Warning, this is a very long and personal point of view, i almost wrote a book! It's probably full of english mistakes as well! Sorry i'm not sorry!!! I hope you'll enjoy the reading and i'm really looking forward that you'll tell me what you think about it :)
A few days ago, i was having breakfast and I remembered telling to myself that i had to be careful on what i'll eat that day and should go more often to the gym.
THIS. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about!
Yes, time to openly talk about this very sensible subject. It's been too long that i'm holding my thought back with an unspeakable fear of sharing this. I was really happy to read some posts of other performers talking about their feelings on body shape and self confidence lately, and i think it's the right time for me to share my thoughts as well.
When I started to be interrested on burlesque it was because it was an art that seemed to express a real freedom. Something that i really didn't find in the acting/theater industry where i used to be.
Performers seemed to share their vision of beauty, in their glamorous, trashy, poetic, political ways. The body shape, sex, ethnicity really didn't seem to matter. I remember watching videos of the Velvet Hammer, watch vidoes of Dirty Martini doing her thing and feel something like "Woaa that's a lovely punch in the face! It's kind of a "Fuck you" to the diktat of our society but with glitters and being awesome, fabulous, and not angry" for the little punky girl that i was. I felt a big YES blooming in my heart. Finally the positive revolution that i expected to see and be part of came on my path.
Was it because i was looking at all this from the outside? Maybe yes, but it was 8 years ago, and I really can see that things have changed. Everything changes, evolves, that's natural. I just didn't expect to see it evolve in this way.
My vision of burlesque is kind of punk because it's a rebellion on what society dictates you to do and be like. To me, evertime a performer is going on stage, she/he is bravely sharing her/his vision of beauty and being fabulous, as an individual artist. Everyone of them are beautiful in their unique way...
I loved that the audience was giving love back and applauding the courage of each artist to show themselves to the world. That was making the real difference between a striptease and an artistic performance. The difference between an audience for who the end of the performance matters, and an audience that enjoys from the beginning to the end.
An oasis in the middle of a sad uniformisation world.
Soooo back in my kitchen a few days ago...!
WHY did i start thinking i should be careful on what i'll eat and go more often to the gym? It could have been for the fun of it, because i wanted to be more healthy, for putting out some stress... but you know what? No, i catched myself not being confident because i've put a little bit of weight...
This is where i could just stay focus on "the initial message of burlesque". After all, this is exactly where i should put in practice all i've learned and loved about it.
Reality is not that easy...
Burlesque is also an industry with a pretty fierce competition. Especially when you're a full time performer. So yes, there's a looot of contraditions here.
When we say that it's a celebration of every artist as an individual... I don't understand then why there's so many awards and competitions in festivals... That's already one contradition. I tried once a competition in a festival. I didn't like it. Because then, there's not really space for celebration. Instead there is more space for comparaison, which can bring really bad vibes, trust me, from others but also on ourselves.
I'm not saying that there shouldn't be any competitive energy, of course not. Healthy competition keep us creative, and productive. Happy to discover more about others creations, and happy to share our creations.
Theeeen there's the producers that will only work with caucasians, or not tattooed or only skinny performers, only big breasts, etc...
Yes, then we get more more far from the initial message, right?
Theeeen there was the movie "burlesque"... Haha! Yeeek i don't have the energy, sorry...
The list is long on the contradictions...
Then there's the social medias that is really not helping to stay neutral and just enjoy and be happy for each others as performers. Come on let's be honnest... Lately i don't go as much as before on social medias as i know that even if i can be very happy and enjoy some posts, opinions and pictures, at some point it can also bring me a feeling of comparison and competition and all the nice package, you know? The one that you'll especially feel right through your face on a bad day...! It's a shame when it comes to disturb you.
To me, maybe it's because i didn't want to see it 8 years ago... But there's more and more uniformisation on the body shapes. I see more agressive sexual images than before on pictures, but also in shows. Something that is flirting very close to the porn industry, that basically have a very different message than "my"burlesque... It's not good or bad, it's probably only a subjective observation. It's just images and feelings that are getting far from what made me love burlesque, the initial message that made me feel so good.
That's just an evolution, maybe a trend, maybe not. Things have changed, I probably have changed too. But it shouldn't make me forget about what i felt 8 years ago. This is a treasure. That Positive Revolution...It was so beautiful that it gave me a kick in the butt to start being the performer I am today.
So i'm keeping my vision of burlesque close to my heart, and i'll still make it bloom in my own way...
Sooooo again, back in my kitchen, when i've left all these thoughts go through my notebook.
I just focused on the initial message that made me love burlesque. I saw my little muffin top, and thought. Hey little thingy! You're here because of all the years of performing, travels, work, hapiness, bad moments, crazy unstable rythm of sleep and eating. You lived all this with me and that's why you're here. You're part of me and my adventure, so i love you too.
Ps: i didn't go to the gym that day :p