She's hit the news after complaining that there are more roles for men than women in Shakespeare's plays. Her solution is to have the European Union pass laws requiring that theatre companies employ exactly equal numbers of men and women, which would then require "gender blind" casting for roles (i.e. gender wouldn't be taken into account when casting for plays, so that you might end up with a male Juliet and a female Romeo):
Probably the European Union will legislate soon and ... I would imagine, somebody’s going to be shaming the theatre.
They should be just told that they have to have a 50/50 employment spread, then work out how to do the plays.
If that means some gender-blind casting, some all-female, some all-male, it’s not rocket science, and I think they could have some fun
Phyllida is herself a lesbian, which goes part of the way in explaining her enthusiasm for gender bending in the theatre. But her demands do fit in with the liberal idea that our sex, as a predetermined quality, should be made not to matter.
Which brings me to Virginia Valian, an American academic. She believes that women are held back in life by feminine qualities (particularly by nurturing tendencies), but she accepts that such qualities do have at least some basis in biology. So what then is the solution? She believes that despite being grounded in biology our sex can still be made not to matter. We just have to fight biological sex the same way we fight biological disease:
We don’t accept biology as destiny…. We vaccinate, we inoculate, we medicate.... I propose we adopt the same attitude toward biological sex differences.
She doesn't celebrate biological sex differences, she wants to eradicate them as if they were a disease. Note too that familiar complaint about womanhood being a "biological destiny" (rather than a self-created one).
Finally, the Valian quote comes from an article by Christina Hoff Sommers that is worth reading. It discusses the efforts being made in Sweden to dissolve sex distinctions, including the revised reading list at one Stockholm preschool:
Classic fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White have been replaced by tales of two male giraffes who parent abandoned crocodile eggs.