Ignoring the obvious bias, assumption, preconceived notion and prejudicial audience, all of which in themselves are telling, and focusing solely on the intransigence — If you see stuff with your own eyes and hear with your own ears and you actually understand and even admit that you understand with your own mouth and yet, you still cannot change your mind – I would say you have condemned yourself and you cannot be fixed. By the admission of the words that come from your own lips — You are stuck on stupid.
Play Swaps Genders of 2016 Presidential Candidates, Receives Surprising Reactions from Audience
A play has brought parts of the 2016 presidential debates to the stage but with an added twist: Donald Trump is played by a woman, while Hillary Clinton is played by a man.
Maria Guadalupe, an associate professor of economics and political science at INSEAD, joined forces with Joe Salvatore, an associate professor of educational theater at NYU’s Steinhart School to develop Her Opponent, a play featuring actors performing excerpts from the three debates verbatim but with the genders of the candidates switched, NYU News reports.
The play gave different names to the Trump and Clinton characters, calling Trump’s persona “Brenda King” and Clinton’s persona “Jonathan Gordon.” A third actor played the moderator in the debates.
The audience’s reaction to the play brought some interesting results. Salvatore and Guadalupe originally predicted that even though the candidates’ genders were reversed, the candidates’ personalities would match those portrayed in the real-life debates. But the results were exactly the opposite of what they predicted.
Guadalupe wrote in a reflection on the experiment:
It was an unusual experiment which sparked some surprising reactions in a talkback session after the events. The expectation, held by myself and the majority of people polled before the performance, had been that Clinton would look “more presidential” as a man and Trump’s lack of respect for, and aggression towards, his opponent would not be tolerated in a woman. Our predictions were way off.
Audience members found that the arguments from Trump’s character sounded more convincing coming from a woman.
“About halfway through watching this it hit me – I see how he (Trump) won,” one audience member commented.
They also agreed that many of the arguments coming out of the Clinton character’s mouth seemed less believable and said that the character came off as “untrustworthy” or “fake.”
“I expected to feel validated in my beliefs,” a left-leaning member of the audience noted. “But I thought Gordon was weak. I found myself expecting him, as a man, to attack more.”
The experiment challenged people’s perceptions of gender, even if it did not change people’s opinion of the two candidates.
“It gave people enough distance to reflect on their own deeply ingrained gender bias, and to think about how they might have better understood the debates and the other perspective if they had not held such strong preference or distaste for a specific candidate,” Guadalupe said.
Salvatore says he and Guadalupe began the project assuming that the gender inversion would confirm what they’d each suspected watching the real-life debates: that Trump’s aggression—his tendency to interrupt and attack—would never be tolerated in a woman, and that Clinton’s competence and preparedness would seem even more convincing coming from a man.
Prior to the show, the professors surveyed the audience about their impressions of the real-life Trump/Clinton debates, then polled them again about the King/Gordon matchup immediately following the performance. Here’s what happened:
We heard a lot of ‘now I understand how this happened’—meaning how Trump won the election. People got upset. There was a guy two rows in front of me who was literally holding his head in his hands, and the person with him was rubbing his back. The simplicity of Trump’s message became easier for people to hear when it was coming from a woman—that was a theme. . . Someone said that Jonathan Gordon [the male Hillary Clinton] was ‘really punchable’ because of all the smiling. And a lot of people were just very surprised by the way it upended their expectations about what they thought they would feel or experience. There was someone who described Brenda King [the female Donald Trump] as his Jewish aunt who would take care of him, even though he might not like his aunt. Someone else described her as the middle school principal who you don’t like, but you know is doing good things for you.
Her Opponent was performed at the Provincetown Playhouse in the West Village in New York City in January, and there is a plan to shoot and edit a re-creation of the play.