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The Happy Stripper: Pleasures and Politics of the New Burlesque Paperback – 24 Oct 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris (24 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845113187
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845113186
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 1.4 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 509,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

''From London to New York, the new burlesque bars and clubs are attracting audience that would baulk at frequenting a pub with a strip show on Saturday nights...It's this new phenomenon that Wilson sets out to examine...Not only do more and more men and women enjoy watching burlesque...For Wilson, such unexamined pleasure is problematic...she looks to the history of burlesque for an answer to this conundrum.'' -- Dea Birkett, "Oldie"

About the Author

Jacki Willson is Visiting Lecturer at Nottingham University and Lecturer at South Nottingham College. She is also a practising artist.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Katharine A Gilchrist on 23 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
I am a feminist. Once a week, I attend a burlesque dance class.

Jacki Willson insists burlesque is only acceptable to feminists if done in a "subversive" manner. Otherwise, the "burlesque performer is ... admitting that she is still trapped within existing value systems and erotic forms".

Indeed?

I am an amateur. I have performed in public only once. However, burlesque has helped me become more confident. Many other women feel the same. Most of us have hang-ups about our bodies and all of us have plenty going on in our lives outside burlesque.

So, trapped? I feel restricted by many things, including: socio-economic conditions, existential doubts, hang-ups about my body and being ruled by a government that values neither my opinions nor my contributions to society. Hence, my hobbies matter. If someone disparages one of them, I want to know why.

Art "needs to disturb", argues Willson.

Really? I would rather admire a picture of sunflowers than adore a bisected calf or gilded skull. Is Willson seriously advocating a world where radios play nothing but protest songs, all plays are agitprop and every T-shirt bears a slogan? If not, why pick on burlesque artistes rather than pensioners doing apolitical watercolours?

Willson says that indifference or "nonchalance [towards feminism] informs many women inspired by and contributing to the present boom in burlesque".

That may be so, but where is the problem? I feel secure in my own views. I can risk mixing with nonchalant non-feminists. Surely Willson is not accusing me of sharing their simplistic attitudes?

That appears to be her view, although she never formally admits it. She lumps together burlesque with cosmetic surgery, porn and prostitution.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. A. Mcguire on 13 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
this book is a fantastic reference book, enlightening and reliable. a great source for my dissertation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic book looking at burlesque and feminism in a critical way.

Interesting perspectives, a necessary for anyone interested in the burlesque: feminist or not? debate!
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By clocktower on 25 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
good for 3rd year drama course at leeds
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7 of 15 people found the following review helpful By The Critic on 29 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
I got this book because I needed help with my screenplay that has a London strip club as a major feature.
And to be honest it was quite entertaining - I had been recomended a book called Cold Ice And Baby Oils - but couldnt find a copy anywhere - no-one had heard of it - but never mind as this book paints a picture and gives a powerful insight a sleazy and sad world where women are used by horrible men.
Worth reading - because it tells a nasty story in a decent way.
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