"Working in a strip club is hard work, besides the back breaking, rib popping pole tricks, I grow weary of the patronizing female patrons who sport their sexiest sweatshop sewn minidress to sip cocktails and give me and my cohort the stink eye. Face it, you’re not offended by the notion that we could be working in tough places, you’re offended by female sexuality."
This performance is tricky to make: how to not make it another 'i'm just a normal girl stripping my way through uni' piece, how not to delete the actual experiences of those who have been sex trafficked, how to discuss the fact that i don't actually give a shit if it's empowering for women or a feminist act.
But the most tangly thing i have encountered thus far is how much i have to talk about being a stripper. It is such an under-discussed profession in terms of logistics and practicalities and every time i turn around, well-meaning women want to find out about this 'illicit' world.
This performance is about framing sex work under capitalism, using the lens of ethical consumption, sex work as work like any other - that exploits the surplus value of labour. But it is becoming about stripping. "Will you lap dance?" Probably not. "Will you take your clothes off?" Probably.
The above article by Elle Stanger at The Scold was great because it talks about the behaviour of cis women at strip clubs. At their sense of entitlement, their unwillingness to actually pay us for the job we are doing.
There are butch lesbians that come in, exhibiting the worst traits of masculinity. There are the grumpy girlfriends keeping an eye on their untrustworthy boyfriends, projecting their mistrust on to us. There are the grabby drunk straight girls. There are the feminists like Elle talks about, that smirk and never cough up. I am working, so pay up!
I don't want to keep competing with women - i want to smash the patriarchy and neo-liberalism. It's bloody distracting. Making this piece, every woman who wants to unpack what stripping entails is distracting. It's subtle misogyny. It's shame at your own desire to know but inability to do.
"people in all walks of life use their bodies, their emotions, and their time in the pursuit of currency." We pay for the things in our lives with the hours of our labour. I'm making art - stop insisting on more of my emotional labour giving you context for sex work. Visit a strip club for fuck's sake, it's not that hard and you can pay a woman while you are at it.
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