Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture

Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture

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Author/Contributor(s): Allen, Robert
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Date: 05/27/1991
Binding: Paperback
Condition: NEW
Burlesque was a cultural threat, Allen argues, because it inverted the normal world of middle-class social relations and transgressed norms of proper feminine behavior and appearance. Initially playing to respectable middle-class audiences, burlesque was quickly relegated to the shadow-world of working-class male leisure. In this process the burlesque performer lost her voice, as burlesque increasingly revolved around the display of her body.
Locating burlesque within the context of both the social transformation of American theater and its patterns of gender representation, Allen concludes that burlesque represents a fascinating example of the potential transgressiveness of popular entertainment forms, as well as the strategies by which they have been contained and their threats defused.