All that separates "subversive" burlesque from a stripping? Class consciousness.
As we mentioned last week, burlesque has been in the news lately, since a London council classified a hipster burlesque show as "adult entertainment," tantamount to lap-dancing. To those of us who've watched the rise of neo-burlesque as an act of self-described performance art and subversive empowerment - and its acceptance as a standard part of any urban gym's fitness menu -such a ham-handed move seems laughable. But in an essay in the Guardian, one young woman, Laurie Penny (who, at least, must have had her choice of stage names. We'd have gone with 'Penny Dreadful' like cheap Victorian fiction) claims that the reality of working as a burlesque dancer was, for her, anything but subversive - and that the business now is not what the 90's revival had in mind.