It seems that a number of previously ‘fringe’ cultural endeavours have become far more widely recognised and easily accessible to the public recently; I’ve already spoken about how every (wo)man and his dog is getting a tattoo as a fucking fashion statement lately. What I haven’t spoken about is that this ‘inking up’ is often part of a concerted push on behalf of the tattooed party to fit into a subculture that requires such a brand as a sign of their undying loyalty.

Three such subcultures are rockabilly, roller derby and burlesque. Although it’s by no means mandatory to be tattooed in order to immerse yourself in these pastimes, it certainly seems that they go hand in hand, like owning a Nissan Skyline and being a fuckhead do (for example). Today, I’ll focus solely on burlesque dancing; there will be time to discuss the intricacies of the other two much later.

Now, I’m skating on dangerously thin ice here for anyone reading this with a distinctly feminist slant to their outlook on life, so if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool, bra-burning, equal pay for women’s tennis players (despite only playing 3 sets instead of 5 in grand slam tournaments, horseshit) women’s liberation exponent, I suggest you shut the clamshell on your laptop and do something more useful with your Sunday afternoon, like shaving your underarms and/or finding yourself a husband before you age to the point where your ability to bear children is significantly diminished…

Mmm – Fairy Floss!

Awwww…. I’m sorry, alright, I didn’t mean it…

Burlesque, historically has referred to ‘… a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. The word derives from the Italian burlesco which itself derives from the Italian burla – ‘a joke, ridicule or mockery.’

More recently, the term has been utilised to describe shows in a variety show format, usually with a focus on bawdy female stripteases (basically chicks prancing around on a stage with a couple of peacock feathers in their hands, getting their tits out while some patently awful, ridiculously obscure 1930s jazz standard plays menacingly in the background). I’ve heard someone (I believe it was a burlesque performer, incidentally) refer to burlesque as, ‘a far more classy version of stripping, with REAL women instead of those fake, plastic bimbos you get at strip clubs.’

I see it a little differently. I see a bunch of fat birds mincing around on stage calling what they’re doing ‘art’ because they’re playing Pearl Bailey instead of Whitesnake (skip to 1.22 and you get the idea) while they get their kit off.

I mean, seriously, give me a fucking break. I can’t help but wonder if the same sort of encouragement and socially-acceptable justification would be available to a bunch of overweight men that decided to put on a strip-show in the ilk of ‘The Chippendales’ or similar. That’s definitely a rhetorical question, of course there fucking wouldn’t be. Nobody wants to see a bunch of pudgy men covered in copious amounts of canola oil gyrating around on a stage while Pony by Ginuwine plays seductively over the PA.

And female dancers are different, how? Oh, it’s the whole ‘self-esteem thing’ isn’t it?

Fuck off burlesque.

/end communication

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