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A Taste for the Tease: Burlesque as Lesbian Cinema

A brilliantly defiant film of recent times is 2010’s Burlesque, a risqué musical drama featuring two divas: Christina Aguilera and Cam Gigandet. Cher also stars as a gay Cher impersonator running a burlesque club called─what else?─“Burlesque”. Seriously, what brilliant way to promote your burlesque club by calling it “Burlesque”. Who would want to go to a “Burlesque” club called “Church of the Holy Family” or “Jollibee”, am I right? Calling your burlesque club “Burlesque” has a quaint sincerity to it, much like a prostitute calling herself a whore; there’s no pretentions, no other promises, but to provide what you came in for.

Burlesque is the story of closet lesbian “Ally” played by Christina Aguilera. Ally came to Los Angeles to become a performer. In search of jobs, she ended up entering the world of “Burlesque”, Cher’s rundown lounge under threat of closure from bankruptcy. With no opening available for Ally─who describes herself as a simple cowgirl from Iowa─she picked up a tray and started working as a waitress.

Feel free to fill in the plot as to how Christina Aguilera vajazzled her way from serving drinks to squirting tennis balls out of her vajayjay on stage.

What is brilliant in this movie is the quiet intensity of how Aguilera portrayed a lesbian character. Everytime a half-naked woman is onstage, Aguilera’s eyes would gloss over with lust. Wide-eyed and in awe, Aguilera watched her co-workers perform burlesque routines one after the other. She would stare and gape at the girls on stage, and even when she was one of them, she would constantly be begging for their acceptance.

“You’re so beautiful,” she confessed to Kristen Bell’s Nicki.

With firm resolve to keep herself in the closet, Aguilera’s Ally turned to Cam Gigandet for sexual satisfaction. Lusting after women at work, and sleeping with a gay man in their downtime, Burlesque is no doubt this generation’s Sex and the City: honest, open, and a social commentary on how single people can be empowered by music and feathered boas.

Cher’s portrayal as a gay Cher impersonator is spotless. Using her immense acting skills, Cher’s facial expressions were rigidly held under control as what can only be cinema’s most brilliant display of understated emotions. Bravo, Cher!

It is with a heavy heart that I read the tweets about Black Swan winning more Oscars than Burlesque. Black Swan is an obvious rip-off of Burlesque, especially when you count all the goose feathers involved in both productions. Burlesque is this generation’s All About Eve, a story playing with the dynamics of females working under a stressful environment, and how it creates a situation for their homosexual tendencies to surface. This deeply disturbing narrative of a woman’s obsession to overcome her rival by “becoming” her rival herself is a study on female-to-female attraction and its potent sexual tension. This should have won the Oscar for Best Score, and by Score, I mean Cam Gigandet sleeping with a lesbian for guilt sex.

Rating: 4/10


"...and by Score, I mean Cam Gigandet sleeping with a lesbian for guilt sex." — If Cam's scoring, I wish I was the hoop or the goal or whatever. Hahaha.

I haven't seen this but was wanting to if only for the dance choreography and Cam. I should get around to watching my download. Hehe.

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