Women Street Performers and Sexual Safety

Everyone agrees street performing, or "busking," is hard work. Someone once said about acting, that they do not pay you for the acting, they pay you for the waiting around. That is true in busking, too. Performing talent is about 30% of a good street act. The ability to persevere under harsh conditions, to battle police and merchants over air space, to assert free speech rights at every corner as they are questioned, to spontaneously gather and hold a crowd, and to keep up with hecklers, makes the profession a die-hard one, at best. You spend little time on musical rehearsal, as compared to holding your place in line for a good spot, or "pitch," and then defending that pitch from police when they show up to shut you down. Street performing is not for the weak. And being a solo woman street performer has extra unseen entanglements, due to societal gender stereotypes.

Kirsten Anderberg, Linda Schierman, Becky Woods as Raw Sugar, 1982

You can order Kirsten's new book about street performing, including interviews with street performers about a wide variety of topics. This is a unique view of the busker world from the inside.

American society traditionally wanted women to be seen, and not heard. The "Ideal Woman" was dependant upon men "for her keep," like a slave, serving males like royalty. She had a natural nurturing instinct that made her clean and cook as if it was innate, and she enjoyed childcare as her primary goal in life. Women were not to be sexual in any realm, except for procreation, and as her husband's sexual property, as defined in our rape laws. Women did not need to vote, read, attend college, or be involved with property, politics, or money, was the idea. Solo woman street performers directly conflict with these "ideals." They make their own money, they are loud and independent, they speak their mind, they talk about politics, they compete with the boys, sometimes stealing the spotlight with women's issues, and they encourage other women to do the same, as visible role models in the public square. Read more in my new book, 21st Century Essays on Street Performing aka Busking, on Kindle!

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