Neo Burlesque Changes

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Burlesque is a form of art, which provides charming versions of the past through erotic parodies. However, throughout time the face of burlesque has changed due to economical, political and social factors. Today, we observe this art form in a modern context regarded as neoburlesque. Neoburlesque blends “comic eroticism with a diverse range of performance styles, from pantomime and clowning to ballet and performance art” (Mansbridge, 98) to create nostalgic engagement with the past. Many neo burlesque performers consider their work an art form that encourages self-confidence and self–awareness, where as the traditional performers viewed their work as a way to make ends meet. Through the research conducted and my personal experience at The …show more content…

In this way, femininity and masculinity are viewed as mutually exclusive, which allows society to categorize individuals and predict how they behave, given their biological sex. This notion of gender expectations is challenged at The Wiggle Room, when Lady Josephine performed a skit called Only. During the beginning of the skit, Lady Josephine walked down the aisle wearing stilettos, dramatic makeup and a feminine wig with a glamorous overcoat. The manner in which Lady Josephine was presented prompted me to assume that this performer was a woman. However, when Lady Josephine began to striptease, I noticed that the performer’s breasts were flat, similar to that of a male. Because Lady Josephine exemplified a combination of both feminine and masculine features, I found myself trying to determine the drag artist’s sex and gender. Accordingly, being apart of a society that is influenced by heternormative culture, we have a tendency to “incorporate the practitioner unquestioningly into fairly typical binary notions of male and female” (Nally, 15). Thus, our inability to distinctly categorize Lady Josephine as one or the other is a sign of a “shift” in gender norms, which is exactly what performers like Lady Josephine aim to do. In Claire Nally’s article on neoburlesque, there is a quote from Lady Josephine where the drag artist claims to “purposely eschew breasts/tuck away the “bulge” …to create a

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