Recently, it’s come to my attention that some people don’t think of burlesque as feminist. Their view is that is exploitative, degrading, and that women revelling in their nudity are poor, misguided creatures to be pitied and enlightened. While I personally think that’s a load of honk, I appreciate everyone’s right to their own opinion. No matter how out of touch it may be, to my own mind.
A few weeks ago a women who purports herself to be a feminist not only slammed burlesque, but also used my photo to do so. Now, again, I feel she’s welcome to her opinion, even if I don’t agree or care for it, but I dislike her using a photo of me and a friend to illustrate her argument and suggest I’m being exploited in some way. Especially as every time someone clicks the link, she get’s paid. So if she’s posting that as a thumbnail and people click on it, lured by the image, then I’d say that she’s exploiting my image in the same way she’s giving this artist shit for.
And while I think that’s a fairly shady way of getting one’s hyper-over-the-top-I-hate-men-and-strippers-and-porn-and-everyone-involved-in-that-industry-is-a-pervert-or-damaged mentality, it brings up a good point. Choice. The backbone of feminism to me isn’t to shame my fellow women into feeling bad about their choices. Touching lightly on the Miley Cyrus/Sinead O’Conner twitter war that’s gone down, again it’s about exploring who we are as individuals. My feelings towards Miley and the other young performers is ambivalent. But I have to say that at that age, given my druthers, I’d have done the same thing. If people don’t want their daughters running around wearing ‘sexy’ costumes, then educate them and give them choices. Talk to them and open a dialog rather than just say ‘No daughter of MINE is going to dress like a slutty honey badger’ or whatever. Talk about cause and effect. That if she’s prepared to potentially have to deal with guys trying to take up skirt photos or have to do a carotid control choke hold on some dude that doesn’t know ‘no means no, even if I AM dresses as a slutty honey badger’.
But now, over to Emma Frost.
There’s a great blog post regarding this story too that you can check out HERE. I recall this VERY vividly from my early adolescence. Reading this made me feel proud if I wanted to revel in my sensuality. That no one could shame you if you felt no shame yourself and enjoyed what you were doing. I have friends who have done everything from sex work to banking, drug dealing to real estate. Despite popular public opinion on what defines each of these ladies as ‘respectable’ or not, they all stood out in my mind as sharing the trait that they were happy and proud doing what they wanted to do. They didn’t take shit from people who would look down on them for choices they made, whether they were stay at home mothers and homemakers or call girls and fetish models. Every single one of them has said in some respect that if someone has a problem with what they are doing, it’s that person who has a problem with it, and it doesn’t mean these women have to deal with other people’s issues.
Bone, muscle, backbone, and spirit. We all have it ladies. Let’s not forget how to use it, and support not just our own skeletons embraced by muscle and vein, but one another. The less we shame each other, the more we can stand shoulder to shoulder.
Hugs and hisses,
Little Miss Risk