trombone slide

From here on out, one update a week. Promise.
In this week’s episode: strip clubs! Now, there is a lot of literature out there for, against, about, and indifferent to strippers. There is a nation that has outlawed them whole hog and a city that makes most of its money off of them. But every feminist must at some time grapple with the issue, and living in the city with the most strip clubs per capita (look it up, it’ll shock you) means it’s my turn.
My initial reaction is the same as to prostitution; it’s going to happen so embrace it and empower it and make it safe. Women have always been seen as mainly sexual objects, why not flip that around and make some money off of it? The issue with this is that unfortunately it’s not usually a situation of female empowerment but of forced subjugation.
But the idea of women on stage is an interesting one. I did a lot of reading about power dynamics between performer and audience for a paper I wrote about female comedians. The interesting thing is that when a woman is on stage she is in charge of and in control of a large audience of males. This is a position women are rarely in. Too bad the way most of them get there is either as a self-denegrating tom-boy or as a fully nude sex object. But there is power in comedy, is there power in stripping? In both situations you have a woman who is deciding how an audience full of men is going to behave, react, or receive her. I think this is where burlesque becomes a feminists preferred paid sexual entertainment. There is character, attention to detail, and much more perceived sexuality than blatant. And in the situation of burlesque a woman is not just a body, but a character and sometimes a story. It’s still objectification, but so is fashion and none of us want to give that up.
Stripping is something I am thoroughly divided on. I do not condemn strippers, but I condemn the part of society that keeps them in high demand. People are always going to want to see other people naked, that will never change (and who wants it to?!?!) but is it really necessary to do it so lewdly and with so little regard to the person? But at the same time, is it anyone’s right to say that women can’t make money off of their bodies this way? We should get to make money however we want (barring ways that hurt people like murder and pushing heroin) and as long as the decision is completely driven by exhibitionism and desire on the part of the stripper than I suppose I don’t really have a problem with it. The problem being that we don’t live in a society where it is completely the strippers choice. Even if she wants to be stripping there are so many factors that, had they been absent, may have led her in another direction.
This may be multi-post material, it’s going to take a lot of reading and talking to set my mind on this one. What do YOU think? What resources led you to your opinion?


About Charlotte

In an attempt to figure it all out, I've broken the world up in to tiny pieces and am conquering them one at a time.
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2 Responses to trombone slide

  1. Marc says:

    I think there are generally two flaws in most feminist critique of sex industry work(and workers):

    1. It trades on classic slut shaming, inasmuch as there is often an assumption the work is inherently degrading, and specifically is such women (I’ve never heard anyone lament the poor exploited men in porn for example). If society wasn’t shaming woman for being involved in sex (work), it likely wouldn’t be thought of as dehumanizing or worse then any other pay for service profession.

    2. Whether it is in fact harmful to any of the folks involved is a personal experience driven issue, so the question has no universal answer. A white woman of middle class background who strips at classy, respectful place to make easy money through college doesn’t share much with a poor woman of color who dances at a place one step removed from a bordello to feed her kids.

  2. cj says:

    Well, for both personal satisfaction and for education, I highly recommend and .

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