Literary texts often highlight different aspects of society. The play extract is from the opening scene of the play Spin by Australian playwright Kamarra Bell-Wykes. It is set in assumed modern times in rural Australia. Generally, there are strict gender roles for both men and women. While the poem takes place in approximately the 1960s, it portrays the values and attitudes of inequality in Australian communities. The play focuses on a conventional Australian couple, Lola and Frank. The plotline centres on Lola receiving a new washing machine and then later getting engaged. Spin highlights stereotypical gender expectations as well as reinforcing the roles of women in the domestic sphere. Bell-Wykes uses literary conventions such as satire, language devices and characterisation to clearly represent these gender expectations of women.
Spin helps to portray the domestic values concerning women’s place in society. Previously, the main role of women was as wife and mother. Bell-Wykes uses the characterisation of Lola to represent these domestic ideals. Lola is betrayed at the stereotypical Australian woman. She is happy to comply to societies expectations and content in doing her domestic ‘obligations’. This is seen when Lola says that ‘almost nine of those twenty years were spent out here in this laundry’. This statement conveys the message that she is happy in doing the household chores work and has been a large part of her life at the washing machine. Likewise, the satirical list of what she washes again places here within the domestic sphere. She says, ‘old socks, stinky nappies, muddy coveralls, grubby uniforms.’ This further outlines the occupations in which are considered to be within the ‘domain’ of women. Similarity, Lola’s actions towards both Frank and the washing machine also betray the idea of a stereotypical housewife. When Lola sees the washing machine she is ecstatic and acts ‘like a little girl and hugs Frank excitedly.’ The idea that women are happy in receiving a washing machine is not only a great exaggeration’s but perpetuates society’s expectations of women.
Moreover, Spin continually reinforces gender stereotypes of women through the recollection of Lola’s mothers ‘duty’ as well as the motif of hands. The traditional roles women as wife and mother was passed down from generation to generation. This is betrayed when Lola says, ‘I was getting hands like the mothers, wrinkled and yellow, soggy and smelly. Hands like old sponges.’ Lola’s statement indicates that the domestic chores of the household have been done by women for many generations. This idea of women doing the domestic chores fits in with a stereotypical representation of rural Australian women. Similarity, Bell-Wykes continues to highlight the gender