Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Good, the Bad, The Body

Well howdy-ho everyone! Sorry for having been quiet, Easter and all. Too much chocolate to digest. Also it took me a few days to get over Boom Boom Burlesque that was a true pleasure! The venue was sold out, place was a-steamin´  and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves a lot. I know I did! Apart from having a nice reception for my new number I also got to see a cute punker-boy with a huge mohawk strip so my evening was as good as it gets! Thanks to Lamey Crackhouse for making both happen: she introduced me in a way that left the whole audience wondering about what kind of vegetables I grow at the well as she made all who crossed her stage strip. 

Lately I have been thinking about two things. The first I want to talk about is something a friend of mine talked to me about. Let me point out that he has never seen burlesque live and that he referred to a discussion he had had with some friends that had been to a show. They had been talking about *what people applaud to* when at a burlesque show. I don´t remember the conversation we had word-to-word but it went in the lines of 'are you applauding people outside the body ideal have the courage to take their kit off or are you applauding a good show'? This, to be honest with you, made a bit uncomfortable because we have all heard it, right? "Burlesque is ugly fat chicks who are too ugly and fat for normal stripping but have this urge to take their clothes off". I´ve seen this and I´m sure you have seen it if you have ever been brave/stupid enough to scroll down and read the comments on some interweb-articles and blogs.

It got me thinking. Why do people feel the need to EXPLAIN why they enjoy a burlesque show? Why is it, that when people go to see a play at the national Theatre and applaud, nobody asks them"why"? When was the last time you had someone explain you why they watch all football games they can find on tv? What makes gardening more socially acceptable than being a Star Wars-enthusiast? Or is it?
Is it because we feel squeamish about looking at (often) semi-nude persons that we have to find a reason for being there? Why is "because I find it FUN!" not enough? Why do a lot of people over-analyze it? Yes, it might be political. It might be sensual. It might make you feel really uncomfortable. Or it might make you do it yourself. Some people see it as pure stripping, some see it as an art form. I think it might be a bit of both. 

Why do I choose to spend a lot of time, money and false eye-lashes for something that makes me really nervous beforehand? Brace, brace this will be historical: BECAUSE I LIKE IT!  Woom! There! It´s out in the open! I don´t feel emancipated or united with Mother Earth (though I realize some might do and all the power to them!). For me it´s fun. It makes me laugh. I like it for a lot of reasons but one big one is the fact that people whom I met during this time are wonderful, openminded crazy-ass human beings who embrace quite similar thoughts on life. And nobody tells you how to live yours. 

So what did I tell my friend about applauding? Not much I realize now retrospectively. But T. -if you read this I´ll give you an answer now: come see a show and then you´ll know what YOU applaud to! 

The other thing I´ve been thinking about is body image (everyone look surprised! She´s at it AGAIN!) I know I´ve been writing about this subject a lot but as long as it´s fucked up, you´ll hear me moaning. So if you´re bored you should stop reading now and scroll down to the pictures. I still get really pissed off when one body form is compared to another as "better" or "hotter" or what not. Why can´t we just learn to accept that people look different and that it´s a good thing?! I get the fact that women feel stressed out because of all the skinny models in papers but it´s not OK to answer that with something that bashes skinny. You don´t fight stupid with stupid (stupid in this case meaning warped body ideals). Unfortunately it´s not just men doing this bashing, it´s also us women. That makes me really sad since women should stand up for other women, right? So why do we gloat when a celebrity didn´t lose that post-baby fat or feel joy at the realization that Halle Berry has cellulite (as most of us do - it´s just not caught on paparazzi camera)? It would be easy to blame the tabloids but come on...someone is buying those tabloids or they would not make them, right? I do realize that calling out some hippie-all-women-unite-thing is both naive and silly but the punker in me believes that a change happens when it´s being DONE. Ashley Judd came out with a great article about this (read the whole thing here): 

"The Conversation about women’s bodies exists largely outside of us, while it is also directed at (and marketed to) us, and used to define and control us. The Conversation about women happens everywhere, publicly and privately. We are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart, our worth ascertained and ascribed based on the reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification. Our voices, our personhood, our potential, and our accomplishments are regularly minimized and muted." 

Thank you Ashley for writing it down so brilliantly. Next time you read about a C.E.O or the leader of a World Bank or a President see if they mention gender and/or clothes. If it´s a girl I´ll bet ya they´ll mention both. I´ve never seen a man being referred to as a "male President".
I leave you with a couple of photos. Also a small reminder that you should get your tickets for Spring Awakening at Kaisaniemi-restaurant the 11th of May! Ta!  

Me & Lamey at Boom Boom last Thursday <3 Pic by Andrea H.

Pic by Jari B. Miettinen


  1. I think men - and young boys now, particularly - are seeing the same pressures. Conform to a 'jock' physique or don't even bother showing up to the beach...

  2. Oh Adam, absolutely! I think I´ve dusted on the subject in a previous blog writing. But yes, boys and men are under fire as well. Poor self image and eating disorders are not gender specific per se even if the majority still (statistically, tell me if I´m wrong) are female. I hope someone would point out how much stress e.g the norm of being "the sexually active and experienced" puts on guys. Also sexual harrassment is still a big taboo among young men due to them being easily labeled gay ("real men don´t whine/can take it"). It´s a whole other box of worms. But I have to tackle one thing at a time :) Feel free to write something from the male perspective - I´ll promise to post it!