Too Fat to be a Stripper: Being A Plus Sized Bisexual Burlesque Dancer in a Plastic World
Yes, I am a big girl. I take up more space than most. Almost 300 pounds of cultivated mass loveliness. Maybe I didn’t put down the Pop Tart, but that’s not all of me. I can just close the seatbelt on an airplane, but wonder what I will have to do when I can’t?
I have never blended in to any surroundings. I am real and unapologetic.
It’s just how I am. Even as a young child, my mother put me on a diet.
I enjoy the act of enjoying things. There was one shameful moment where I remember eating a whole can of cherry pie filling in the closet. Rock bottom at age 5, already binge eating in a closet; that’s how geniuses are made baby. I was always encouraged to be myself and knew that I could do anything I wanted to do with my life. Nothing would hold me back, not even society’s thoughts on what my body should look like. My mother found my burlesque suitcase when I first started; she thought I was a prostitute, fair enough, inside of the leopard suitcase was a pink strap on dildo, knee high pleather boots, pasties, and a riding crop.
Now I eat my food like a normal person – on stage, naked, in front of a crowd of adorning strangers, naturally. I am a burlesque dancer, which means a lot of things. Yes, I do take my clothes off, down to generally homemade pasties, fishnets, and ruffles. The art of burlesque is about sensual tease and decadence, it is about the nuance of sexuality, and is open to all ages and body types. It is about real bodies, not the stereotypical plastic surgery creatures of porn and modern dive strip clubs (I am NOT saying that ALL strippers and porn actors fit into this model, sex workers are people too and to generalize them is wrong, many are incredible and respectable artists and all no matter what shortcomings or addictions are human beings who deserve respect and love).
I have met some of the most beautiful humans this world has ever seen through this timeless art. I never thought that it would become a career for me. I have been performing for nearly 10 years. It is the most fun part of my entire life. Burlesque is about diversity and celebrating yourself and your culture freely, it is a safe place, a stage to be political, to be sassy, to be artistic, and express exactly what it is you want to show the world. It is pure ecstatic beauty with tassels.
I glue tassels onto my breasts and jiggle them for all to see. The shear fact that my female nipple has to be covered and my male counterpart can let his go free baffles me. Female nipples mean sex, seduction, they must be hidden, tucked away or the bar will lose its liquor license, the internet will break. Burlesque tears down walls but still uses tassels because there is no other way. Or is there?
Burlesque as a fetish, and even super-size female bodies as a fetish is what my life work is all about. I am to tear down the patriarchy with performance and artistic expression. Burlesque and body positivity is a movement, a revolution with twirling tassels, giant plumes of feathers, and always an epic reveal that leaves you both titillated and confused.
It is important to love the skin you are in, and the guts and stuff that make you up too. Never be ashamed of who you are, there are people with bigger “flaws” than you will know dancing naked in front of the world. Dancers who have saggy skin, one breast removed and the one remaining with a tassel, trans-women, woman and men of all colors and ages, and all kinds of fluid humanity strutting their stuff.
Nobody is “perfect,” especially me! I have terrible skin and rolls of fat and I still have the guts to dance, but to me it isn’t guts at all, it is just me being me. Everyone should do the same, the world would be a much better place if everyone felt safe enough to love themselves out in the open, take pride in the abundance of beauty they possess, let every person linger under the spotlight, and hear a roar of applause, and thank you for being exactly who you are.