Burlesque – Empowering or Demeaning Women?
by Rohana | Mar 28, 2014
The Modern Woman who wishes to join a class in order to get or maintain her fitness is presented with a raft of options, from Yoga or Pilates, Body attack to Body Pump etc etc . . . All of them designed to tone you up or slim you down but hold on . . . Out of the herd one form of group exercise is pulling away, and instead of trying to make you thin, its goal is to get you to embrace and celebrate your curves. Burlesque. Welcome to the era of Neo-burlesque.
But what is Burlesque? In the literary world it can mean a parody. But in the world of entertainment it means a variety show that includes striptease.
When we turned up to interview Maree Shefford, a Burlesque Instructor, she was all kitted up in her burlesque outfit. A fact that our photographer was very taken with. And as he set up his lights I asked her why she thought women were so drawn to this form?
Maree says “Burlesque draws a high proportion of women because I believe most women still have guilt and shame regarding their sexual self and are scared to fully embrace their sexuality . They have a desire to become more sexually free and Burlesque offers them a safe and fun way to explore this”.
-What is sexual power?
“I myself was drawn to Burlesque for this very reason. I’d always been a dancer but I reached this stale point. A place where I had attracted partners who had also sexually shut down. I was driven by a desire to reawaken my sexual energy. To reconnect with myself. That was 7 years ago, now I’m an instructor and watching and helping other women benefit from my classes is wonderful”.
After the first few shots I asked Maree if she thought that women in our society lacked a sexual energy despite all the sexual marketing we saw around us, or whether we were involuntarily or voluntarily repressing it.
“Sexuality is definitely repressed due to all the rules and control in our society. Also the enforcement of monogamous relationships, and the imbalance of masculine and feminine.
The good news is that the patriarchal power in our community is constantly challenged now and women are learning to be more in their power. They are embracing their wholeness. But not everyone thinks this way.
I believe we are all energy and by embracing our sexuality into our heart , we live in a state of love rather than fear and this is creating a new pathway. It is all very exciting!”