I´m about to start working on my final paper again, the one on body image and burlesque performers. I went through my "red library" as I fondly call my small collection of erotic literature and encyclopedias of all matters sexual to find some reference but apart from Jo "Boobs" Weldon´s The Burlesque Handbook", Michelle Baldwin´s "Burlesque and the New Bump-n-Grind" (in Finnish by Tiia Aarnipuu with a little on the Finnish burly-Q-scene) I don´t have books on burlesque per se. This is a shout-out to all you wonderful people put there: if you have good tips let me know even if for this small-ish paper ( five interviews, ca 30 pages when finished) these might be enough when adding other literature like Palo&Palo "Rakkaudesta seksiin" (for the love of sex) that take up e.g looks, religion and signals people send. The signals are interesting, humans as well as other animals can from the signals another person sends determine for example age, sexual lust and gender (or so we´d like to think) and these trades might be accentuated or toned down (what we humans do with make up and clothes and cosmetic surgery).
In the animal kingdom it´s usually the males who strut their stuff with big feathers and blue balls, in the Western world it´s still more common for us girls to wear that red lipstick -which I think is a shame. We are back in my favorite moan about heteronormativity and how boys and girls and all in between should be able to play all roles without getting bullied or smirked at. And no, there´s nothing whatsoever wrong with being a "traditional boy" who likes cars over dolls or the "traditional girl" who happily plays home rather than builds tree houses but I would like everyone to have a bit more choices and adults to realize that it actually IS those words we use and the way we encourage certain behaviors in certain genders that fuck it up for a lot of people.
We do it without thinking, it might be that we feel very strongly about equality and think we treat everyone the same...And even then we might have that little faux pas- moment when we make the boys drive the tractors and have the girls do gardening. This is actual example of a conversation I had a while back with my partner about our summer trainees and their chores. And my partner is VERY considerate and was quite upset when I asked him about it. He said the boys are more "used to" big machinery than girls, which very much might be so but I asked why is that?! It´s probably something that they got taught before ending up at our place and of course being very busy in the summer one might not have the time to teach everyone but still. I´ve said it before and I´ll say it again: don´t assume. Another wonderful friend of mine said she always wanted to learn about the big machinery but because she is a pretty girl with big brown eyes and big boobs the answer always was "we´ll see about it later" and she had to do horse stuff. Nothing wrong with horse stuff but she wanted to learn about the tractors. It´s not like we drive with our genitals here, come on people! And please remember this the next time you have the urge to splutter out something like "fucking women drivers!!!" in the traffic. I know you do it. It´s really not nice.
So I wandered off topic again, what a surprise. Another book that I´m going to use is "Sköna bröst - en kärleksförklaring till liljekullar, taxöron och meloner" (hm, I guess it could be translated in to Lovely breasts - a declaration of love for bosoms, droops and melons?) and it´s actually published by the Swedish clothes brand Lindex and all money goes to the breast cancer fond. Being a woman in burlesque the issue of boobs probably comes up sooner or later, maybe just as a passing thought. Tassels and pasties and outrageous bra´s... Who would not love those? You don´t need to have big boobs to wear them, heck you don´t have to have ANY boobs, just put them on your ass! Or your flat chest. Try to love what you have and embrace it. A good posture and a little love for yourself (seen as a good self-esteem by others) and you will get noticed for it. Take it from one who knows, I have never in my life been complimented as much as these days and I had a much better figure at twenty. And do remember to be nice to people and compliment persons when you can. You better mean it, though. A compliment in words but without the honesty (eyes not smiling, chilly voice) will be taken as the fuckery it (probably) is. Our communication is based 80% on body talk so even if the words are sweet the meaning might be something totally different...I think you know what I mean. It´s a good way of trying to work with oneself as well. When that *gorgeous* person walks in and you´re hit with the pang of *fuuuuck*...get to know them. If they act like arses then that´s another thing but don´t assume they will be stuck up just because they look good. I know a lot of really hot people who are extremely shy, it´s really really cute and it makes them...yeah: even hotter :)
When thinking about this paper I remembered something Bettie Blackheart taught me in the start. I could not remember the thing correctly so she was kind enough to look it up for me, it´s from the Big Book of Burlesque given out at Tease-O-Rama and written by the gorgeous Alotta Boutté: "Four Tips on Giving Your Body Some Extra Love Before Exposing It (aka battle of the body image). My favorite must be the following:
3. Accentuate the negative - There are parts of us we wish we different, more, less, higher, lower, removed...but it´s going to be there the way it is. So why not turn it in to something fabulous? Wrap it in something luxurious (if on budget, luxurious feeling). Wrap it in jewels. Bedazzle it. I´m a plus sized gal with the belly that comes with it. I slap some glitter on that puppy, occasionally rhinestone it making it sparkle and shine.
Oh girl, you have no idea how much I love you for those words!
|Picture from the interwebs.|