Gender Representations in No Sugar
Written by Australian playwright Jack Davis in 1985, the protest play No Sugar follows the journey of a Nyoongah family, the Millimurras, and the hardships and struggles they face during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It was during that period where both European and Aboriginal women were very much marginalized by society and still played the traditional role of mother, wife and nurturer. Jack Davis reinforces certain aspects of traditional gender discourse in No Sugar and "uses women on the stage in conventional ways to emphasize continuity and tradition, nourishment and care". …show more content…
She challenges Mr. Neal and refuses to give in although very aware of the consequences which will follow. She proudly tells Joe that she "wouldn't knuckle under to [Mr Neal]" and "told [Mr Neal] to go to hell". This change in her character could perhaps be representative of her struggle against a restrictive patriarchal society and she thus returns to her Aboriginal heritage of being the typically strong female Aboriginal.
Traditionally, European females are described as "always in terms of lack no initiative, no intellectual powers, no perseverance" . However, Jack Davis, as a traditional Aboriginal male has negative attitudes towards these stereotypes and is evident in his construction of the white female characters in No Sugar. Matron Neal is constructed as a strong female character which challenges the traditional female discourse. The surrounding male characters are constantly trying to put her in her place but she is shown to resist this and to have some sort of control over the dominating male character, in this instance Mr. Neal. This can be seen when "Neal collapses into his chair" after talking to Matron. The stage directions of Neal collapsing in his chair shows that talking to Matron has the ability to exhaust him thus highlighting Matron's strength and domination over Mr. Neal. Towards the end of the play, Mary also states that Mr. Neal is scared of her, further challenging the lack of intellectual powers and perseverance of traditional female