I have been recieving a lot of updates on all the great festivals they are having overseas particularly in America. It seems like one great festival after another. The latest one is Seattle’s BurlyCon( I wish I was there). But it struck me just how America is presenting itself to me as being a really supportive community of burlesque performers and enthusiasts. With a couple of gals involved in, well almost all of the festivals. And those gals are the same ones that I have admired for ages.
Now here’s an interesting insight. Victoria Grimshaw of MissChief Events just was over in Las Vegas at the BHOF(Burlesque Hall of Hame) weekend. And she reported back that Jo Weldon, Dirty Martini, all the big names in American Burlesque scene including the Legends were the nicest, helpful, and most encouraging people you could meet. Which endears me even further (and also to Vicky for her to share experiences with me).
I have a copy of Jo Weldon’s book ‘ The Burlesque Handbook’ and not only is a fantastic read and covers everything from A – Z and notes that she has been doing years of research. Her section on behaviour/etiquette makes me think a little more in depth about not only women’s lib but how we treat each other on and off the stage.
What inspires me to get on a stage is how I am challenging the media stereotype, showing other women it’s ok not to fit into what media deems ‘ideal’ and to share with every women there the place of love and acceptance that I come from. And that above all fills me with satisfaction. So now here’s the problem, there are some burlesque perfomers who want to encourage and empower women (yeeha), and then there’s the other that fill it all with jealousy and wish nothing more to tear each other down. No one wishes to be torn down when they are giving something as scary as burlesque a go. Nor do they want to be surrounded by an environment where that behaviour is encouraged. So how do we turn the burlesque scene here in NZ to an amazing supportive culture which helps in turn helps all women to be more accepting of themselves? Which also then helps undo some of the damage that mainstream media has been doing to us since the day we could see. Which would also help us treat one another well.
I’m keen to help build a great cutlure, so why don’t we help each other out – Be kind to your sistah’s, encourage your friends to do scary things that they desire to do (be it burlesque or competitive wood chopping); spread your own brand of joy and strength to all; try to tip mainstream idealism of body image/type/beauty/whatever on it’s end; call our friends on bad behaviour and give out what you wish to recieve back.