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Tempest in a D Cup: Sexual Attitudes Revealed in Reactions to Burlesque Performance

Tempest in a D Cup: Sexual Attitudes Revealed in Reactions to Burlesque Performance

In Canberra, on Wednesday 6 September 2006, seven female burlesque dancers began entertaining at a conference dinner for the 17th Australia New Zealand Climate Forum – Climate Variability & Climate Change, at Old Parliament House. Fifteen minutes into the performance, the dancers ceased performing, in the face of a walkout led by women scientists. 

As a result of one woman writing to the newspaper, the issue came under intense media scrutiny. In addition, the media tells us that a Government employee also present on the night, reported back to his department, and Federal funding for the conference was withdrawn.

This is an event rich with controversial issues relating to sexual suggestion in a male dominated context, and governmental and political reactions. The questions I am exploring in this paper are as follows: From the points of view of the dancers, the female and male complainants, and government decision makers and the employees working at the function, what can we learn from this event about Australian attitudes to sex? What was the attitude of those who hired the dancers, before, during and after the event? How do those attitudes resonate with the recent study into the sexual lives of Australians, the Australian Study of Health and Relationships?

Media reports will be analysed, and structured discussions with participants will be considered, in relation to the data from the Australian Study of Health and Relationships. Conclusions about attitudes to sex will be reached.

 

Speakers: Jane Keany
Conference: Demo
Areas of Interest / Categories: Media, Sexual Behaviour