Browsing the Guardian website, I found this fantastic article by an ex-burlesque performer. As a middle-class teenager lacking confidence, the article's author was attracted to burlesque by the idea that she could boldly, powerfully exhibit her sexuality. Burlesque - or a version of it - has recently gone through a renaissance in Britain, but the author argues that what was once an artform has descended into an exploitation of young women performers.
Once a subversive art, filled with gender-bending and political satire, burlesque has simply become a version of striptease. The article's author describes her experience as a modern burlesque performer thus:
I became sick of being told that the stripping and grinding was acceptable, even empowering, because it was "tongue-in cheek". After months of being instructed to shut up and smile, I didn't get the joke.
This article caught my eye because I've always found the aesthetics of burlesque, and what I thought was a bold representation of female sexuality, quite appealing. Sadly, though, this artform seems to have lost its way, and now just 'serves up misogyny in a tasteful package of feathers'.