Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Jenkins, Pamela J.

Second Advisor

Luft, Rachel E.

Third Advisor

White, Janelle L.


This paper describes the experiences of exploitation and liberation for neo burlesque performers using feminist theory as the context for analysis. The project had the following goals: to identify using phenomenology, the essence of new burlesque participant experiences, to analyze those experiences using feminist theories of exploitation and liberation regarding sex work, to compare burlesque to stripping, and to compare new burlesque to classic burlesque for understanding how burlesque is different today. To obtain these goals, participant observations were done of neo burlesque shows and neo burlesque performers agreed to an interview in which questions were asked that highlight their perceptions. The phenomenological aspect of the studies emphasizes their experiences of exploitation and liberation. There were specific experiences regarding the structure of participation that allowed for differences between stripping and burlesque, as well as perceptions that burlesque is an empowering medium of self-expression.


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