Nativity shmativity

This is a guest post by Charlotte Cooper, the art director of Subtext Magazine

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat and then mass slaughtered because of bird flu. Amongst the hustle and bustle of newspapers reporting political correctness gone mad at this time of year, Liverpool is bucking the trend and performing the Nativity play.

Screened on BBC3, 8pm on December 16th, Europe’s Capital of Culture will be hoping to draw the crowds that Manchester Passion enticed and beam the results to seasonal viewers at home. And so, for the scrooge-like types out there who wish to denounce this month long consumer fest here’s a few reasons to say no to Nativity.

The Nativity reinforces a pro-life message; when Mary becomes unexpectedly pregnant (God impregnates the young woman without her consent, or even her knowledge) She has to except his will for a child and carry it to term.

The Nativity reinforces ideas of the male heir; King Herod is only scared of young men being born and so slaughters all he can find to keep his crown. God wants a baby boy and uses Christmas magic to achieve this.

Performances of the Nativity work in the favour of the stereotypical pretty young girl aesthetic rewarding them with roles as Mary and the Star of Bethlehem. All other young women are cast as faceless angels or forced to don beard and tea towel to make a stage presence.

Although the Liverpool nativity promises to update the story to a 2007 setting, for example recasting of Herod as a young woman (Herodia), I doubt we shall see a young baby girl born as God on Earth (Jesusia). Another example of women being short-changed I’m sure you’ll agree.

Photo by iluvcicacola, shared under a Creative Commons license