Burlesque dancing...?

(195 Posts)
whatdoesittake48 Mon 21-Oct-13 08:19:17

In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that I have signed up to do one of these courses. But I am already torn about what this means as a feminist.

I like the idea of doing something out of my comfort zone and having fun while doing it. But I am anti-porn, see striptease as demeaning for women and do not think that women should be expected to perform for men....

Unless it is their husband/partner and they absolutely are keen themselves.

My husband is very keen for me to give this a go - but in no way did he push the idea. I searched it out. What does this say about my principles and am I over thinking this.

I hate all this empowerment bullshit - stripping for men is not about empowerment. But is it different when it is for the man you love. Isn't that just carrying on the image that men love to see women doing this kind of thing. Do the men think their wives look powerful and sexy or do they think she is doing something for me because I am the "special" one and more important.

Aaargh! I really want to do this because I think it will be a great female bonding thing - but not sure if I want to bring it home to my husband. I will feel deeply uncomfortable with the idea of putting on a show...

LaRegina Mon 21-Oct-13 10:49:56

NeoFaust WTAF? shock

CuttedUpPear Mon 21-Oct-13 10:54:18

Control of what, Neofaust?
And what would one do with this 'control'?

MadBannersAndCopPorn Mon 21-Oct-13 10:56:17

Degrading other women by judging them based on looks could be seen as un-feminist i.e. fat, goths. If I were to go to burlesque lessons I doubt I would show my dp my moves when I came home. It would be about dressing up and learning a new skill whilst having a giggle with all sorts of women fat, middle class, gothic or otherwise.

SoWhatSoWhatSoWhat Mon 21-Oct-13 11:00:42

Perhaps I'd be less against the idea of being a Burlesque performer if I could pick out the male audience member I most fancied and take him home afterwards.

But it doesn't work like that for women, does it? By actually having sex with him, you'd be losing 'control'. And, after a short time, get a 'reputation'. And get called all sorts of nasty names, by men and women.

If you're a burlesque performer, all that effort getting dressed up, fluffing about while 'keeping control' then not being able to carry it through afterwards must leave you feeling pretty frustrated.

Grennie Mon 21-Oct-13 11:06:24

Yes the only "control" you have is to grant or withhold sex with a man who is turned on. That is not real control or power. And actually just reinforces the idea that women are primarily sex objects.

AutumnMadness Mon 21-Oct-13 11:06:55

I would say that you can present a naked body publicly in different ways and assign different meanings to it. Stripping for titillation of men is not empowering and frankly creepy. Using a body to communicate joy, inspiration, beauty and strength is different. I don't know much about burlesque beyond seeing some performances. Some I found frankly crap others were inspiring. But I do believe that it is not the easiest form of dance as getting your kit of in a meaningful way is not an easy thing. The body has to go with brains.

I do know something about belly dance, however. It is in a somewhat similar but not nearly as contentious position as burlesque. And there is a world of difference between this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYO2FZCYpT8

and this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VThorc5W3lQ

MurderOfBanshees Mon 21-Oct-13 11:08:57

Burlesque's history is quite interesting, as it started off as satire (that's what Burlesque actually means) then evolved into mostly stripping purely for titillation/arousal, then got discarded in favour of what we now think of as stripping (lap dancing, pole dancing etc). Then vanished for ages. Then was brought back by people who wanted to make a point about women being expected to look a standard way - skinny, fake boobs etc - and the actual stripping side of Burlesque was very much secondary to the satire/dancing/comedy side. Then of course it got quite mainstream and the satire and all of that got taken out again, so it became just stripping again. Obviously there are some who've carried on with the comedy/clever side, but they've been diluted quite heavily by the huge influx of women in their underwear grinding.

Suspect it'll vanish from mainstream view again, and then repeat.

FWIW I have seen some truly brilliant performances from Burlesquers that contain little to no stripping, whether it's absolutely beautiful and technically amazing dancing, to fantastic comedy, to clever satire, to those making a feminist point through a combination of the above. Have also seen a lot more male performers getting involved.

Grennie Mon 21-Oct-13 11:11:13

Being naked is not the issue. I went to Michigan Womens Festival were some women walk around naked and there are quite a lot of topless women. It felt perfectly fine and not at all creepy. But those women were not walking around to be sexually titillating. They were walking around naked because they were hot, because they wanted to feel the sun and wind on their body, etc.

Grennie Mon 21-Oct-13 11:13:58

"Then was brought back by people who wanted to make a point about women being expected to look a standard way - skinny, fake boobs etc -"

The only point this makes is that fat women, women with small breasts, etc, can be sexually objectified too. Not the kind of point I am interested in supporting.

MurderOfBanshees Mon 21-Oct-13 11:16:50

SoWhat Guess it depends what you are hoping to achieve, most performers I know do Burlesque for the sheer love of getting up on stage and being entertaining. It's not sexual for anyone I know.

