By now I’m sure you’ve all heard of Mya Kagan who is heading the project “Submitting like a Man” in which she re-submits previously rejected plays under the pen name of Max as an experiment and insight into gender bias. This is, obviously, a great initiative and potentially very illuminating to the issues of sexism in an industry that champions itself on equality and universal storytelling.
I recently read her sixth installment on the blog posts in which she addresses reader’s concerns about how long/to what extent will she carry on the ‘Max’ name if one of her plays were to be accepted. In short, she says she will play it by ear but in all likely hood would have to reveal fairly early in order to navigate logistical concerns. This all makes sense to me.
My bigger problem is actually that she is already blogging about this. In documenting her journey from the beginning and choosing to publish as she goes I think she is actually compromising the project. It has gained enough traction that most likely the people looking at accepting her plays know that she is only switching Mya for Max.She might have avoided this conundrum if she has kept the name a secret but now that all cards are on the table there is an added dynamic I dont think Mya is accounting for.
If her plays get accepted or rejected there is the possibility that was done with the project in mind. Should they be accepted and she revealed her name, there is the pressure to keep the project going, should they be rejected despite otherwise being accepted this means that its possible the company did so in order to avoid involvement and bad press from the project. And so she’s created a catch 22 for herself.
Now, it really doesn’t do much good to critique her actions at this point in the progression. The intent remains and there is always the possibility that the groups reviewing her plays have no idea what they’re participating in and so the integrity stands. Either way, I do look forward to seeing how things pan out.