I will admit I never got into burlesque as a means of female empowerment or to express my feminine power to others. There was no great in depth analysis as to what drew me to it or the freedom I felt when on stage. I do it because I love it and I have learnt that there is nothing stronger than somebody (male or female) who loves what they do.
All that said however as a burlesque performer for the last six years I often find myself trying to explain why burlesque is in fact empowering to women ( strange how the question is not why it is empowering to performers as there are male performers too). Burlesque’s strength, what I view as its ability to empower, is that the burlesque performer represents people who have broken free from body issues even if for just 10 minutes on stage.
Burlesque opens a window to view a world where sensuality is not seedy but a beautiful strength. That it is not linked to a partner or dependant on them and that beauty is not restricted to the tight constraints of a societal formula. It is through this window that burlesque has the ability to not only empower its performers but its audience members. While the performers on stage celebrate their varying female/male forms through creative self expression the audience members, especially the female ones, seem to feed off the confidence and freedom expressed on stage.
I feel truly lucky to be a part of this amazing community, surrounded by beautiful, amazing people who are constantly pushing their edge. I hope that more people get a taste of the mesmerising expression we call Burlesque.