SXSW Booth babes and Burlesque
So yea, I am kinda out there. It doesn’t take a very sophisticated search to find some very odd pictures of me on those interwebs.
I love performing and costumes and burningman. So last year at SXSW, I threw a party with some friends called “Pastries and Pasties. ” I wanted to do cupcakes; he wanted to do Burlesque. Seems like an awesome mashup… Except for the fact I couldn’t get sponsors to save my life. Evidently there are people out there afraid of boobies (except the French! Vive la France!)
I do not view our event as sexist. In fact it is the opposite. We typically also have male performers as well and much of it is vaudeville esque. It does not feel like a strip club. Strip clubs have this exclusion and separation factor that I find to be creepy. This event was about art. Sexy art some times but also funny art and political art and it was very inclusive entertainment.
My favorite story of the night was getting trapped in the bathroom with a group of British gals that thought the party was about cupcakes and meat pies (evidently pasties are meat pies in the UK – should have got some of them to sponsor ;-).) So they were talking about “hmm should we be insulted? We wanted meat pies and there are gals doing burlesque instead…” but they had an open minds decided to watch the show and were pleasantly surprised. They found the variety of performers and the level of art and skill to be empowering instead of sexist.
In contrast this was the first year to me that SXSW felt too big. And it seems to have gotten the plague that most larger conferences get. I am talking about “booth babes.” Ok I have been a booth babe in regards to the fact I have purposely been the person working the booth at the conference because I am an attractive female that is well spoken. I know the attractiveness makes it easier I am not naive. But I like to think the difference is that I am very knowledgeable person to be working the booth (heck sometimes I was a founder.) What annoys me is using a pure sexual attraction factor – I view it as exploitation or insincere advertising. I mean what is the point of having unknowledgeable people at your booth? To me that seems sexist.
And yet booth babes are more acceptable than burlesque? Prudish Americans are illogical.