One Man Two Guvnors, Womens Roles

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‘Women’s roles are often tokenistic in dramatic comedy.’ To what extent do you believe this to be the case in relation to the play you are studying?
Some argue that women’s roles are often tokenistic in dramatic comedy, since women often have smaller or less important roles than male characters. This may apply to the female characters in ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ depending on how you interpret the word ‘tokenistic’. The tokenism of a character may be assessed in terms of the size and significance, or by analysing the stereotypes and complexity of their characters.
In ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’, there are three female characters, the uneven ratio of women to men perhaps suggest that the female roles within are less significant than male roles.
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Nevertheless, a woman dressing up as man is nothing out of the ordinary. It was very common in comedic plays for women to be playing a man’s role and this was used to demonstrate the difference in hierarchy between men and women.
The complexity of Rachel’s character differs within the play. On the one hand, Rachel is portrayed in a male disguise showing she has independence as she has taken matters into her own hands, her successful manipulation through disguise perhaps demonstrating her intelligence and how easily women can dupe men. This could also suggest that she is not acting according to the social ‘norms’ for women in the 60s demonstrating that she doesn’t fear people’s views of her although she is a woman. She demonstrates her strength and independence as she takes matters into her own hands ‘I’ll take two hundred in cash’ and acts in a violent way ‘Rachel slaps Francis’, portraying the growing power of women. On the other hand, Bean could have done this to project the message that women cannot hold any power without the help of a man. Although she has decided to solve her problem herself, she has had to dress up as a man to do so, thus showing that women’s roles are often tokenistic. The motive behind her plan was also for a man illustrating the length a women will go for a man. Had Rachel not dressed up as a man maybe she would not have gotten so far, her success in doing so

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