Posted on April 07, 2014 by Dr. DeahToday... we have flash mobs. I am a relative newcomer to flash mobs. I recently went to my first mob when I heard about a hot flash mob for peri-menopausal and menopausal women from Ragen Chastain and Jeanette DePatie via Facebook. The word spread via social media, I learned the dance steps from a video posted on Facebook, found the staging area using the GPS on my iPhone, and tweeted about it during and afterward. The energy was infectious and inspirational. And yes, a part of me felt nostalgic and wondered how much more awesome the Be-Ins could have been if we had had all of this technology to connect us! Now there is a new flash mobs in the works and in the name of bashing the stereotype that some of us old hippies are resistant to change and reluctant to embrace this new world of Tweets, Tumblrs, LinkedIns, and Instagrams, I am using this blog to help spread the word! After all, one of our anthems warned the generation before us that they had better.
Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land And don’t criticize What you can’t understand Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command Your old road is rapidly agin’ Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand For the times they are a-changin’So in the spirit of Change, not wanting to be a hypocrite, and all the goodness that can come from combining the wisdom of age with the knowledge of youth, I contacted Juicy D. Light after I read this message on my FatStudies Listserve:
Burlesque performer Juicy D. Light (head of the Rubenesque Burlesque troupe in Oakland) is putting together a FAT FLASH MOB to dance to Pharrell Williams' "Happy" in May. She is holding regular classes in Oakland for those who are local, and also offering videos for those who want to coordinate mobs in other cities. There are ways to adapt the choreography for many levels of ability, including those who would prefer or need to remain seated. Information is here: Please consider joining, whether you're local or distant. She would love to have fat flash mobs all over to spread the message of being HAPPY with your fat body!I thought it would be cool to interview Juicy, find out more about the fat flash mob taking place on May 3, and get the word out ASAP so we could let as many people as possible know about the event. Here is what Juicy had to say, and I for one, found her answers to be truly d-lightful! Dr. Deah: Could you please tell us a bit about what burlesque is and how you got involved with Rubenesque Burlesque?
Juicy: Burlesque is the art of the tease. It can be just pretty or political or poignant. This art form can tease and titillate or it can educate. There's all kinds of burlesque at this point. Before there was just classic, evening gowns, gloves, boas, feather fans, lots of bling; but now there's boylesque, queerlesque, nerdlesque, sadlesque, all kinds of things you can do while taking your clothes off. I got involved when Heather MacAllister came to town. She taught a burlesque class and after the class she asked me to join her troupe. D: How do you see Rubenesque Burlesque intersecting with the Fat Acceptance movement? J: Rubenesque Burlesque shows that fat women, in particular, are beautiful, sexy, in demand, worthy, active, healthy, etc., which is an uncommon thought. We work hard, we dance hard. People see us and sometimes change their minds. Sometimes they make an adjustment to the stereotypes they hold so close. Sometimes they are even able to love themselves a little more. D: What was one event, book, person, or any other catalyst that first opened your eyes to the Fat Acceptance movement? J: Chaya Gordon. She taught a class called AbunDance at the Women's Building in San Francisco. She was a fat dancer. She is the one that gave me my body back.She was the first one that let me know that I was ok AND fat. I could still move my body joyfully, I could still dance.From there, I started to meet others, learn about and understand this thing called Fat Acceptance. D: What do you tell people who argue that burlesque is contradictory to the women's movement because it sexualizes or objectifies bodies? J: This is always an interesting question to me. For me, feminism is about choice. We are all sexual beings. Burlesque is what I like to call consensual objectification. I am dancing before you expecting to be objectified and sexualized on MY terms. It's also a little different for fat women. It's often assumed that no one finds us attractive, sexually attractive or sexually confident. The pendulum needs to swing far the other way to find the balance. This is our choice. D: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is struggling with Body Acceptance? J: I would ask them how do they really feel. Inside. Take inventory. Do they hate themselves because they organically feel bad or is it they've been taught to hate themselves for so long. I realized a while ago that I was taught to hate myself and my fat body. As a little, fat kid on the playground, I played as hard as everyone else, was a good little athlete (always chosen in the top three; never, ever chosen last), I ran, I jumped, I played!! It was over time the hate and the shame became internalized. It was never organic. I would imagine it's the same for many. We just have to reclaim the happiness most of us had. It's hard work, but well worth it D: So true that body hate is learned. None of us are born hating our bodies! I recently heard that you were organizing a fat flash mob. What gave you the idea to do this and what do you hope it will accomplish? J: YES!! It's happening on May 3, 12 pm PST, 2 pm CST, 3 pm EST. It's one of my New Year's resolutions actually. And when I heard the song, "Happy" by Pharrell, that just kind of clinched it. It's more for those that participate than those watching, although I sincerely hope those watching will be positively affected as well. I want people of all body types to be out in the sun, dancing out loud, enjoying their bodies moving! Together, happily! Without hate or shame. D: If someone wants to get involved with the fat flash mob, what do they need to do?
- Rubenesque Burlesque Photo copyright of Johnny Crash.