I feel like there is a longer essay here. And I feel like once you write it someone needs to publish ASAP.
yes yes and yes.
I've been thinking about this stuff for a while. I definitely want to talk to you more about it.
Write it, girl!
You will make an awesome Robert Palmer girl.
The non-white pin-up is only a punchline to the culturally illiterate. That girl happens to be Dorothy Dandridge.
2008-02-07 11:35 pm (UTC)
.....add 75 pounds and stir, and I feel your thing.
Second what everyone else has said. I also wonder why even in our performance/subculture scene do regular stereotypes get reinforced so often.
Looking forward to seeing the performance, I think I'm finally gonna drag my boy out for some dressed-up dancing action.
2008-02-08 05:36 am (UTC)
Re: mmm huh.
What I can't understand is why so many people want to play into that stereotype in the first place. (I mean, I understand it, but...) The whole Burlesque/Vaudeville thing embodies — literally, instantiates using bodies — the idea that of womens' objecthood. The women are on stage to shake their asses and look good in pasties and a g-string, and it only looks uglier with HHR, where you put men on stage to speak and run the show. I mean, how much more literal can you get than having guys speak while the women are silent?
I'll believe there's something subversive going on when I see it. It's not that these shows can't be a means of poking fun at gender, but that's so rare. I don't care enough about either girlie shows or standup, so I mostly don't bother with HHR.
The whole thing was especially glaring at the Spectacular Spectacular Atomic Jungle
, one of the first things I came to at DNA after moving here. There, in addition to the man-woman binary, they decided to add the imperialist-savage binary. Unsurprisingly, the savages were on stage to a) look exotic and b) try to cook white folks for dinner. It would have been funnier if there had been some
laughs at the expense of the white guys.
i'm the promotions manager for HHR, considered part of "the brain trust" behind the scenes, and i have emceed the shows before - most recently, the christmas show, where i played on stage as an equal with the male MCs.
there is a tremendous amount of subversive play, humor and commentary going on both at HHR and in burlesque in general (ANY time a woman who doesn't mirror the playboy stereotype takes her clothes off on stage, it makes a political statement)
but if, as you say, you don't bother with HHR, i don't think that puts you in a position to judge us.
you should do some crazy slicked up finger waves, and like bright red lipstick (you would rock it).
uh, that's not possible with dreadlocks...
I'd like to add my name to the petition for a longer essay. Speaking as a fellow subverter (nobody wants to see my pale ass on the stage... tough!), I'm eager to read about your perspective.
2008-02-08 03:30 am (UTC)
Politics aside, I'm still stuck trying to understand how slicking back your hair is even physically possible.
Politics aside, that's my MAIN POINT!!!
I feel this whole post. Even though I do a lot in my performance to try and counter-act that sort of iconoclast (ie: This is Eartha Kitt, you will never be this fierce! This is Nina Simone, you will never be this smooth! This is Sharon Jones, you wish you had this groove, etc.) it is still frustrating to realize that you will never be able to successfully pull-off a fully-done Marilyn Monroe number and will look like the out-of-place chorus girl if your burlesque troupe does something from Guys and Dolls.
I can feel my way in from a fat girl perspective. It frustrates the hell outta me every time I see Miss L having to squeeze her way into the white girl mold of the month. (And yet, she remains fierce and hot and smart all at the same time, how DOES she do it?)
I had actually been wondering how you and other woc involved in burlesque etc navigated that (it can't all be Dorothy Dandrige and Josephine Baker all the time - or can it?), look forward to reading more.
And I'm with j - I am having a hard time imaging your with slicked back hair. I mean, I know it's physically possible but I just can't see it. :-D
it can't all be Dorothy Dandrige and Josephine Baker all the time - or can it?
It can't, and shouldn't have to be - but it's particularly bad when the mandate from above is "OK, this month you're all blonde frauleins in lederhosen!" The cognitive dissonance is often sassy, funny, and subversive, but it's still quite "grrr" even from an observer's viewpoint. I can only try to imagine what it might be like from the inside.
I always wondered what your thoughts were on this subject. I have a feeling you could probably fill a book. And in that book you'd probably innumerate all the reasons why I was always uncomfortable in the NYC circus/performance scene. Alongside all of that I am desperately curious to know why and how you stay.
this so wonderfully captures the thought and feelings that have been floating around in my head.
especially after i shot those pin-up portraits.
some more thought and discussion on the issue is in order.