Last night, after my husband got back from his Buddhist sit, I headed over to the Elbo Room for Bombshell Betty’s Burlesque Benefit. Other than that being the most San Francisco-esque sentence describing my family ever written, it was just a kick-ass Tuesday night. I went to see my friend Tiffanie Turner’s new act, replete with handmade detachable pom poms that I knew I couldn’t miss.
Earlier this week, Jezebel posted an article about a study showing that just looking at a diverse range of body sizes makes women more tolerant of differing body types. Ladies of the thicker variety, that means that when we wear a body-con dress, we are actually helping our fellow woman! The findings of this study felt intuitively true to me – when I was able to go to the all-female bath house (R.I.P. Osento!) on a regular basis, I found myself more comfortable with my own body, seeing all different shapes and sizes, rather than just the stick-thin cookie cutter image shown repeatedly to us in the media.
To test out the idea further, I hit up the Bombshell Betty show, knowing that part of their mission is to empower women in their bodies through burlesque. I saw a lot of sexy ladies, as well as plenty of stretch marks, cellulite, and jiggling flesh. The best performers were the ones who really owned the stage, dancing with presence and power – whether they had tiny tits or big butts simply did not matter.
My friend’s act was clearly our favorite, as it was joyous and beautiful in a way you may not expect from burlesque. Our second favorite was also quite unexpected — a girl who was only performing for the 2nd time ever did a routine with a can of Tecate that was simply hilarious and natural. I found myself wondering, could I do this?
I admit that I went home feeling good in my own skin. Perhaps the study from the Jezebel article was correct — just by seeing those women owning their bodies and celebrating them through dance, I felt bolder in my own. I certainly get that well-being feeling from dance class, in which we keep our clothes on but shake our bodies so vehemently at one another that we cease seeing sizes and just feel amazing.
So, if you’re struggling with body image, I suggest going to see some burlesque, particularly from a troupe like Bombshell Betty, that is celebrating women’s bodies in their natural form — the eyelashes may be fake, but the curves are real! And if you really want to take it to the next level, sign up for one of her classes or workshops, and see if they are as confidence-boosting as they seem. Who knows, you just may see me there, fan in hand!