Out of the Bucket

Female infanticide is the most insidious form of sexism, not only the act itself, but the terrible reinforcement of male dominance and worth it puts on those women who somehow escape it. Beyond the barbarity of murdering newborn girls to avoid dowries and other economic burdens, there is the idiotic logic of depleting the number of possible mothers to create more children and continue the society. It is the ultimate male chauvinism, some kind of macho blood-letting. To cure what? The fact that there are women who might compete for money/power? Because men just can’t stand the differences between the sexes and what is different is by their definition inferior? Maybe women are smarter and wiser, therefore a threat to order as men define it. Sure, it’s about poverty, but it goes beyond that. China is the biggest example of a country with this stain on its history, perhaps reaching a nadir during the 40 year one-child policy, which wasn’t fully repealed until January 1, 2016. India is arguably the worst offender now with Pakistan in second or third place. The heroine of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s “The World of Extreme Happiness,” after being rescued from a bucket of pig slop she was left to die in following birth by her father who sees a chance he can sell her if he lets her live, tries mightily to overcome this terrible cultural custom. Sunny leaves her rural farm to get a factory job in the big city. She believes that by working harder and better, she will overcome the stigma of being someone who didn’t initially qualify even to be a member of society. Because the play is as much an indictment of China’s move towards capitalism, Sunny’s plans are foiled by bureaucracy, corruption and greed on top of the sexual discrimination. A whirlwind ride in UCSB’s production currently at the Performing Arts Theater skillfully directed by Daniel Stein and superbly performed by a large cast, this play will leave you stunned. Through Feb. 25th https://secure.lsit.ucsb.edu/dram/d7/news/announcement/624