Pygmalion PR

Throughout the entire duration of this course, no text makes me reflect the way Pygmalion has. The text invokes timeless themes, many of which I can easily identify with. These themes include “Middle class morality”, the mistreatment and objectification of women in society, and the self-supposed superiority that some hold over others. Pygmalion forced me to reflect not only on what I read, but also how I conduct myself. This text has provided an alternative perspective into subconscious and systematic biases in my own psyche. With brutal honesty, Pygmalion casts a light on the part of ourselves we choose not to realize, and forces us to confront our flawed thinking. Never has a text allowed me to feel this seen, and permitted me to address and reflect upon my own flaws.

From birth, the idea that it is wrong to judge others based off our first impressions of them, especially with regard to another’s appearance. However, the vast majority of individuals, myself included, victimize others with our premade notions and assumptions of their character, within seconds of seeing, interacting with, or even simply hearing another person. Pygmalion presents this bias in the third person, allowing for us to recognize and address a prejudice which we all possess,

“There’s menners f’yer. Tee-oo branches o voylets trod in the mad…She is not at all an attractive person. She is eighteen, perhaps twenty, hardly older…Her hair needs washing rather badly: its mousy coloring can hardly be natural…Her features are no worse than theirs; but their condition leaves something to be desired.”(pg. 2).

Mrs. Eynsyard-Hill and her daughter, Clara, are almost a comedic allegory for this bias. Two well-too-do women cast their judgment upon an unsuspecting girl, based upon nothing more than her looks and her spoken word. Through this third person perspective, this systematic error of thinking that each and everyone of us possesses is brought to light and mocked. We are able to see the damage that prejudices can do within seconds of interacting with someone. Further, our greatest collective fear with regards to this bias are demonstrated in the pair’s attitudes towards the girl, whose name is Eliza. This fear is that we are able to recognize that those who we unjustly judge are no different from ourselves, yet our biased judgements persist. This passage remains a pristine example of the unjust judgements that we burden others with. This forced me to honestly evaluate my demeanor upon making a first impression, and made me promise to myself to no longer allow flawed and discriminatory thinking plague my mind.

These judgments, when widely held within a society, can pass irreparable and lasting damage to those who fall victim to them. Over time, this causes innocent individuals to view themselves as “lesser than”, and forces them to live and hold themselves to the standards of those who judge them. this so-called, “middle-class morality”, is a recurring theme throughout the text, and is best demonstrated in the following passage,

“Have you no morals man?”

“Can’t afford them, governor. Neither could you if you were as poor as me. Not that I mean any harm, you know. But if Liza is going to have a but of this, why not me too?”(pg. 27).

Alfred Doolittle is the personified victimhood experienced by those who have unjust judgement cast upon them. He feels as though he has no clear place inn a society that makes it clear he is unwanted. The society in which he lives discriminates against him for his profession, speech, behavior, demeanor, and appearance. This single passage is the most profound and personally striking piece of text I have read during the duration of this entire course. The presentation of the implications of my own systematic errors in thinking have shown me a final perspective into the lives of those who are the most affected by society’s prejudice. This character made me look the consequences of my biases in the face, and most vitally, address them in an honest manner.