Betty Grumble - GORELESQUE 3
Red Bennies is joining the protest and getting ready to grumble with the Monster that is Betty Grumble!
How long has Betty Grumble being in existence?
Betty Grumble was created in February 2011, although her ethos and aesthetic has been gestating for some years… It wasn’t until I entered ‘Lucy Suze’s Lucky Dip’ a variety night/talent quest that Betty Grumble showed herself. I ended up winning the finals, and, with incredible support from the performance community have been growing the Grumble ever since.
How did she come into existence? Why?
Betty Grumble is a protest. She is a collision of comedy and horror, a grotesque caricature that was born out of a need to challenge how female bodies are expected to look/behave/be. My desire as an artist is to infuse feminist questioning in a form that is accessible and effective, traversing various spaces and reaching a variety of spectators.
In your own words, who is Betty Grumble?
Betty Grumble is a monster. She represents all the hypocritical, tortured, backwards prejudices and hierarchy honouring, that permeates the Australian landscape. She is an experiment with the grotesque, abject, camp methodologies and is ultimately a parody.
You were an advocate and a participant for the rally against the US company Universal Royalty Beauty Pageant in Melbourne. This issue must be very important to you. Can you please explain your viewpoint on these pageants?
This IS very important to me! I am a kind of ‘Anti-Mascot’ to the ‘Pull The Pin On Beauty Pageants For Children Campaign’. I appear as Betty Grumble but speak through her as Emma Maye at rallies. I believe that Child Beauty Pageants need to be stopped because they teach children that their body is their currency. They program little girls to judge themselves and each other on how much they look like the rigid beauty ideal that Western Society has established so strongly. Not only is it squashing the celebration of difference, pageantry is a farce that perpetuates women as objects to be judged and cast aside.
What do you have to say when the organiser’s claim that these pageants enable the children to “learn confidence”?
Excrement. Go to a drama class, join a debating team, build a treehouse or play some hockey.
Feminism. What is your personal definition of the word today and how it has evolved?
Feminism is the acknowledgement of the persistence of women as the second sex. Feminism is the struggle for both men and women, queer, straight, trans or other to abolish the sex gender system and instill equality in every aspect of our existence. It is also sensitivity to all corruption, environmental, racism, classism etc. It is solidarity. Feminism is an important word to embrace. I meet people who scoff at Feminism, buying into the thinking that it is a ‘man-hating-agenda’. This is just a boring hate tactic marketed by the media! We have to acknowledge our sisters that have gone before us, we have to evolve with the changing world to free all people. Feminism has evolved by taking on many varying (some argue conflicting) forms, the best thing about Feminism is, that in it’s truest form it celebrates and embraces difference.
What would you ultimately like people to take home from seeing one of your performances?
Solidarity! I like to think that the performance ‘gifts’ I offer can inspire a collective experience through laughter and horror. Everyone will respond to Betty in a different way. She is divisive. This element of performance is sometimes dangerous but a necessary part of having a strong opinion that I communicate through my body. In my experience as Betty thus far…. You either love her or hate her, and both work!
Now onto Gorelesque 3. Without giving too much away, what can the audience expect from your act/s?
The Gorelesque audience can expect an introduction to Betty Grumble! They can expect a parade, a pageant, a ‘sexy’ dance, and witness the decay of a Beauty Queen…Her insides spilling out…
How do you feel you fit into the whole theme of Gorelesque?
I fit in because Betty is a MONSTER!
What is your personal favourite performer in the show? Why?
I freaking love Glita Supernova… OH BOY is she a TREAT! TA-DAH! It is totally overwhelming and satisfying to be surrounded by such a strong and vibrant cast of performers. It’s a babe fest.
What are your plans for 2012?
I plan to train overseas, keep developing the Betty Grumble contagion and produce my full length show ‘Betty Grumble is Gagging For It’ !
Where would you like to see Betty Grumble evolve?
I would like Betty Grumble to evolve into a Feminist Icon. I want her to infiltrate the mainstream… I have visions of Betty Grumble on the cover of men’s magazine’s… being a weather girl… walking the cat-walk… and vomiting on celebrities.
Any last comments?
WEE! I love GORELESQUE!