Valentine’s Day came and went — thank goodness, because most of what I saw on social media were shots fired at single women and side chicks, a lot of bragging from women who received gifts, and a few explanations from women on why their man couldn’t spend the day with them. In all cases, he was working.
If you’re truly happy in your relationship, you don’t need that one day to profess how loved and adored you are, and how your man spoils you, but I do get it. I’ll leave the side chick topic alone for now, because I know that’s a touchy subject.
Just to clarify, even during my last relationship (11 years), I gave my man a free pass on Valentine’s Day due to my lack of interest, but he enjoyed participating. The “holiday” is overrated and over commercialized.
But wait. What I’m really writing about is my 2014 Valentine’s Day experience!
I went to see Shades of Burlesque – NYC’s Only All Black Burlesque Revue, at the Helen Mills theater in Manhattan.
In case you’ve never been, Burlesque (in a very limited sense) is kind of like striptease – from elaborate costumes down to nipple pasties and g-strings. I’d been planning to go support co-producer, Essence Revealed’s performance for over a year.
I finally made it.
The experience was worthwhile, mainly because I walked away with a question worth exploring. “Why aren’t burlesque dancers body conscious?”
Beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes. And yes, appreciation for a woman’s physique is always in the eye of the beholder.
As I watched the show, I couldn’t help but pay attention to each woman’s jiggle and cellulite, projecting my own body consciousness on them while trying to wrap my brain around their liberation.
My ideal body type (the picture I have in my mind about how “Eye” want to look) is tight, toned, and voluptuous. Without dimples or too much jiggle. That’s part of why I train. “Eye” like being svelte.
So when this heavyset performer came down the aisle and pounced on a male audience member and began to gyrate her crotch on his face, I made some mental notes. She had big fabulous kinky hair, large full breasts, chocolate-brown skin, a protruding belly that hung a little, 30 inch thighs (at least), a ton of sex appeal – and cellulite. Her makeup was nicely done – and she owned her performance. And that was very attractive!
Is body consciousness a trap? After all, most women have cellulite. Celebrities’ imperfections are airbrushed away for magazine covers; perfection is the only thing suitable for mass consumption.
Oh yeah. None of the dancers had visible stretch marks.
I still haven’t answered my question though. Why aren’t burlesque dancers body conscious? I’ve only been to one show, so my perspective is limited. What do you think?
Not for nothing, but since I’ve been dating, several men have tried to discourage me from working out – to no avail because I’m an overrall happier person when I’m training consistently. It’s a natural pick-me-upper. I’ve heard, “I like my women squishy. Muscle definition is bad.” And, “you got a nice black girl booty. Don’t lose that.” And “You’re not gonna lose any butt, are you?” Just today, I got a text: “When can we have lunch? I need to squeeze that booty.”
Sounds like an obsession, but I get it. They love what they love.
There are health risks associated with high body fat percentage (see CDC statistics) that we should not ignore, but to each her own.
While I like being on the smaller side, I do recognize the beauty in different shapes, sizes and types of women. And of course as a writer and analyst, I pay attention. Being well-proportioned and well-maintained trumps a lot of other things and it’s mostly a matter of how well a woman puts herself together, and how comfortable she is in her skin.
And again, sexiness is in the eye of the beholder. Hell, I’m kind of thick myself and I get no complaints.
What are your thoughts on body consciousness? Are you comfortable enough in your skin to consider performing in the bare minimum? Why do you think this is a non-factor for some women? Do men really care about physical imperfections like cellulite? What’s driving our obsession with body consciousness? Comments about Valentine’s Day also welcome!
If you haven’t already, go see a burlesque show! It’s a worthwhile experience.
Shades of Burlesque is NYC’s Only All Black Burlesque Revue. Created by Sweet Lorraine (left). Co- produced by Essence Revealed (right) & Sweet Lorraine.