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Naked Girls Reading impressions

By Barcham 12 December 2013 44


So last night I went to go see Naked Girls Reading at the Polit Bar.

Now in interest of full disclosure: Naked Girls Reading event is run by Tiffany Blue who happens to be a member of the Sass & Tease Collective which I am also a part of. Also most of the readers were also members of this collective one of whom is my girlfriend. So bias ahoy is basically what I’m saying.

I quite liked it.

It’s in Manuka, which is a drag because… well Manuka, but Polit bar was a nice friendly bar with some nice food and some great cocktails. It sat at the top of a flight of stairs behind a black curtain and seemed exactly like the kind of place one might go to see some burlesque.

Oddly enough the event was very non-burlesque. There was nudity dressed up in sparkly jewelery and lipstick and high heels and all that, but there was none of the show or spectacle of a burlesque show. None of the energy or tease. Here were four girls sitting on a stage.

The “Naked Girls” part of the title obviously lured a lot of people into the venue, but it quickly turned out to be the least important part of the event. (If you were suddenly thought “Ha! Yeah right!” congratulations, you’re incredibly boring and unimaginative.)

Yes the girls were pretty, but the reading was the star. About 10 minutes into the event a quick glance around the room showed people with their eyes closed or staring aimlessly ahead instead of at the stage. People were just tuning out everything but the stories. It was quite amazing.

The power of someone reading you a story should not be underestimated and many people may not have had this pleasure since they were children. There was something profoundly comforting and enjoyable about it.

The night had some teething problems with sound and lighting, and the performers obviously needed to warm up their voices more to fix some of the projection and diction problems, but these were small quibbles. The girls were open and honest about the fact that this wasn’t a conventional style of event and that they were kind of making it up as they went and the audience respected that. I’m interested to see how they improve it.

I suggest checking it out, even if you were into nudity before hipsters tried to make it cool or whatever if was everyone was saying in the last thread.
Wear a blindfold if you must, but go just to be read to. It’s quite a nice feeling.

Sorry about the lack of photos, but y’know, there are rules about this sort of thing.

What’s Your opinion?

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Naked Girls Reading impressions
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maxblues 6:51 am 21 Dec 13

Naked women reading in a bar, four things the Taliban are against. If we oppose any of these four things…then the terrorists have already won.

AsparagusSyndrome 2:05 am 21 Dec 13

I find it disempowering when others flaunt their literacy at me. Their tight grammar, accurate pronunciation and intonation; their informed choice of texts to suit the development of an intellectual discourse; their broad understanding of the milieu in which their reading and storylines will be interpreted, their development of responsive sub-narratives and juxtaposition through body language, audience interaction and facile expression, and their smooth tonal control and contrived sub-lingual resonances. You cannot tell me that’s not just exhibitionism. I could never do that.

tikbalang 5:49 pm 20 Dec 13

Some thoughts.

Barcham said :

I think the purpose/intent of the nudity is slightly different for each girl/chapter. I’ve heard talk of the idea that having nude performers creates an instant intimacy for the event which makes sense, I’ve also been told that fro some the goal is to take the human body away from something we only see in porn and show it doing something normal and natural.

It helps to understand what pornography is, i suppose – for me, one of the crucial aspects of it is that it replaces a something directly lived (sex) with a representation. This isn’t a moral point (or at least not a prudish one) – it is a social one, and goes to our experience of life. Unless you’d make the argument that there is nothing wrong with this separation of the human from human experience, we have the basis for mounting an argument about why pornography is, at least, banal and, at most, harmful.

So now we’re in a position to talk about why Naked Girls Reading doesn’t fit into the definition of the pornographic (or at least, how it might not). I didn’t go to this, but conceptually it’s pretty clear that the intent isn’t to replace some form of lived experience with some kind of representation. You are actually living a particular experience which is derived from the tension between sex and literature – and maybe even throwing into high relief how the text being read does (or doesn’t) call our attention to the physical and active possibilities of art. That being said, I could see how the form potentially could be used simply to titillate. I’d have to think more about that before I could argue whether that would be pornographic, but it still might not.

Barcham said :

Some just want to sexy-up literature, which does in the end fall roughly into the realm of pornography.

Still that’s cool too. Their bodies, their choice, and power to anyone who wants to make porn into beautiful intelligent women classical literature instead of pool cleaners having their way naughty housewives.

This is kind of less interesting. “My body, my choice” is a good slogan but it doesn’t stand for much. After all, while people have agency they are also bound by structure. That is to say, the choices are in many ways defined for you. Others have talked about this as the “rigged game” of official culture and that metaphor probably serves to illustrate what I mean sufficiently. We can respect bodies, choices, people, and still have the right to positions on those choices, why they were made, what coercive forces were in play. For example, ‘my body, my choice’ seems like a pretty sick joke if we’re talking about some Chinese dude selling his kidney because it’s the only way he’s going to afford that month’s groceries after the harvest fails.

Barcham said :

In the end, like I said in the review, I don’t feel like it added much to the event, but that’s just me and what I took from it doesn’t necessarily reflect what they tried to do with it.

Maybe, in the end, all it served was to attract a few gents who wouldn’t have otherwise bothered like you suggested, but maybe it did more than that for some audience members.

I don’t know

I can tell you that the audience was largely couples, or mixed sex groups of friends, for what that information is worth.

The important issue here is that whatever their goal, we shouldn’t be “slut-shaming” these women by calling them sexist, or insecure, or accusing them of just pandering to lonely men, simply for choosing to use their bodies and sexuality differently than we use ours. When we shame women for going against the patriarchal ideal that a woman’s body should be kept hidden her whole life until she gives it to her husband, it’s like we’re suggesting that it’s not actually hers to do with as she pleases and instead she’s merely the caretaker looking after it until a man turns up to claim it, and that’s kinda ****ed up.

See above, I guess.

CraigT 5:34 pm 20 Dec 13

Barcham said :

I don’t know what’s more hilarious and offensive, the idea that men are powerless when presented with naked girl flesh, or the idea that women are actively conspiring to rule over us using their mind control tits.

You may scoff at the power-imbalance that is created by female nudity, but it does exist, and female people do use it to their advantage.

It appears from your scoffing that you are somewhat sexist. Or, more likely, you have been indoctrinated by powerful strippers.

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