This Harvard theater group will finally allow women to perform, and it only took 223 years
Naming Mila Kunis as its Woman of the Year is apparently the straw that broke the sexist camel’s back for the Harvard theater group Hasty Pudding. Because during its celebration of Kunis as Woman of the Year, Hasty Pudding Theatricals announced it will finally allow women to perform after 223 years.
Some students at Harvard University were hoping that Kunis would not accept the Woman of the Year award from Hasty Pudding because of its unfair treatment of women. Although female students can be involved behind the scenes, the group has never allowed women to participate in its performances.
But at the January 25th ceremony for Kunis, the student president of Hasty Pudding announced that women will be permitted to perform starting next year.
Established in 1795, Hasty Pudding Theatricals has put on a student-written show every year since 1844 (except during World Wars I and II). It’s a burlesque-style show with men dressing in drag to portray the female characters. While women have been able to audition as a form of protest, they were never cast. But in 2019, that will change.
Kunis, who has been activist for gender equality in the workplace, accepted the Woman of the Year award as numerous other esteemed female celebrities — like Helen Mirren, Anne Hathaway, and Kerry Washington — have since 1951.
After being honored by the Harvard group, during a Q&A, Kunis explained her stance on Hasty Pudding’s decision to cast women from here on out.
Kunis then went on to criticize a Boston Globe columnist for writing that she shouldn’t accept the Woman of the Year award, and said it would be better if the columnist had asked her to take a stance rather than to not show up. The actress also defended Hasty Pudding for being “forward-thinking for many years” and credited the students in the organization for making this change occur.
It’s debatable how “forward-thinking” Hasty Pudding Theatricals has been throughout its long history, but this change is definitely welcomed by many people involved in the group and beyond. And though Kunis seemed tired of talking about the sexism controversy on this fun occasion honoring her, she will now always be associated with this monumental shift for the Harvard theater group.