Saturday, 3 April 2010

Burlesque Under Fire!

I consider myself to be a feminist, believing strongly in equality and a better deal for both women and men. I'm a member of the Fawcett Society, have a keen grasp of the key texts and know my gender history. So, I was disappointed to read a brief but pointed attack on burlesque when reading 'Living Dolls: The New Sexism' by Natasha Walter, British writer and campaigner. (which otherwise I found quite thought provoking and relevant) Blink and you'd miss it, but the page and a half largely focuses on Immodesty Blaize, indirectly criticising her for saying burlesque can be empowering. The second half talks to one ex-performer who took to the stage successfully several times before deciding it wasn't for her. It appears that Walter had never attended a burlesque event herself, or spoken to any professionals, or enthusiasts. Without getting too far into the topic, my own personal opinion is that for those who are interested, neo-burlesque offers a positive way to honour the female form, in all shapes and sizes. Just take a look at the beautiful diversity in the recently published Top 50 Burlesque Performers list published by 21st Century Pin Ups. At the events themselves, aside from audiences being largely female, the viewers role is to cheer the performer on in support and in exchange, they are entertained (in a vast variety of ways) and often titillated. For me, an equal society does not mean one without eroticism and celebration of the female (or male) form, which is what Walter seems to imply. What a dreary world that would be! My intention is never to make this a political blog, but I wanted to put in my humble 2 pence worth, so there you go :)