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Burlesque is Bullshit

They wanted me to can-can, To get in lines and show some skin
They wanted to make sure I knew, The pecking order I was in...
A revival of burlesque in vaudeville, What's next? A revival of black face?
Just because burlesque was part of vaudeville's past,
Is no excuse for reviving that disgrace...
Burlesque is Bullshit
(or They Wanted Me To Can-Can)
By Kirsten Anderberg
Written March 15, 2007

(This poem is dedicated to the hopes that someday girls can be free of this crap...)

They wanted me to can-can
To get in lines and show some skin
They wanted to make sure I knew
The pecking order I was in

The difference between pole dancers
And "aerial" acts by women, on ropes,
In lingerie, fishnets and high heels
Is a very fine line, at best
Can-can, porn, or burlesque
It's all about exploiting women's breasts

She'd been a shy girl yet was an exhibitionist at heart
Tried as she did, she could never land a leading part
But then she put on lingerie, got with the program
Started doing the splits in the air
Above men in her underwear

They applauded as she arched her back
Exposing her scantily clad chest
They "oohed" with her splits overhead
And told her it was her skill and strength
They admired and adored
But they liked it best
When she dressed like a "whore"

Burlesque is having a "revival"
And polyfidelity too
It's a wonderful time to be a man
P.C. harem fantasies and pole dancing for you!
Tell the women it is their liberation
To be the "dirty girls" on display
Tell the women it is half-naked and sexy
For which the audiences today pay

They say that burlesque is cute or funny
They say it is innocent play
They say it is hard work and feminism
Yet it stinks of the sexism of yesterday!

A revival of burlesque in vaudeville
What's next? A revival of black face?
Just because burlesque was part of vaudeville's past
Is no excuse for reviving that disgrace

I was a star in vaudeville
But my feminism I could not hide
Get in my underwear and dance for the men?
I'd rather give up the stage and retain my pride.

homepage: homepage: http://www.kirstenanderberg.com


yeah wonderful 18.Mar.2007 15:32

wanna switch?

> And polyfidelity too
> It's a wonderful time to be a man
> P.C. harem fantasies and pole dancing for you!

It's enormously easier for women to get dates from men than vice versa. This is so obvious it shouldn't have to be brought up. The average guy affected by the polyfidelity movement is not the sheik in the story, he's in the harem, the girlfriend juggling two regular boyfriends and a new number three every week, and all the guy has to show for it is theoretically being "available," just like if he was single, "fantasies" and more nights open to do laundry.

down with uncle tommi and stephanie fetchit 20.Mar.2007 17:56

been there done that

Thanks for the poem, Kirsten. Like Yoko Ono and John Lennon sang, "Woman is the nigger of the world / we make her paint her face and dance."

When I was young I was an "everything but" girl having non-penis-in-vagina penetrative threesomes with boys and calling myself a virgin because according to patriarchy's slippery terms I was technically a virgin and I needed to hold on to that so I didn't feel like a slut. Boys and men still thought I was a slut and treated me as one instead of with the human respect and admiration I deserved.

Burlesque is another form of this "technical non-slut" trap at play. Women who don't want to consider themselves strippers get on stages dressed in stripper-gear like corsets, fishnets, slathered on makeup, etc. and do every movement a stripper does but with two square inches of nipple flesh covered so they can say they're technically burlesque performers, not mere run-o-the-mill strippers. They dress like strippers, perform like strippers, and pose like strippers but so long as the patriarchal mandate of covered nipples is technically adhered to with pasties the women can lie to themselves that it's burlesquey performance art and not just plain old stripping with covered nipples.

Folks, there are no threesome-having technical virgins and there are no corset-waisted, fishnet-wearing, thonged-ass but pasty-covered non-stripper performance artistes. In the same vein, hookers not kissing tricks is not evidence of the ability of prostituted women to set the boundaries tricks will respect just like setting any other arbitrary line like no namecalling or no fingering does not un-whore strippers in the eyes of men. These are all ways for women to internally lessen the painful cognitive dissonance that comes from knowing men demand and reward women who act like fuck-hungry whores at the same time men hate women and punish women who act like fuck-hungry whores.

Tasteless Stripping vs. The Art of Burlesque 22.Jul.2007 01:01

Lolita L'Amour

Once upon a time, I let men walk all over me. I would sleep with any thing that moved and showed even a remote interest in me. I loathed myself, thought I was worthless, and worst of all I believed that I was unattractive unless a man wanted to sleep with me. I had extremely low self esteem.

Then one day I went to a burlesque show. I saw women who looked like me, who were built like me, but they didn't seem to need a mans approval to be confident. As a matter of fact, most of the audience was made up of women. I decided then and there that I wanted to be involved in burlesque.

I started out as a stage hand, a "pick-up artist" if you will. I didn't have to strip, and I got more stage time than most of the performers. Being on stage helped me become much more self confident. Eventually I did begin performing, and to this day, about 80% of my audience is female. I find burlesque to be quite empowering, because it helped me accept myself the way I am, and because my female fans find my performances and self assuredness to help them accept themselves. I have learned that no woman ever needs a mans approval.

Now it's true that burlesque is stripping, to a point. I personally have no problem with nudity and would perform with out my pasties if the laws in my state permitted it. However, I like my pasties because I can spin tassels with them, which is something that one just can not do with a bare nipple. Not only that, but I don't have to go hustle to make money. I don't have to grind on any nasty mans lap or dance on any dirty guys table. That kind of thing doesn't take any talent. Most of the burlesque performers I know (myself included) are trained dancers.

Oh, and then there's the subject of money. Strippers make money. Burlesque performers don't. What money we get is usually spent on costuming, which can be quite elaborate and expensive. A lot of us make our costumes, and I honestly don't know any strippers who are willing to put that much time and thought into any lap dance.

I understand some people don't approve of burlesque, and don't see it as any thing other than stripping. But to a real burlesque performer the time and energy spent on just one act, from concept to costuming to choreography to the final product, makes it so much more. It is our art. I won't argue that it's feminism, but it has truly freed me.


Whoa 19.Aug.2007 00:22

peacheskeen pea_chee_keen@hotmail.com

I love the fact that you have no problem calling these women 'whores', like that is going to really help them make the decision to take pride in themselves and their abilities to do other things. That is also completely ignoring the fact that some women who do burlesque do feel pride in themselves and in their bodies, they also actually like to get up there and dance and sing in their corsets and their stockings. The history of burlesque is not to strip and anyone who is willing to, can go out on the internet and look it up. Also, this is not the Victorian, Elizabethan, or Gothic Era. None of these women are forced into doing this, most of them choose to. It's another performance art, like ballet or acting, it is just pretend, and yet you reduce it down to something cheap by calling these people, these women, nothing better than prostitutes, hookers and strippers. In that case I have to wonder if you are any better for it. For clinging to your (so called) "moral integrity".