortcrust… flaky… suet” by naming different types of pastry, it shows his knowledge of cookery and different types of pastry.
This challenges the audiences’ stereotype because the audience would have expected that because he is a male he would not have known much about it at all. In addition, would have given a simple answer when asked by Susan how to make pastry. Another stereotype is entered into this scene. This is the stereotype of how a male teenager falling in love and not stopping thinking about the girl in whom he is falling in love with. I’m in love. I can’t eat; I’m awake half the night, when I think about it I feel dizzy. I’m restless… it’s so wonderful. ” This shows Gregory’s feelings about Dorothy, the newest member to the football team. Steve does not seem very sympathetic towards Gregory’s newly found feelings of love, “That sounds more like indigestion”, by using sarcasm it also links back into the stereotype presented.
Gregory’s attitude towards girls, especially Dorothy is also shown in scene seven. “Bella Bella. Anything else to show me? Any major wounds when you were twelve? Fourteen? This supports the stereotypical view in the audience’s minds. The view that all teenage males think about is sexual encounters and thoughts. By the stage direction that follows, ” (She catches on and they both smile)” it is obvious that this is what Gregory was hinting at and that Female teenagers think in this way aswell. In a way, this could support the stereotype in that sex is always on teenager’s minds. However, it could also challenge it in the way that sex is always on male teenager’s minds and female teenagers are sweet and innocent. Either way that the viewer interprets does not matter as it works well both ways.
The playwright has cleverly done this because no matter which way it is seen it will still have the same effect. The character, Gregory, is a very interesting one as he is portrayed by the playwright to be two different people, almost like a split personality. One side of his personality shows when he is with his sister. This is shown when the character Madeline, Gregory’s sister, say’s “You were good to me when other boys hated their sisters”. The other side of this characters personality is when he is in company with his friends. Where he is more relaxed and is more like a ‘normal’ teenager.
Throughout the play, all of the stereotypes presented by the playwright are reinforced and challenged repetitively to remind the audience and strengthen them. The playwright has constantly done this with different stereotypes to create contrast and conflict within the viewer/ readers’ mind. By using techniques such as sarcasm and wit, along with many others that I have previously mentioned throughout this analysis, Bill Forsyth has presented gender issued stereotypes in an extremely effective way. Overall, I think Bill Forsyth has made a success of doing this.