Burlesque

You know what really cocks me off? Other than hippies, drum ‘n’ bass and Brick Lane, that is. Burlesque. What the fuck is that all about? My sources tell me we’re in the midst of a burlesque revival. Where did it start? I don’t know. I wasn’t paying attention. But if goth-gobbling knicker hanger Dita von Teese was the germ of the tumour, the first annual London Burlesque Festival seems to represent its unqualified metastasization.

Don’t get me wrong. They’re probably a really nice bunch of guys (and gals, though it’s worth noting that their head honcho is a bloke) but ever since they formalized the miasmic coagulation of what had once been a pretty disparate, minority interest scene, the rest of us have had nothing but titty tassels thrust in our faces. This is not a good thing.

Burlesque is not in any way empowering. It does not give women the freedom to reclaim their bodies. Get this: you cannot be a feminist if you objectify your own body. If you’re up on a stage screaming ‘look at me’ you are not empowered, you are desperate — at best for attention, at worst, acceptance. Don’t try and tell me you’re a performer, or an entertainer, or even a dancer. You’re a stripper. Deal with it.

The reclamation of burlesque as an innocent exploration of feminine sexuality is a fantasy dreamed up by a post-feminist collective consciousness that has sublimated the pornographic urge of the male psyche into the supposed ‘empowerment’ of dominance via sexual means. Yet objectification it remains.

burlesque

Girls on stage, think about it for a minute. Do you think anyone would want to see you get ‘em out if you were old, ugly, or morbidly obese?

No.

The world of burlesque is more inclusive than the sex industry. It has a few professionals and a hell of a lot of amateurs. You don’t need to be a pneumatic blonde or be willing to have a German shit on your chest to do it. Yes, women of varying shapes and sizes can perform, but is there anything more depressing than the stubby, slightly overweight one at the end parading around in stockings and suspenders like a closet tranny in front of a Travelodge mirror? The facts are inescapable. This sort of performance is predicated on the objectification of the female body. The fact the power dynamic has shifted away from the audience and towards the performer changes nothing. Burlesque demeans women.

Case in point, the hideous little troll I overheard down my local boozer last week telling two men about how she was a burlesque dancer, explaining (in some detail) her act. The poor thing would have looked vile even in a burlap sack if I had a paper bag over my head. Yet she seemed sensible, articulate and personable — valuable qualities in any person, let alone a potential partner. Why, then, did she feel the need to get up on the stage and do the tassel routine (always with the fucking tassels, don’t you people do anything else?). She, too, had bought into the great con that self-esteem comes not from a contentment with our own appearance (and personality) but from the approbation of others. It’s a tragedy that the way she chose to make herself feel better sets the cause of women’s liberation back every time she disrobes on stage.

Spreading out from our glorious capital city like an unacknowledged fart gently wafting through the room, burlesque has become big business, spawning regular club nights and a host of ‘professionals’ offering lessons in ‘the art of tease’ country-wide. Ultimately, it is a lie. I’m no feminist. I’m a man. I like seeing women take their clothes off. But why women would want to do this for peer acceptance is frankly baffling. We are all of us sexual beings. But do we need to get up on the stage to prove it?

So go on, girls. Flaunt that funky stuff. Does it make you feel big? Does it make up for being teased or shy or geeky in school? Fuck the lot of you. If you want to argue about it you’ll find me down the Clerkenwell Titty Bar, watching girls demean themselves for loose change. At least it’s honest. Who are you people trying to kid?

Chad Fanstor

17 Comments

  1. JJ says:

    This is funny. But not as funny as the fact women are getting their Bristols out in the name of feminism. I, like most men, am laughing all the way to the wank bank.

    Don’t spoil it for the rest of us, Fanstor.

  2. sian says:

    i agree. burlesque is symptomatic of the rise in ranch culture. ive talked to a burlesque dancer about it, and she said it was empowering, and i can see how you could get a kick out of feeling confident enough with your body to flaunt it on stage. but we have so sublimated the male gaze in to our own female psyches that burlesque suggests that the only way to express sexuality is through the male gaze.
    that sounds a bit confused sorry! hungover on friday morning at work…
    empowerment cannot come through performing in the confines of the male gaze, in short!

  3. sian says:

    “raunch” – not “ranch” sorry

  4. sherry says:

    Fanstor, you’ll have to excuse me for i am a yank (live across the pond). i get what your saying that the girls are passing off burlesque as still trying to get guys to gaze at them, attention etc. but gee bro tell us how you really feel!

    I love it, and yes it does have a very racy and raunchy past, but why knock somebody or persons that want go that route or yes, shake it down on stage.

    there ARE some–fans and performers alike–who see beyong the asthetic and bring more thought and intellect to it.

    i would give your web addresses, but you’ll probably go into a rampage out in the street–and your head will explode.

  5. The Nozzle says:

    Fucking Americans.

