Burlesque: transition from art to mundane entertainment

Burlesque. Strippers. Sexy women, and all that jazz.

But historically, it is a form of art, a comedic interplay of pun, satire, music, and expression of the current systems in society. How it became associated to sexy women is attributed to the American capitalist agenda, the goal of selling off whatever is readily available and in demand.

From the show business’ perspective, it is undeniably interesting and artistic. It has become commercial and quite the common because of the sensational process of commodified art. How it actually turned out to be what is a typology of women stripper had something to do with the smooth transition from comedy to sexy.

Essentially, Burlesque is never a gender-bound form of sexy art or entertainment. It just happened that as an art in itself, it has become bolder and more nude in the way. Its essence is in the comedic representation of the current systems that are worth showing because probably of corruption or social mishap, and by staying loyal to the comedy, the idea of revelation, of showing off what ought to be private and kept within the secretive confines of established institutions has become its whole definition, in the most essential manner. The idea was that whatever is not supposedly shown is Burlesque.

As it journeyed through decades, it also changed its whole facade and image. The audience does not stay content with what is the usual. Thus, sometime in the late 1900s and early 20th century, it has changed to become the adult entertainment, the cabaret of the early times.

My theory is that art thriving on capitalistic grounds, if it chooses to stay existent and relevant in time, must coincide with the mass’ demand, liking, and need. Though it may still bring with it its essential nature, its purpose changes because it had to. What used to be art, music, and creativity became, commonly, the stripping genre of today. This continues to be used in many bars and clubs as an alternative to the most commonly used story-boards, production themes, and entertainment line-ups because, again, people do not want the common; they want the interesting, the never-been seen.

Burlesque is culturally profound. It’s representative of the sickening social systems so as to spread awareness to people. That was its original purpose. Today, it’s still something that reveals. But the revelation is not in the content, but the subject, the actors to show the content. The content then becomes secondary and instrumental to the whole idea. What is being revealed is sexuality, and sexiness of the women, the actors because it sells; it is definitely marketable.

It is interesting to note that culture changes in time and in people’s frames of mind. The drastic change of Burlesque from the artistic comedy as it used to be is surprisingly the stripping genre of today. But at least, it is worth knowing that it had its unique form in the past. The commodification of it and its actors (women) is rather the process of survival, of thriving all the more.


Photo Credit: [Featured photo: www.gentside.com]


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