Thursday, February 21, 2013

Feminist burlesque

A couple of weeks ago, I went to my first burlesque show. Two of my good friends took a burlesque class, and this was their graduation performance. The closest I had come in the past to burlesque was when I saw a production of Cabaret.

It wasn't what I expected. It was playful and fun, not very erotic at all. Yes, the ladies disrobed as they danced, but I wouldn't call it stripping. Most impressive of all to me was the attitude the ladies showed to their bodies.

I don't often get to see women's naked (or mostly naked) bodies. When I'm at the gym, I politely turn away from other women who are changing. I watch women's clothed bodies, or more accurately how they look in their clothes--really, I'm looking at the clothes. But this was very different.

These bodies were all imperfect. They had squishy stomachs and breasts that weren't perky, but they were beautiful. Why? Because they owned their bodies. They took pleasure in flaunting them, in cavorting and teasing. It was an affirming, feminist act. In the end, I felt better about my own body and about the prospect of aging with style.