Burlesque? No Thanks.
1913 - Suffragette activist Emily Wilding Davison throws herself under the Kings Horse in protest of Parliaments decision not to allow women the right to vote.
2010 - Women entertain city boys by taking their clothes off to a vintage record.
Something doesn't quite add up there for me, over a 100 years ago women were violently & passionately protesting for equal rights often loosing their lives, jobs & families, all for the right to have their say about their future - fast forward to the 21st century and have we taken two steps back?
For those of you who haven't encountered a burlesque show it usually consists of a performer seductively removing their clobber using a feather boa, fan or possibly something a little more conceptual if there's a gimmick involved, the big revel comes at the end when she/he flashes their mammary glands at you but their nipples are covered in something fancy -yes it can be a little more complex than this but you get the gist.
For months I've been banging on about my disgust in its popularity on the London cabaret scene, your never more than 6ft away from a burlesquer in this town and personally I couldn't sit through another karaoke version of a well known song with a 'fascinator'. The harder and longer I thought about my stance on this the more confused I got, surely feminists around the world are in support of the resurgence of bra-less women liberated by their bodies? What gives me the right to comment on how people earn a living? I'm hardly the measure of moral guidance. I think my problem may lie in the exploitation of women on the circuit, new comers are often ripped off, fee's disappear and I've been told stories of ladies paying for the privilege of stage time.
I spent my early career working for a womens lib theatre company where I was educated about my fore-sisters and the importance of equal rights and burlesque just doent sit right with me, isnt it just the same as stripping or (for effect) prostitution? A strong statement i know but badly paid women, heckled by pissed up punters, taking their clothes of for the sexual gratification of others isnt what I feel should be the common denominator of cabaret. Cabaret should be progressive, political and sometimes pretentious... am i being a little bit BBC about this whole thing? at the end of the day I suppose Its just not my cup of tea.
Burlesque? No Thanks.