The Rise of Recreational Burlesque: Bumping and Grinding Towards Empowerment
- 1.4k Downloads
American Burlesque is a historical movement dating back to the late nineteenth century that has had a recent revival in our culture. Searching for community, physical and emotional well-being, and increased self-esteem, women are flocking to recreational burlesque classes, seeking to draw upon the bold confidence of the audacious burlesquers of the past. This study examines the experiences of eight women on a reality television show who sought empowerment and increased self-esteem through sexualized dance. Through participant observation and reviewing video-footage and transcripts of filmed interviews, the study examines the relationship between burlesque dancing and empowerment through the experiences of these individuals. All the participants perceived the burlesque training to be empowering and asserted that the experience enhanced their sense of self-efficacy. When dealing with a performance form in which women have historically displayed their sexualized bodies primarily for the enjoyment of men, the question of objectification arises. This article examines the rise of recreational burlesque and its impact on individual and collective empowerment of women.
KeywordsBurlesque Sexualized dance Empowerment Self efficacy Reality TV
- ADT Association. (2011). What is dance/movement therapy? Retrieved June 6, 2011, from http://www.adta.org/Default.aspx?pageId=378214.
- Allen, R. (1991). Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture. North Joanneina: University of North Joanneina Press.Google Scholar
- Bandura, A. (1977). A social learning theory. New York: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Bartholomew, J., & Miller, B. (2002). Affective responses to an aerobic dance class: The impact of perceived performance. Research Quarterly for Excersize and Sport, 73(3), 301–309.Google Scholar
- Chamberlin, J. (2011). A working definition of empowerment. Retrieved June 7, 2011, from http://www.power2u.org/articles/empower/working_def.html.
- Creswell, J. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Denzin, N., & Lincoln, Y. (2005). Handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Dodds, S. (1997). Dance and erotica: The construction of the female stripper. In H. Thomas (Ed.), Dance in the city (pp. 218–233). London: MacMillan Press.Google Scholar
- Flemming, L. (2007). Queer femme follies: these queer burlesque dancers are fighting their own sexual revolution, where dykes are proud to be flirty and feminine in fishnet. Curve.Google Scholar
- Frank, K. (2002). G- strings and sympathy. London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Kaeppler, A. (1999). The mystique of fieldwork. In T. Buckland (Ed.), Dance in the field: Theory, methods and issues in dance ethnography (pp. 13–40). London: Macmillan Press.Google Scholar
- Kroker, A., & Kroker, M. (1987). Body invaders: Panic sex in America. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
- Levy, A. (2005). Female chauvinist pig: Women and the rise of raunch culture. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Lincoln, Y., & Guba, E. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. New York: Sage.Google Scholar
- Lorde, A. (1984). Uses of the erotic: The erotic as power. In A. Lorde (Ed.), Sister outsider: Essays and speeches (pp. 53–59). Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press.Google Scholar
- MacAllister, H. (2011). Big Burlesque: The original fat-bottom review. Retrieved June 7, 2011, from http://www.bigburlesque.com/.
- Murchison, J. (2010). Ethnography essentials. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Olesen, V. (2005). Feminisms and models of qualitative research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 158–174). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Pullen, K. (2005). Actresses and whores: On stage and in society. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Shteir, R. (2004). Striptease: The untold history of the girly show. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Steese, S., Dollette, M., Phillips, W., Hossfeld, E., Matthews, G., & Taormina, G. (2006). Understanding Girls’ circle as an intervention on perceived social support, body image, self-efficacy, locus of control and self-esteem. Adolescence, 41(161), 56–74.Google Scholar
- Stern, D. (2005). MTV, reality television and the commodification of female sexuality in the real rorld. Media Report to Women, 33(2), 13–22.Google Scholar
- Studlar, G. (1997). Out-Salomeing Salome: Dance, the new woman, and the fan magazine Orientalism. In M. Bernstine & G. Studlar (Eds.), Visions of the east: Orientalism in film (pp. 99–130). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
- Thorington Springer, J. (2008). Roll it gal: Alison Hinds, female empowerment, and calypso. Meridians: Feminism Race and Transnationalism, 8(1), 93–129.Google Scholar
- Tracey, L. L. (Writer). (2003). The anatomy of Burlesque: Magnolia movies and white pines pictures.Google Scholar
- Wilde, O. (1891). Salome. New York: Dover Publications Inc.Google Scholar