Tagged: burlesque

Performance of Gender revisited.

I wrote an article a little while ago about the performance of femininity. Recently, I stumbled across this amazing post on Sociological Images that I wanted to share and expound on.


Photo Credit to Leland Bobbé

As it stands, I know at least 3 different people who actively participate in Burlesque dancing and a few who dabble in drag.  Both are separate, but related practices that focus on hyperfemininity: revealing costumes, sensual behavior, crazy, over-the-top makeup, and a sprinkle of raunch. There’s a lot of creativity involved in both, and though Burlesque doesn’t necessarily involve drag, it’s not unusual to have a drag performer (or several!) in a Burlesque show. Both involve twisting our perceptions of “normality”.

What I like about the Sociological Images post is the comment by the author, Lisa Wade, that most of us are in drag constantly – not the makeup or the clothes, but the performance. As a culture the West has normalized the “action” of womanhood, and it takes a great deal of time and money to even look natural by our standards. Go onto Youtube and search “natural makeup”- there’s a zillion videos. I like this one on Jessica Harlow’s blog- not only is she using upwards of ten products, she’s wearing false eyelashes.

This isn’t wrong or bad by any means, but I think it’s worth being cognizant of what we’re actually putting on our bodies and faces to even be considered “natural looking”. How many of us girls (myself definitely included) would ever dare post a Facebook photo of ourselves without at least concealing our under eye circles? Probably very few.

On that note, I’m gearing up for No Makeup March. Anyone care to join me?

PS- If you want to watch a video explaining drag in greater detail, watch this hilarious Miles Jai Video.