Just the other day, Bubbles Burbujas gave excellent advice over on The Frisky. Sadly, many people didn’t happily take it and, instead, gave the same complaints, in the comments section, about strippers (and others in this industry) that I’ve heard for years. I have heard them when I was stripping, camming, doing phone sex and even showing people my pictures. I think we should talk about a few of them (I paraphrased comments made from Bubbles’ articles, they aren’t direct quotes):
1) “My boyfriend still can’t go to strip clubs!”/”My boyfriend doesn’t need it!”/”I give my boyfriend all he needs.”
I think the moment a person assumes that they are the only thing someone else needs, they need an ego check. People aren’t puzzle pieces and we can’t fill every void left behind in others’ lives by their experiences and biology. It is no secret of nature that men have tremendous sex drives and that women can’t always provide what they want. That being said, it should ultimately be his decision if he wants to go to a club or watch porn or play with a shower head every once in a while. His sexuality is still his to own, no matter who you are! It is also much better to acknowledge this and be open about the possibility of him seeking erotic entertainment than forcing him into a position where he has to hide a part of his sexuality just because he’s afraid of losing you, the one he loves. He knows, like nearly all other men do, that his sexuality is not going to be hinged only on you and what you have to offer. It would help him tremendously if you acknowledged this.
Furthermore, you shouldn’t take it personally. Your sexuality doesn’t hinge on him, either. Your sexuality is as much for you to own as his is for him to own. As a result, if you’re not in the mood, why put yourself in a position where you are obligated to meet his needs?
All that being said, there is room for you and your boyfriend to make agreements on what is OK and what is not. If you two reach an agreement over what is acceptable, that’s an reasonable thing to do as long as one of you isn’t forcing your own idea of what is appropriate onto the other.
P. S. In the wake of announcing that you don’t own another person’s sexuality, I also want to point out that you don’t own his wallet, either.
2) “Complaints? But you’re a stripper!”/”You’re not real so you shouldn’t complain!”
It is a sad reality of the world of anyone in the sex industry that other people in our society seem to think we are on some other rung of the social ladder. As a result, they seem to think that the issues we get to face are acceptable and that we should simply accept them and suck it up. Interestingly, similar arguments were used before the 1920s, when women, housewives, were seen more as property. If their husband beat them, they were sometimes told that they should expect that. Afterall, they were housewives! How can the same argument appear out of such different contexts? Because, it is based on bigotry and a lack of consideration for another human being.
It doesn’t matter what job I have, Entertainer or not. I still deserve my basic human rights. It doesn’t matter if I’m clothed or naked, I still deserve my basic human rights. It doesn’t matter if people give me money to show them my nipples, I STILL deserve my basic human rights! I have the right to tell you that I don’t want you to touch me; I have the right to tell you where you can touch and I have the right to tell you to “fuck off” when you’re being a complete festering anal cyst.
The kind of bigotry that tries to teach an underclass that they deserve to be mistreated is the same kind of bigotry that fuels what hurts us. This bigotry is what lets our abusers get away with beating us; it lets the police overlook crimes against us and it allows us our peers to feel ok about discriminating against us. Our world isn’t innately hellish and our work is not, itself, bad for us. It is when we are thrown into a society in which people exist who think we deserve whatever we find in life because of our jobs that is bad for us and that forces us into a world where more suffering exists than really has to. My work is a great place to get lost in for a while, but the bigots can sometimes make it hell.
If you think that a person being there for you gives you special rights or that the fantasy involved with my work means you can cross boundaries, you’re wrong. That’s just you making excuses. Do you go to Disneyland and grope Cinderella, too? How about the Pirates of the Carribean? After all, they’re entertainers, giving you a fantasy! Obviously, you probably don’t (unless you really are a disrespectful schmuck). They’re people and you recognize that. If you think that way, the chances are your desire to alter the rules for people in strip clubs is not really because we’re entertainers and getting naked, it is because you want an excuse to misbehave because you know that if you don’t have that excuse then there’s something wrong with you.
Thus, if your excuse for society’s behavior–for people’s misbehavior in a strip club (or anywhere else they encounter a sex worker)–is that I’m a stripper or a camgirl or a phone sex actress, Fuck off, you festering anal cyst.*
3) “I don’t see the point of strip clubs!”
That’s nice, I don’t see the point of turtle races, but I don’t make it a point to tell everyone about it. I just don’t go. Clearly, turtle racing wasn’t meant for people like me just as strip clubs weren’t meant for people like you. It seems a little silly to make a big deal out of how pointless you seem to think it is, though.
4) “Strippers are expensive, ergo, they’re bad!”
Cars, houses, phones, utilities and food are expensive, too, and we still pay for them. In fact, most strippers have some of those things to pay for. We are here to entertain you, that’s our job. If stripping didn’t pay, we wouldn’t be here. I may have talent and I may have an ass that some people like to see, but I won’t do it for free for a bunch of random strangers when I need to spend the time on a way to pay my bills. Stripping is expensive work to do. A stripper is typically expected to pay a stage fee, plus tip the bouncer and the DJ (both of whom don’t get to work the floor and get tips-their income relies on us). We’re not bad or evil just because we ask you to pay for our services. We’re just doing our job. The men who are so grateful for what we do that they simply pay up are our favorite people, too. Afterall, it is nice to be appreciated for a job well done, don’t you think?
5) “You don’t deserve respect because you take off your clothes for money.”/”Get a “real” job.”
Firstly, stripping is not just about getting naked. It is a hell of a lot of work. Not only does a stripper have to always look damn good, but strippers spend the better part of an 8+ hour shift just dancing. How many people do you know of are able to do that? In reality, though, how I spend my energy in order to earn my money shouldn’t matter. If you have some hang up over nudity, that’s your problem, not mine. Taking off my clothes for money is a far better job than working as a clerk at Wal-Mart or mopping the floors at McDonald’s. My work as an erotic entertainer involves me being told, all day, that I’m beautiful, smart, funny and awesome. It is esteem-building. Does yours do that for you?
Stripping is a real job. Just because it involves elements that your work doesn’t or just because you disapprove of it doesn’t make it not a real job.
Typically, the person who looks down on people in the sex industry does so for one (or more) of four main reasons: Resentment, jealousy, social conditioning or offense. Pick one and work on it, examine it. Figure out what is threatening or scary about it and then make yourself better, because those feelings shouldn’t be blamed on another person, they are yours to own. Such judgements are unwanted, unnecessary and promote hatred.
*I really just wanted to call someone a “festering anal cyst.” Ad hominems are not valid arguments but for the type of person described, it is certainly an accurate description, don’t you think?