Women usually take burlesque classes for one of three reasons: they want to feel cheeky and have fun, they want to improve their body confidence and how they feel about themselves, or they want to become a professional burlesque performer. When asked about their experience of learning and performing burlesque the majority of our students will use the word 'empowering' in their answer.
Like many women, my attitude to my weight and body shape is fairly complicated. There are many factors influencing it - health, feminism, the desire to be attractive, the desire to eat cake, whether or not I'm about to meet up with someone I haven't seen for a few years - but really it comes down to a constant tension between two polar opposite ethoses.
Clearly, biologically women's bodies have an obvious function: baby-making. Throughout history this baby-making facility of the female anatomy has become entwined with the nurturing of the whole family, and feminists (men and women) fought for a woman's right to have a career, if they so chose to have one.
Recently I was lucky enough to talk to Lee Epting, Content Services Director at Vodafone. But how has she felt working as a woman in a man's world? Does she feel - like many women I've spoken to - that she has to sacrifice femininity in order to achieve strength in the workplace? At the end of the day, does Lee have to put on a 'man suit' and play by men's rules?