Last weekend I went to see the amazing National Theatre production of Jane Eyre. I have already written about it here staffrm.io/@lenabellina/gUueiq...
But for #womenedwednesday, I wanted to write another short thought burst.
Jane has been described as a feminist icon, a girl and woman who shows outstanding resilience and achieves success against the odds. The play version opens and closes with the line "it's a girl" the first time heralding Jane's birth and the second the birth of her daughter.
Jane's story gives hope to women everywhere that they can challenge convention and find contentment if they follow their hearts. There is no convenient marriage to a pastor for her because she refuses to compromise and accept less than she will be satisfied with.
However, the story gives hope to men everywhere too. I read the book of Jane Eyre aged 13 and cannot remember my reaction back then to Mr Rochester. Possibly the play version portrays him in a way that the book does not. But in watching the play, I felt equally inspired by his story as by Jane's because he too fights against convention and shows a vulnerability that must have been uncommon for a man of his era. He is certainly flawed and has made some potentially catastrophic mistakes in his life. Possibly the hardest to forgive is his attempt to marry Jane without telling her about his marriage to Bertha and were it not for the subsequent reversal of fortunes, we may judge him rather more harshly.
But as it is, he is presented as a sensitive, vulnerable and above all loving man who breaks the mould of masculinity, recognises his flaws and follows his heart.
Yes, then, in Jane Eyre we find a female role model who shows
strength and fights to become all she can be. But we also get a glimpse of the type of man who will support a women in that fight and allows her to be the passionate, flawed and authentic.
That's pretty #heforshe if you ask me.