  6. lady says:

    Came across this article-Im glad someone has finally taken the words right out of my mouth.
    Everytime I go to a show of some sort there is ALWAYS some flat chested skinny girl that hasn’t even grown into the body of a woman yet or it’s the complete opposite of that-an overgrown woman with lopsided breasts and tacky tattoos all over herself, pushing 30 or already over it, doing some crap burlesque. I get it. You want everyone to look at you and your photos. You think you’re spectacular and you want everyone else to feel that way too. You also bomb our social networks with your retarded “fan” pages. Sooner than later the new “fetish” or taboo thing will be for ladies that keep their clothes on and have not a speck of ink. Then what will you do? By the way, I am from America and I am a female, who is tired of this bullshit.

  7. annonomys says:

    YES!!! HAHA

  8. erik the viking says:

    @Lady
    I came late to this party but, thank you Lady for speaking for me 🙂 I love this article as well. Lady must be speaking about Scrappy Calloway or crappy calloway, she now goes by Melody Sweets 37 years old damn near 40, face full of botox couln’ t make it as a pop singer, ended up in vegas can’t sing worth shit, never developed into a woman , has the body of a ten year old boy, fugly looking but, still delusional that she is hot and twenty.

  9. Salsadistic says:

    Totally agree !!

  10. Bri says:

    I have been a burlesque producer for 10 years. I agree completely with this article. The girls I have worked with used every excuse to be nasty and rude primadonas because *gasp* people know them from dive bars and sucker venues that booked them. Their lack of self esteem is played out through stripping but they claim its not stripping. Its not show biz. Its an excuse.

  11. mia says:

    I agree with the article and most of them are fugly flat chested tards who think they’re not stripping

  12. gene says:

    to erik the viking, I saw that trick! MS also likes to pretend she is some sort of a fake-lesbian retard so that she can turn men on, but I be she doesn’t like females very much because they’re competition, it seems, bitch likes to flood her fan pages with pictures of everything she shoves in her mouth to the last glittery turd she shit last night, she is a nasty diva whose narcissistic personality disorder will hit her hard one day when her face starts to fall apart and the botox no longer works, and yes the bitch needs a serious boob job!

  13. Ihatethatbitch says:

    Read this article about Melody Sweets she doesn’t want people to know her real name or age, what? She thinks she is never going to age? With fame comes scrutiny and criticism. I used to go to school with her. She is about 35 her real name is Stephanie Calloway

    http://vegasseven.com/ae/2013/01/17/singer-songwriter-stripper#comment-form

    She also likes to talk shit about her audience in interviews she says this guy wouldn’t bite off her glove off properly or some shit, so she badmouths him in an interview. I love how this bitch talks bad about the very audience who are paying GOOD money to see her crappy little show and flat little tits, instead of being a narcissistic little bitch she should be grateful to the people that come see her performance be it man or woman and not treat people like they are below her.

    http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/news/2013/jan/16/talking-burlesque-and-odd-audiences-melody-sweets/

  14. slappy happy says:

    I am also sick and tired of hearing these delusional ugly women with no self esteem try to defend this so called “art form” that is nothing but a glamorized version of stripping. Empowering? My ass! I’m sorry but I don’t feel so empowered when I’m parading around naked in a g-string like a trained dog while men hauler at me, that just makes me a rape target, not empowered. Learn some form of mixed martial arts, like Muay Thai, I did. When you learn how to beat the shit out of a man that could possibly rape you come back and tell me again how empowered you feel by doing Whorelesque.

  15. Jean-Paul DuQuette says:

    Yep. As much as I love my burlesque-loving friends, I think this pretty much nails my disgust with the current revival.

  16. BurlyQuestion says:

    I love burlesque! But it’s ok if you don’t.. It’s shouldn’t really offend you so much to be mean about us burlesque dancers. I’m not here to be mean about you not liking burlesque. I know you were trying to be intimidating and rhetorical but I’ll answer them as if they were real questions asked with an o

    “Does it make you feel big?”

    Yes. It makes me happy. It’s fun. People who buy tickets to my shows have fun too.. Otherwise they wouldn’t have bought them. Duh.

    Does it make up for being teased or shy or geeky in school?

    I’m not sure what that has to do with anything… I wasn’t teased in school and even though I’m shy sometimes I’ve never been hung up about it because it’s never gotten in the way of anything. Wasn’t geeky. Maybe more of a nerd.. but I don’t see why getting good grades has to do with my love of burlesque.

    Fuck the lot of you.

    I’m not sure anyone of us would like to fuck you.. You’re kinda mean.

    If you want to argue about it you’ll find me down the Clerkenwell Titty Bar, watching girls demean themselves for loose change. At least it’s honest.

    Have fun. Have you ever told a stripper you go in to “watch the girls demean themselves for loose change”? You should “be honest” and see what happens to you.

    Who are you people trying to kid?

    Nobody. Not even you. Burlesque makes us happy 🙂

  17. BurlyQuestion says:

    I love burlesque! But it’s ok if you don’t.. It’s shouldn’t really offend you so much to be mean about us burlesque dancers. I’m not here to be mean about you not liking burlesque. I know you were trying to be intimidating and rhetorical but I’ll answer them as if they were real questions asked with an open mind: