Since my election onto the Portland School Board in the fall, journalist Chris Busby of “The Bollard” and “The Bangor Daily News” has written several articles about me, and each time he has used the words “Stripping” and/or “Stripper”. I have found Chris Busby’s articles to be sexist, and have been suggested by friends and constituents to address some of Busby’s sexism.
When I announced my candidacy to run for School Board in the summer of 2012, I published an article on my blog entitled “Politics and the Pin Up” where I articulated my burlesque hobby in Portland, my dedication to my community, and my desire for public service. I would first like to clarify to readers that there is a difference between burlesque and the profession of stripping. I will also say that I have friends who are or have been strippers. Perhaps Busby is afraid that a “stripping” hobby will be so distracting that I will lack the brain capacity to serve on the School Board! It is a fact that female politicians and those in the public eye are commonly scrutinized, made hollow, and objectified by the media.
When Busby is condescending to the burlesque scene and myself, I think of all of the other dancers and artists who work so hard to contribute to art in Portland for basically no money. It is a labor of love for performers, and I encourage other artists to not feel belittled about what others think of your own work. I appreciate local journalism, and believe that politicians can and should be questioned by the media. I do, however, think that sexism and one-dimensional objectification of others should be called out. I think that Chris Busby should attend a burlesque show in Portland, because he would realize that the people who perform and support the scene are his creative and hard-working neighbors. I will even provide him with two tickets to a show!
I am honored to have been elected onto the School Board and have loved this opportunity more than any other work that I have done. If Busby or others believe that I should not produce or perform in any more shows, than he should say so. Although I believe that it is my First Amendment right to do so, I will consider stopping burlesque if it is too offensive to my constituents. I believe that I have always been tasteful, I have been truthful, and I am dedicated and honored to be serving my term on the Portland School Board.