After a year of working at The Blue Book Cabaret show at New Orleans club Lucky Pierre’s, Ruby Rage found herself off the schedule. Thinking it was a computer error, she called the show’s producer. Turns out there was no mistake, just blatant discrimination. She was told that the upper management of Lucky Pierre’s didn’t think her body was right for burlesque. When people went off on Lucky Pierre’s for blatant discrimination and giving Burlesque a bad name, LP doubled down with a Facebook response:
We would like to thank everyone for their opinion on Burlesque. Let’s face the facts, in the long history of the art there is an expected image. Josephine Backer, Gypsy Rose Lee, Bettie Page, Blaze Starr, Dita Von Teese, and Mae West. This image was carried to main stream by movies like Burlesque and Cabaret.
If this leaves any doubt of the worlds expectation of Burlesque let’s take a minute to look at the photos by Stephen Le Marche who says, “I love the old world charm of burlesque” and “Burlesque shows off the dancer’s amazing physique.”
This concept is carried through the many burlesque clubs around the world. The Crazy Horse Paris, X Burlesque, Volupte’, Club Noir, Hubba Hubba Revue, Jumbo Clown room and Moulin Rouge.
The world has a standard for burlesque and our dramatically comical musical show will achieve that standard.
Please also take a moment to help clear any more confusion on what is burlesque and watch the video from the burlesque hall of fame 2014 Miss Exotic World champion LouLou D’Vil. As well as this clip from Carson Daily show.
Thank you for the continued support as we create the greatest show in America.”
Many of those mentioned in the statement, along with other big names in Burlesque, spoke out against the statement in seriously strong language. As they should, because this is bullshit.
Even if the statement wasn’t just chock full o’ lies, using past discrimination to justify current and future discrimination is an age old tool that must be recognized and called out (and not in a “but she’s not even that fat” defense.) If you’re planning on making a “they are allowed to choose who performs in their show” argument, save yourself the effort. The question here isn’t whether or not this particular type of discrimination is legal, it’s whether or not we’re going to stand for it.
I cannot wait to live in a world where we chose our performers based on their ability to perform and not based on some stereotype of beauty, and where people fight discrimination instead of arguing that it’s not technically against the law, and I’m going to actively work to create that world. How about you? Nobody is obligated to do activism but if you get the urge, here are some things that you can do:
Head over to Lucky Pierre’s Facebook page and let them know what you think.
Let Yelp know what you think of Lucky Pierre’s policy of blatant discrimination.
Write a review of Lucky Pierre’s for Google.
Show Ruby some love on Facebook.
Get the word out – share this blog or other articles about this on your social media.
1. I’m want to get in touch with Beth Ditto for a possible collaboration – if you know her, I would love an introduction you can e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org
2. It looks like I’ll be in Europe later this year. I’m putting together a European speaking tour so if you’re in the area and interested in having me come speak shoot me an e-mail at ragen at danceswithfat dot org and we’ll work out the details!
Like this blog? Here’s more cool stuff:
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