Sunday, 26 December 2010

The argument of Burlesque; in response to Penny Wark.

I'm a huge fan of Burlesque and have been to several shows. I loved every second of each show...but being thrusted into the media spotlight these days, it has become the subject of much controversy and I find myself becoming increasingly familiar with the word 'sleaze' or 'seedy' when reading about Burlesque in newspapers. My love of Burlesque comes with a love of the fashion, classy lingerie and a love of classier eras when women cared properly about dressing nice for themselves instead of running out in a pair of ill-fitting jeans and too-big-t-shirt. Not that I have a problem with any one else's fashion choice, unless they are a blatant 'Chav.'

This post is pretty much in response to an article written by Penny Wark, who infuriates me. On a personal note, I think Penny should stop attending events that make her have such a negative outlook and perhaps Penny needs to get some form of a life in general instead of depressing the general public and getting kicks out of patronising people each time she writes one of her ever critical and smug articles...

Admittedly, I do agree with some of the points she made about the more traditional style of Burlesque, such as the singer 'Camile O'Sullivan' (who has been photographed by my friend Darren) who has a more theatrical approach to the art. It's far more Cabaret than Strip tease and can genuinely say I'm a fan.

 (c) Darren Cheshire Photography

Discussing this matter over dinner with my other half this evening, I pointed out that I would not at all be bothered if he attended a Burlesque show (he's always come with me to one's I've attended), but I would be furious if he was tottering off to a Strip/pole dancing club. My reason for this is simple; Burlesque is light hearted comedic entertainment in which women happen to take a number of objects of clothing off, still keeping the majority of their a strip bar, (not in any way 'slagging off' women who choose this as their career) men tend to stick fivers in their G-string whilst they grind around a pole and have all of their boobies on show. Burlesque is no contact. It's an art, the same as women who pole dance for theatrics sake. For example, that fantastic pole dancer , Alesia Vazmitsel who appeared on 'Britains got Talent.'

While I'm on the subject of Burlesque, I'd also just like to express how wrong that the movie 'Burlesque' has got it. It's made Burlesque out to be some form of modern night club. However, people who know me, know I do love Christina Aguilera! And especially the video for 'I got trouble' directed by the ever-growing-on-me-thanks-to-Mark Ellen Von Unwerth. That video was far more 'Burlesque' than the movie was!

It's a well known fact that the majority of  Burlesque audiences are in fact WOMEN, so what Penny says; "They say they enjoy expressing themselves artistically on stage and twist the old feminist line about female empowerment, apparently forgetting that the argument wasn’t designed for women who pander to men’s fantasies." is not only completely wrong, but unbelievably offensive. Get off your high horse Penny! It is empowering, because it's not just for men's 'enjoyment.' I wonder what Penny has to say when people wear a low cut top? Is it all for pleasing men? Maybe we just like having breasts and embracing our femininity. It's like Bettie Page said ''Being in the nude isn`t a disgrace unless you`re being promiscuous about it. After all, when God created Adam and Eve, they were stark naked. And in the Garden of Eden, God was probably naked as a jaybird too." Now, I'm not religious, but she's right. At the end of the day, Burlesque IS a strip tease. You don't go to a show headlined 'Burlesque' and expect to see some light hearted Cabaret. You expect women guarding their modesty with pretty underwear and nipple tassels. It's like going to a zoo and expecting stuffed animals.

Oh, but the best is yet to come, with Penny's ever increasing ignorance and patronising voice coming through in her writing; "Pulling on her mismatched socks after the show, she casts a sad eye over the seedy dressing room and suddenly looks unbearably young." 
It just begs the question...'Penny, how can a dressing room be 'seedy?''

See Penny Wark's article here;

Visit; for information on tours and to buy her tracks/dvd's etc.

See more of Darren's pictures and get updates here;


  1. Haha! Great! :") (I love Burlesque, too. Surprise? Well, no..)

  2. I agree with you Shell completely, Burlesque is an Art form. It's theatrical, playful and sequenced, it's a performance that plays out to everyone in the audience and leaves the rest to the audience's imagination. It's definately unfair to say that women can't get as much enjoyment out of it as men do, after all as you well noted it's about appreciating the female body and beauty, the underwear, the music, the lights!

    Penny clearly doesn't get out much :P