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Megan Terry and the objectification of women

Updated: Oct 3, 2023


Megan Terry (1932-2021) was an American playwright, director, and teacher. She was born in Seattle, Washington and attended the University of Washington, where she studied drama and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

Terry's work as a playwright often dealt with social and political issues, including feminism, civil rights, and the Vietnam War. She was a founding member of the Open Theater in New York City, a group that was known for its experimental approach to theater.


Some of Terry's most well-known plays include "Viet Rock," "Keep Tightly Closed in a Cool Dry Place," and "Calculated Risk." She was also the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including a Rockefeller Foundation Playwriting Fellowship and an Obie Award for Best Play.

In addition to her work as a playwright, Terry was a respected teacher of playwriting and theater, having taught at institutions such as the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California at San Diego, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.


Megan Terry passed away on March 1, 2021, at the age of 88.


Megan Terry during a rehearsal of “Viet Rock” in 1966 at the Yale drama school. Its lyrics were poignant and pointed: “The wars have melted into one/A war was on when I was born.” Credit...Leo Friedman


Megan Terry and feminist movement.

Megan Terry was an important figure in the feminist movement, and her work as a playwright often addressed feminist themes and issues. In her plays, Terry explored topics such as women's rights, gender inequality, and the objectification of women.

One of Terry's most well-known plays is "Keep Tightly Closed in a Cool Dry Place," which is a feminist critique of the beauty industry and the ways in which it perpetuates harmful stereotypes about women. The play features a group of women who work in a cosmetics factory and who become disillusioned with their work as they become more aware of the negative impact of the industry on women.

Terry also co-founded the Women's Theatre Group in New York in 1970, which was an organization dedicated to promoting women's voices in theater and providing opportunities for women playwrights, directors, and actors. The group produced several of Terry's plays, as well as works by other feminist playwrights.

Through her writing and activism, Megan Terry played an important role in advancing feminist ideas and advocating for greater gender equality in the arts and in society as a whole.



Megan Terry and the objectification of women.

Megan Terry's work often explored the objectification of women in society, particularly in the beauty industry. In her play "Keep Tightly Closed in a Cool Dry Place," Terry examines the ways in which the cosmetics industry perpetuates harmful stereotypes and reinforces the idea that a woman's value is based on her physical appearance.

In the play, a group of women work in a cosmetics factory and become increasingly disillusioned with their work as they realize the negative impact of the industry on women. They become aware of the unrealistic beauty standards that are imposed on them and the ways in which these standards are used to sell products and perpetuate gender inequality.


Terry's play challenges these stereotypes by giving voice to the women who are often objectified and devalued by society. By showing the harmful effects of the beauty industry on women's self-esteem and self-worth, Terry highlights the importance of promoting a more inclusive and diverse vision of beauty that celebrates women of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds.

Through her work, Megan Terry was a strong advocate for women's rights and an important voice in the fight against the objectification of women in society.


Unfortunately, the objectification of women is still a pervasive issue in today's society. It can be seen in many different forms, including in the media, advertising, popular culture, industry ( like sports, cosmetics, fashion). Women are often portrayed as sexual objects, and their worth is frequently tied to their physical appearance rather than their intelligence, talents, or character.


This objectification can have a number of negative consequences for women, including lowered self-esteem, body image issues, and a sense of being valued only for their physical attributes. It can also contribute to a culture of harassment and sexual violence, as women are seen as objects to be pursued and conquered rather than as individuals deserving of respect and autonomy.

Thankfully, there has been a growing movement to challenge and resist the objectification of women in recent years. Women and their allies are speaking out against the ways in which women are portrayed and treated in society, and are working to promote a more inclusive and equitable vision of gender that celebrates women for their full humanity.


Some examples of this resistance include the #MeToo movement, which has brought attention to issues of sexual harassment and assault, and the body positivity movement, which seeks to promote self-love and acceptance regardless of one's body type or size. There is still much work to be done to eradicate the objectification of women, but there are many people and organizations working towards this goal.


The world requires more Megan Terry and less objectification of women.


Curator Munllonch

Pic by Megan Terry



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