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.

1 comment:

  1. Taking belly dance was a similarly liberating experience for me. I became so proud of my belly for working so hard that I almost got my belly button pierced, so I could buy it jewelry. The one day I got my courage up to do so, though, the piercer was closed.

    But yeah--I went to an all day workshop once in the summer in New Orleans. Despite the A/C, it still got pretty oppressive in the studio, and eventually I got over my insecurity, and tucked my shirt up, exposing my midriff. Nothing bad happened; no one even noticed, as body types of all sorts are acceptable. It was quite exhilarating.