As usual, my comments in red..
Stephanie Whitfield, Contributing Writer
Issue date: 5/2/06
A stripper has to reveal the parts of the body that one may only be comfortable exposing right before one gets into the shower. Along with wearing pasties and thongs, the stripping profession has held social stigmas in the United States for centuries. How does the stigma of being a stripper affect their roles in their daily lives? Do they enjoy the work, or is it simply for money?
In an article in the Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, the authors explained why such stigmas might exist."The setting of a dance club is prone to deviant activity, such as prostitution and illegal drug use; therefore, the profession of exotic dancing is generally considered deviant," the authors said. OK, true, true. "Stormy," a skinny 21-year-old in white lingerie, had only been working at the Platinum Cabaret strip club for a couple of weeks, and she said that the job offer was easy for her to take. Stormy said she was working on getting a divorce, and had nowhere else to go."I didn't have a hard time deciding to do the job," she said. "I wish I would have started when I was 18." Who knows her reasons, but I am assuming it's because generally younger girls make more money...fresh meat. The entrance to the club was blacked out with paint or cardboard, and there was a warning to all the patrons who entered: "No touching the girls." Inside, the music and smoke took over the entire room. The carpet was made specifically for black lighting, which tried to enhance the colors in the carpet, but was defeated by the wear and tear. After a dancer finished, the emcee would announce that midget strippers would be there that weekend. Wow.
The dancers writhed and slapped their high heels on the stage under flashing colors of light while the men held dollar bills in their outstretched hands, enticing the dancers to come closer. If a dancer chose to get closer, the men's faces would contort between excitement and sheer ecstasy. Stormy said she has had offers for sex outside of the club, but had turned all of them down. She said one man called her a bitch for declining the offer, but the men do not bother her in general.
"I get their money, and move on," Stormy said. Stormy got into the job for the money, she said. A stripper at Platinum could make up to $2,000 a week, compared to the national minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, Stormy said. The biggest complaint among most dancers is that they feel like an object rather than a person, according to the JCJPC article. However, "while dancers feel this exploitation, they also admit to exploiting their customers," the authors said. Well, there you go. That pretty much sums it up doesn't it? Claire Detels, UA professor of music history, said that while some feminists believe stripping reinforces the thought of women as objects, other feminists and scholars believe the profession is a way to reinforce their empowerment."Some feminists within the industry and some scholars argue that paid and self-determined activity by women as sex providers can be felt and/or viewed as empowering, i.e. as a taking back and revaluing of the power of women in and through sex," Detels said.
"Ebony" is a 23 year-old, single mother and is 6 feet 2, but with her heels on, she said she measures around 6 feet 4. Her head almost touches the ceiling when she is dancing on the stage. After she had finished a dance and was sitting down to have a cigarette, she said being a stripper is a double-edged sword."[The customers] feel like they can talk to you however they want because you're a stripper," she said, "but I've learned a lot about men and how they like their women." There is a lot of truth there. It is so eye opening to hear what these guys really want, need, emotionally and physically.
Ebony said she got into dancing because the money was good, which in turn would be good for her daughter. She said it is hard to be a stripper in a small town because so many people recognize her."We're like mini-celebrities [in Fayetteville]," she said, "but when I'm out with my kid, I don't want those people talking to me." I kinda felt the same way.That is why I could never get into the dating customers thing outside of the club. Outside was my time to be me. There were only a few customers that I could be friends with out side of the club. And they treated me respectfully at all times.
Some opponents and feminists of the sex industry agree that the jobs within it are exploitive. Girlfriends worry about their boyfriends going to strip clubs because they feel like it's a form of cheating, or that they will be cheated on. But Ebony disagreed with all of it."To people who are against stripping, I would say, 'Walk in my stripper heels sometime,'" Ebony said. "Maybe girlfriends should give their boyfriends what they want so they don't have to come to us." Ouch. True. I still don't get girls that want to end relationships because their man watches porn. I mean, COME ON!
Ebony said she is merely playing a role, or acting in order to make money. Then with her sad eyes, she said what she thought is the core of her profession. "We get paid to baby-sit men," Ebony said. Preach it sista!
Labels: a day in the life of a stripper, strip club stories, stripper stories, stripxpertease commentary