MurderOfBanshees Mon 21-Oct-13 11:18:10

Grennie And that's fair enough, was just explaining the reasoning behind it.

AngryFrank Mon 21-Oct-13 11:19:38

Now correct me if i am wrong, but isn't Burlesque normally performed to a predominately female audience? I didn't think many blokes were into it.

Grennie Mon 21-Oct-13 11:20:15

Ok Murder. But of course burlesque is sexual for much of the audience watching it.

MurderOfBanshees Mon 21-Oct-13 11:20:46

Angry IME yes, in all the shows I've been to the audience has been heavily female, usually only token men in the audience (usually dragged there by a partner)

MurderOfBanshees Mon 21-Oct-13 11:22:48

I don't know that it is sexual for much of the audience, obviously I cannot speak for the whole audience, but from the people I know who go to Burlesque shows it is not a sexual thing.

AutumnMadness Mon 21-Oct-13 11:24:42

Grennie, you are assuming that the purpose of burlesque is always sexual titillation. But is it always so?

And I feel that we do not need proof that fat women with small boobs can be sexually objectified. They already are and it's rather commonplace. It's just a slightly different form of objectification. They are perceived as negative sexual objects, not worth of a fuck.

2tired4internets Mon 21-Oct-13 11:26:48

Thanks to this thread I had a lightbulb moment. When people say that stripping (note I'm not talking about satirical burlesque here) empowers women, they actually mean empowers men.
The male viewer gets to experience the pleasant feeling of being catered to and turned on, all while comfortably sitting there wearing clothes and not participating. Stripping = male empowerment.

Grennie Mon 21-Oct-13 11:27:26

Promoting the idea of fat women as positive sexual objects worth the fuck, is hardly liberating.

I have been to 1 burlesque show, the majority of the audience were lesbians. And I know some were there to be sexually titillated. Maybe it is a more acceptable form of stripping for lesbians and Het women to attend? And plenty of Het women get turned on by other women.

AutumnMadness Mon 21-Oct-13 11:37:20

Grennie, judging something solely on the basis of how it is perceived (by some) and to the exclusion of how it was intended makes me uncomfortable.

MissHC Mon 21-Oct-13 11:39:30

I love watching burlesque. The ones we've been to (yes, I booked the tickets and dragged DP along) have been more about the music, performance and humour than about stripping.

I have also seen some strippers (both female and male) before and I find there's quite a big difference between them. I find stripping (no matter which gender) very uncomfortable to watch.

The one male stripper I enjoyed was a guy who did a whole performance with flames and hung in the air on ropes - but again, that was mainly an amazing acrobatic performance rather than just stripping. DP was with me and he said it was fantastic to watch.

DP's been on quite a few stag do's with the obligatory strippers involved, and he finds it boring (and I actually believe him). Only ones he says he enjoys are ones that actually DO something - e.g. very good pole dancing (which, if done properly, is a rather difficult sport to master).

Anyway, I don't find "proper" burlesque degrading to women. Stripping, yes, but I find that degrading no matter what gender you are. However OP, if you're not comfortable with it, just don't do it.

Cybercat Mon 21-Oct-13 11:40:52

I have done a burlesque course purely for fun and DH and I go to local burlesque nights. Yes there are occasional acts where it is clear that the performer wants to be seen as sexy but to be honest the majority of them have been pure comedy. The audience at my local is predominantly female with some couples (hetero & lesbian) and varying numbers of transvestites. It is the most accepting place, it doesnt matter who you are and as well as the usual comedy acts there is a good mix of other
stuff such as hula and sword balancing. True burlesque is very different to the seedy type that low rate clubs offer. Although there are less of them there are a number of boylesque performers now - youtube Flixx Demontrant to see his brilliant Frog Prince act.

Cybercat Mon 21-Oct-13 11:40:53

I have done a burlesque course purely for fun and DH and I go to local burlesque nights. Yes there are occasional acts where it is clear that the performer wants to be seen as sexy but to be honest the majority of them have been pure comedy. The audience at my local is predominantly female with some couples (hetero & lesbian) and varying numbers of transvestites. It is the most accepting place, it doesnt matter who you are and as well as the usual comedy acts there is a good mix of other
stuff such as hula and sword balancing. True burlesque is very different to the seedy type that low rate clubs offer. Although there are less of them there are a number of boylesque performers now - youtube Flixx Demontrant to see his brilliant Frog Prince act.

Cybercat Mon 21-Oct-13 11:43:53

Apologies for the double post.

Biggedybiggedybongsoitis Mon 21-Oct-13 12:40:24

Do it, then blame the patriarchy. Win-win.

Grennie Mon 21-Oct-13 12:42:17

OP can do whatever she wants Biggedy.

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