So last night, I went to a strip club for the first time.
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And it was great. Not the response you'd expect from someone who opposes the sexual objectification and exploitation of women.
But I am about to explain to you how I, a woman in her early twenties, experienced the strip club as a safeenjoyable and empowering place. First, I will clarify. A "strip club" refers to a club or bar in which dancers entertain the customers, by dancing suggestively and wearing saucy outfits. Dancers may give customers a private one-to-one dance, for an extra charge. There is NO touching allowed. Strip clubs and brothels are often lumped together under the forbidden umbrella of 'adult entertainment', creating confusion between the two.
But they are distinct: you go to a strip club to watch women dance, you go to a brothel to have sex. Yes, having sex with a stripper in a strip club is actually illegal. For a witty, no-bullshit breakdown of strip club etiquette for women, see this article from Ashley Uzer: " Strip Club Etiquette For Women.
For many, the mention of a strip club incites a scene of a dark, smoky bar, filled with drooling year-old men in suits, all leering at scantily-clad girls twisting and grinding on a pole. The men discuss business, smoke pipes, with a glass of single malt in one hand and a fistful of banknotes in the other. As depicted in movies, the strippers are at the beck and call of the clients and are mute, objectified, and powerless. But actually, the strippers own the room.
First time strip club goers | vegas virgin’s bible
I went to a strip club with a big group of friends who were celebrating a work achievement. One other girl and I were the only females in the group. After paying the entrance fee, we entered the bar and were greeted by a scene of delirious, awkward patrons, having drinks and chatting to one another, many eyes fixed on a woman wearing intricate lingerie, adeptly winding around a pole. We were sat at a table close to the stage. We ordered a round, we took our coats off, I went to the bathroom, and came back to sit and drink.
I could have been at any bar, apart from the women in lingerie walking around us. I was expecting to feel on edge, uncomfortable even. There is something about women in their underwear which often, not always affects heterosexual men; they become emboldened, more assertive in their advances towards the non-naked women. But the whole time, I felt completely safe. No one was bothering me, they were watching the strippers! I was simply a fellow patron. I was also amazed at how easily my male friends lost their composure. But when my friends glimpsed a bum, a breast, a woman dancing seductively they lost their minds.
They were freaking out. They had the men in the room like putty in their hands, just by embracing their femininity and showing off how sexy they were. The women were all beautiful, with lingerie in different styles, thoughtfully accessorized.
The women who were not on the stage would simply approach patrons, introduce themselves, ask how everyone was doing, and if anyone wanted a private dance. They were sociable, intelligent, businesswomen. And there was no danger. They were keeping the women safe while they worked. These women were safer at the strip club than the average woman is going to a normal club. In clubs, women will be groped, their arses grabbed, their drinks spiked. In the strip club, the women were revered, respected, and protected.
I settled into my seat and sipped my rum and coke, chatted with friends, and watched the dancers.
I had never felt so relaxed at a club. This was a pleasant surprise. It also supports what strippers say about their job, and how the stigma is unwarranted. This article from a woman who used to waitress in a strip club echoes some of the observations I had, by attending as a patron: "What I Learned Working At A Strip Club. Of course, I went to a strip club in a reasonably affluent city in a wealthy Western country.
It was my first time, and I am probably ignorant to the differences between strip clubs in this context and strip clubs in other, less egalitarian places. So, my perspective on this topic is arguably limited. My final point here is that how we feel about what people do comes down to their right to make their own choices.
Women who choose to work in a strip club should not be slut-shamed. As for me, my stance on strippers is this: let women do what they want to do, and know that those who are strippers are bad-asses. Sprightly twenty-something with a nerd-obsession for writing. Avid book-reader, relentless food-seeker. I write about culture, travel, feminism, mental health, relationships, with the odd poem thrown in there. We are introduced to it young. We set our young eyes on female cartoon characters with impossibly tiny waists and grow up to see these same collarbones and legs on our magazine racks.
It is so normalized we forget how truly unnatural and wholly unattainable it First time at a stripclub.
People may argue that our society as a whole has become more accepting of "thick" women, but despite this, dieting and hunger have not ceased. Don't do this and don't do that. That's all we ever hear growing up. You can't go here and you can't go there. It's too late for that and it's just too dangerous for you. We ask.
I visited a strip club for the first time
Because you're a girl we're told. But since when is being a girl a bad thing? As soon as we're able to understand what's being said, we're told to be careful around certain family members. The question is, why let those family members near us if that was the case? Ever since we were old enough to attend school we were told that if a boy was mean to us, he secretly liked us. So then everyone wonders why we get into abusive relationships. We're just accepting the love that we were taught at a young age to accept. Ever since kindergarten we were told we couldn't wear certain clothes because it's too distracting to the boys' learning environment and even to male teachers.
Why should the boys' education be valued over ours? Why have those types of male teachers?
Ever since we were old enough to go places on our own we were told to never go anywhere by ourselves, in fear of something bad happening to us. Why should that be such a common fear? For as long as I can remember, I've always been told to watch my back when I go somewhere, watch what I wear, don't do this and don't do that because it isn't ladylike, males' education and lives are valued over my own.
While one in sixteen men are raped or sexually assaulted, one in five women is raped every single day. Sixty-three percent of rape is never reported because who would believe us in this society? Rape culture "doesn't exist" but yet the victims are always the ones blamed for the crime. Women have been oppressed since the beginning of time and it isn't getting any better.
My surprising first experience in a strip club
Hell, our right to vote isn't even years old yet. We're still treated like objects to provide pleasure for men's sexual fantasies. We're treated like garbage and abused every day of our lives.