The first Burlesque meeting, January 2017

On a chilly Sunday afternoon our team meets up in the heart of Helsinki: Emma, Janna, the star of our new film Lidia Bäck and photographer Mara Jelinko.

We live in a society in which young women often find it hard to feel at ease in their bodies. If one looks closer at how the media portrays women today it isn’t that suprising. A recent study reveals that in many of the big fashion magazines aimed at women 85% is commercial content – the aim of which is to sell products claiming to make us more beautiful. The women in the pictures are young, slender and photo-shopped to flawlessness. How can a woman navigate this sea of visual stimuli whilst remaining comfortable in her own body, the way it is? We are bombarded with suggestions on how to improve ourselves but few seem to ask the question: what do you want? What do you, yourself, want?

This century has already seen considerable movement towards exposing the norms of sexuality that permeate our culture and the aim of this program is to be part of that development. For Lidia, performing as a Burlesque artist has led to an enormous personal liberation as it has reconciled her with her body. What does that look like, then, moving from feeling like an object to feeling like a subject? And how do we film someone without objectifying them, when the camera is the very means by which objectification of the body has been effectively achieved? Outside the darkness is settling over frozen water. Indoors an open fire, the clinking of teacups and the conversation continues.

From the left: Lidia Bäck, Janna Thorström, Emma Fogelholm and Mara Jelinko. Burlesque photography: B-Space.