Posts Tagged ‘strippers’

I’m not saying she’s a slut for being a stripper, but…

March 26, 2012

You don’t have to call someone a slut for your words to be considered slut-shaming. Houston Press writer Richard Connelly, who reports about everything from crime to sports, didn’t say the word “slut” in his 600+ expose on Houston Chronicle reporter Sarah Tressler’s moonlighting as a stripper. But his words spoke for themselves, shaming a woman who dared report on the society page by day and strip by night.

So my question is: So what? Is it a scandal that she spent time in high society among the elite, and then took her clothes for the assumed lower class? (I’m sure rich people don’t go to strip clubs or do anything prsumably dirty! NEVER!!!!) I can see that being a surprise to people — it might be more of a cultural shock in Texas, where I think acting “ladylike” is emphasized more than, say, the Midwest.

She’s also an adult who’s got a right to report, teach as a college professor, and strip if she wants to. I like that this reporter — and probably tons of other people — want to make sure her identity stays defined as primarily one of these things. Because once you admit to voluntarily taking your clothes off for money, or having sex on camera for money, etc., then it’s impossible to be anything else. You’ve dropped a rank in societal standards, it’s unthinkable you’d interact with high-class people — but Richard, you’re right, you never said the word “slut.”

You just downgraded her writing as tasteless and highlighted that her co-workers were furious, complaining that she obviously “flaunted” her stripper money by wearing nice clothes and owning designer purses. I know plenty of people at my office who wear nice clothes and have designer bags — should I be mad that they spent their money on these things, or is it only when it’s stripper money that we should be pissed about what people spend with their own cash?

I have a lot of mixed feelings about shaming women who choose to strip, do porn, etc. Especially when they aren’t actively doing those things anymore, but them just being a part of their past limits women’s access to jobs. I remember a while back that a teacher was fired because she had a porn star past; that Sasha Grey was banned from reading books to children as part of a charitable effort. She doesn’t want to have sex in front of a bunch of first graders. She wants to read them a damn book.

Maybe you don’t like Tressler’s writing style — that’s fine. But I think it’s easy to read between the lines of Richard’s piece to see his disdain for her profession — and her — in what to me seems like an attempt at public humiliation (aka slut-shaming) of some sort. From his update — just calling her choices “interesting” — it seems he might’ve ended up more humiliated.

Male strippers and I don’t want you touching w/o permission

June 10, 2010

Last weekend at my friend’s bachelorette party, I went to a male revue, where the guys were wearing next to nothing and giving lap dances to anything that walked. I saw a lot of interesting things that night, but it’s what one of the male strippers said to me that really caught my attention.

And no, it wasn’t anything dirty. In fact, one of them was chatting me up at the bar when a woman walked by and grabbed his butt. Mid-sentence he said, “I hate when people do that. I hate when people grab my ass, or snap my g-string, or touch my dick.”

I was shocked for two reasons. First, because I instinctively thought, this guy is a stripper and he is offended when someone smacks his ass? Second, I thought, hey, wait a minute, I can totally relate. I hate when people look at me, make a judgment call, and then think they are allowed to grab my ass.

I immediately felt bad about initially thinking this guy was bizarre for getting mad about being violated, because in fact one of the rules was that you aren’t supposed to touch the strippers. I thought it was weird considering the strippers can touch you, but I can see why this guy was annoyed, especially when he was just standing there doing nothing, when people went from viewing him as a person to an object.

I actually told him that I have had that happen too. But for me it’s always triggered by either (1) my gender, or if that’s not enough, it’s (2) whatever I’m wearing, or maybe (3) wherever I am, e.g. guys think that they have special permission at bars to ass-grab.

And for the same reason, it’s annoying. Just as working at a male revue doesn’t mean this guy wants his junk fondled constantly, simply being a woman or wearing a skirt doesn’t mean I want to be randomly touched. In both cases, the people doing the touching don’t see you as a person, but as a “thing” — you’re a stripper or you’re a skank (because you’re wearing a short skirt), and therefore you are dehumanized and it’s OK to touch you without permission.

Despite all of the questionable things I saw at the male revue (never will I look at a dollar bill the same way), it was quite refreshing to hear this guy have the same complaint that I and many of my friends have had in the past. Though, I’m sure the women there didn’t think twice about doing some ass-grabbing, as the $10 cover charge was for a show, and it’s tough to know where that line is drawn between them as performers and them as regular people.

Of course, that begins the argument of whether the two should be different — most people involved in anything sex-related (simulated or not) — strippers, porn stars, prostitutes — are immediately downgraded by a lot of people because of their jobs. Many people think anything bad that happens to strippers, prostitutes, etc. is deserved because of the line of work, no matter how violent.

So are these women violating this guy’s personal space because they see him as less of a human, or because they think it’s part of the show? I’d say the latter, but it’s a slippery slope. I’m sure the guys who ass-grab down Court Street on Halloween at Ohio University will say it’s harmless too, but no matter how slutty you think that girl’s Halloween costume is, your perception isn’t a green light to do whatever you want to her.