Oh my fucking god, behold yet another story in a major American newspaper wherein the writer gets all verklempt about this wack new burlesque craze, just fifteen short years after the first quasi-transgressive hipsters disentombed it from its well-deserved mothball crypt in the misogynist perv-pile. Any excuse to interview a semi-nude chick with a stripper name, I guess. These Yay! Burlesque! stories seem to appear every couple of months. They always present burlesque as some kind of exciting new art form the practitioners of which are all empowered feminists who are totally in touch with their sexuality.
Here is what Miss Lily Verlaine, Seattle burlesque artist, has to say about about feminism.
“I enjoy the trappings of femininity. I enjoy wearing dresses, I like silk and I like high heels, eyelashes and big hair. It’s fun for me. I don’t think it’s un-feminist or that I’m any more or less of a woman for accentuating certain aspects of my femininity.”
I choose femininity! For me! Because what could be more feminist than choosing something?
“I find it very feminist and very exciting when a woman decides how to portray herself. Any woman being her own agent, being her own director, being her own stylist and her own voice is always feminist.”
What could be more exciting than a woman deciding to portray herself as something? Especially when she decides to portray herself as a male fantasy, am I right?
“‘For a long time, I wasn’t interested in nail-polish and makeup and all that stuff because I could be spending my time doing things in the community,’ she recalls. However, Verlaine found that once the dresses, furs, heels and makeup followed her offstage, people began to treat her better, men especially.”
Well, whaddya know. Appeasing the oppressor vs. “doing things in the community”: it’s a no-brainer!
“‘If I have my drag on, people compliment me. They say kind things. The interactions are night and day,’ she says.”
People: “We didn’t think much of you, Miss Lily Verlaine, before you started dressing like a hooker. But now that you’ve demonstrated your willingness to conform by defining yourself in terms of male desire, we think you’re awesome. Can we buy you a Scotch?”
Miss Lily Verlaine: “Gosh, thanks! This beats the shit out of trying to be taken seriously!”
Pull yourself together, woman! Not even the hipsters think burlesque is hip anymore. And even if it were, femininity is unenlightened, and also dumb. And even if it weren’t, all that makeup crap totally causes cancer! There’s mercury in mascara!
But maybe life just isn’t worth living if men don’t want to fuck you; what’s a little cancer compared to the infinite rewards of sex appeal?
Speaking of makeup, I just found out there exists a species of cosmetic called “lip plumper.” Lip plumper is an irritant that, when applied to one’s “pout,” makes it swell up, the better to affect that sexy, just-been-punched-in-the-face look that dudes love. This poor girl, apparently of her own volition, makes her own lip plumper out of cayenne and infant butt-cream.
Kill me now.
Photo: still from “How To Make Homemade Lip Plumper” by SecretLifeOfABioNerd on YouTube.