Friends, I wound down my Pride in Seattle a couple of weekends ago by sprawling on the couch with a ton of friends, all of us dehydrated and overly gay-fied, to watch Flashdance for the first time. I am still thinking about it. I don't know how I managed to go so very long without ever seeing Flashdance, but 27 years in was TOO LONG. Let me tell you a little something about Jennifer Beals' character, Alexendra “Alex” Owens, I.E. my new butch/femme idol.
|What a feeling, INDEED.|
|Meat, side-boob, cuffs. Say no more, Beals.|
Which brings us to point 2: Alex knows how to work her sexuality and derive pleasure from it.
Mawby's, her night job, is the most avant garde strip club EVER, and she feels truly alive dancing there. The sexual politics between Mawby's and the other strip club in town, the Zanzibar, are fascinating. The women working at Mawby's are portrayed as having great camaraderie, and a lot of autonomy over how they create their dances, which all the off duty steel workers LOVE, even though a lot of them include no stripping, and such likely unusual in a Pittsburgh bar qualities as: social commentary on the role of television; kabuki face paint; and drag.
Meanwhile, Zanzibar is all nude, all writhing on the floor, all the time. The women who work there are portrayed as having fallen so low that Alex even has to go rescue her buddy Jeannie at one point, and bring her back to Mawby's, the gentler, kinder, family strip club. I'm not too thrilled by this rescue scenario or the politics behind it, but performance artists gotta stick together, amIrightladies?
Alex is secretly saving up for her ultimate dream, which is to become a much less interesting dancer at the Pittsburgh Repertory Ballet, where through years of rigorous schooling in how to “make a line” and stand on your toes in painful shoes, she will eventually become the dancer of her dreams, and someone will give her flowers, because the leading lady “always gets flowers.”
|Sometimes the leading lady gets herself a beer instead.|