May 12, 2018

Rita Renoir - From striptease to fembodactivism

This post is about Rita Renoir. Weird life path this woman had. Unusual and finally perfect to deserve a cult following. Born in 1934, she was one of the first and most famous French stripper. She was a vedette in the Crazy Horse Saloon revue and was called the "tragedian of striptease" in the 50's. Below an extract of a movie (in 1963) where she shows how she stripped. You sure haven't seen a more erotic strip tease in your life. She's like a flame (not far to be an anagram of female) dancing in the middle of embers (male members). Or, using another metaphor, she's the wild animal surrounded by fascinated males, she's the hunter, they're the preys that imagine they're the hunters (like the song "The hunter gets captured by the game"). I add another strip from a previous episode of this series ("The Cage"). Once again, the thema of the female shown like a wild animal (here in cage) is at the center of the scenario. Then she became an actress in several more or less known films and played with Michel Simon a René de Obaldia play, but the most important is that afterward, she became one of the first fembodactivist (according to this word I created some years ago, here are the 17 previous female performers I have included in this category) with a "play" that was more a performance than a traditional play, and where, among other things, she exposed her open sex to the audience. Yes, many years before Annie Sprinkle, and for some similar reasons, except maybe Rita Renoir was much more in a mystic and poetic approach of the fascination that the female body exerts on males, than in the psycho-social and rationalized approach of the late century feminism. Here you can read an interesting text about one performance (in French) and the intense and even violent reactions it could trigger (two males from the audience walked on stage, undressed and threatened to rape her). This was in 1973 and until her death, 2 years ago, she won't have, to my knowledge, many activities on the movie, theater or performance plans. She had really something special as, even sparse and of uneven quality, the above pictures attest. She was not made for these times as sung the Brian Wilson in his eponymous song and she is one of these human beings that can be understood more easily in the future than in her present. Some days ago, Christophe Bier, the French writer, gave a talk about her at the Pompidou Center. It's a way to give some worldwide echo to this hommage. Here I only post pictures I found on the net but there's surely more. It's a modest way to make her name and body alive on the web.


  1. I especially like the first 2 pictures!

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