A word from the BSS’s co-producer, Tricity Vogue on burlesque and feminism…
“Burlesque cabaret is not about titillation, it’s about performers relishing sex appeal and glamour while at the same time challenging the audience, making them laugh while turning their expectations upside down. One male audience member once made a particularly poignant observation to me after a show: that the women he watched drew him into their stories, made him get to know them as people, made him sympathise with them, so that by the time they exposed their naked flesh, he felt unable to think of them as anonymous sex objects. I don’t know a female burlesque performer who wouldn’t consider that a glorious triumph for her art.
The cabaret world is as enormously seductive for us performers as it is for the audience. Like many of my cabaret colleagues, I’m highly educated, with two MAs, and half a PhD, but far from considering my work as a cabaret performer as a compromise of my education and intelligence, I find it a stimulating, challenging and hugely rewarding field to work in. Nor have I ever worked with such a high concentration of educated, intelligent, collaborative, supportive and creative women before, in any of my previous careers as an arts administrator, an academic, or a television producer.
This is the reason I started the show, Night of the Blue Stockings, in collaboration with Audacity Chutzpah, as a tongue-in-cheek modern reincarnation of the original 18th century ladies literary society, which was at the time the height of rebellion, because it was unseemly for women to have any education or practice the arts. Nowadays, even though times have changed, it seems to me there is still an assumption that a woman who makes herself sexually attractive will also be stupid, or has to make herself appear stupid in order to be found sexually attractive. We’re loving the chance to challenge those assumptions.
The modern day vamps of the cabaret and burlesque world are turning the meaning of sexy on its head and putting the power well and truly in women’s hands. And it seems to me that the men love it as much as the women do.