On stripclubs

Being a Woman week is not just about celebrating how great women are. Though we are pretty special, most of the time. We need to learn, all of us, to talk about the amazing, the difficult and the downright impossible aspects of being women in the 21st century. Do strippers and stripclubs come under any of those categories for you? And why? This is a well informed and realistic account of the industry from Amy and by the end of it, you’ll be asking some serious questions of yourself and your opinions… 

I’ll admit it. There are a lot of traditions attached to weddings (especially before blogs started to turn things on their heads) that I don’t understand in the slightest. These include favours, 3 course chicken dinners, and Come On Eileen (worst song EVER and impossible to dance to but ubiquitous at most wedding discos). But most of all the thing I cannot understand is why it’s traditional for a man to celebrate his impending nuptials and love for his betrothed with boobs.

Now, I’ve got nothing against boobs – let’s face it, they are pretty cool – nor do I have any issues with nudity – it being our natural state after all. But, and this is a big, jiggly, bump’n’grinding but, I do have a massive ethical problem with the industry that makes money from boobs.

From Pinterest

Yes we’ve all heard the stories of the girls who’ve funded themselves through law school by lap dancing, but let’s be realistic, leaving aside the fact that it’s a pretty sad situation if the only way a girl can afford access to higher education is by taking her clothes off, these girls are the minority. If we’re being honest, most of the girls who work in these places do so because they feel that it’s the only option open to them. In some countries they won’t have had any say in the matter, but even here in the UK I think it’s fair to say that women wouldn’t choose to strip if they felt they had an alternative.

For example, allow me to dispel some traditional stereotypes

Punter translation: Smiley, blonde, big tits
Real life translation: Smiley, blonde, big tits, failed by our education system and brought up in the celebrity culture to idolise Katie Price, thinks this job is a step to fame and fortune & sees her body as currency.

Punter translation: Dark hair, slim body, lots of make up
Real life translation: Hides behind her hair and make up, it acting as a mask and barrier, potentially an addict, probably suffered some trauma or abuse in her childhood, trying to reclaim her sexuality.

Punter translation: Fit foreign bird
Real life translation: probably trafficked into the UK either by duress or under false pretences and forced to work in the club, actually pretty lucky that she’s been made to be a stripper and not a prostitute.

You might think I’m being dramatic or sensationalist, which I might well be, having worked previously for a charity who helped sexually exploited girls. In fact, when I was younger I was firmly in the ‘it’s just a bit of fun’ camp, arguing that if a woman can make money from men who are stupid enough to spend their hard earned money to see some boobage then good on her.

But then I realised that it’s not the girls who make the money, it’s other men. The girls themselves earn just enough to keep them there – more than they would cleaning or at McDonalds but not enough to free them from the trap they find themselves in – they’re pressured into giving private dances to make more money for the club owners, and are penalised for being ill or late. And I know that some places are better than others, but they’re still propping up the industry and perpetuating the problems.

Ultimately these clubs are turning women into dispensable commodities, and I simply cannot reconcile the thought that the way to celebrate your love for someone is by your mates paying some other girl to gyrate for you.
From Pinterest, though linkless.

So what are your thoughts – a harmless boys last night of freedom, or the promotion of a sad and dangerous industry?

(To end on a lighter note, me and my boy actually got together all those many moons ago following a night out he’d had where he and his friends had gone to a local strip club for someones birthday and he’d got very drunk, fallen asleep in the corner under a pile of coats and then woken up, left the club and sent me a drunken message telling me he loved me. Nice huh.)

Categories: Body Image, Politics and Feminism
43 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted November 17, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Yes to all of the above!

    I think the thing I find most weird is that a group of men sit in a dark room together, being titillated by a woman none of them are meant to touch, let alone take home, and then they all leave together: a group of aroused men.

    I have had many a heated discussion avec the husband to this end, especially as a couple of my friends have been strippers and I think it is an utter waste of OUR money for him to spend it in THOSE places, even if it is a one-off stag-do or whatever. You wanna see boobies? Come home and watch me get into my pyjamas!

  2. Posted November 17, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Couple of quick things:

    1. I wrote this after watching yet another episode of Don't Tell The Bride where the groom and best man seemed to see the whole wedding as simply an excuse to take all their mates to Eastern Europe at the expense of the TV License payers.

    2. I absolutely do not judge any woman who works or has worked in these clubs. To me it's the same as people who work in Starbucks – I hate your employer but I've got no problem with you.

    Bit scared to see what comments come in today. I'll be back later to post some links and things. x

  3. Posted November 17, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Great post – I completely agree.

    I'm rather ashamed to say that I've been to a strip club. We were helping a friend with a charity ball and at the end of it he and his girlfriend were going with a few others to a strip club (I don't want to name names, but it was one of the big London ones) along with the guy who ran the place. M didn't want to go, but I was all "I'm an enlightened female – these women want to do this! I have no problem with seeing other women's bodies!". Ha.

    It was, with no exaggeration, one of the most upsetting experiences of my life. Fortunately for me, M was just as repulsed as I was, but it was somewhat disheartening to see our good friend go into some kind of naked-lady stupor and keep going off for private dance after private dance. In front of his girlfriend, who was too drunk to really be bothered.

    Despite being thought of as one of the more "classier" clubs, it was absolutely seedy and there was nothing sexy about it. The girls dancing on the stages looked bored out of their brains, the men watching fitted all the stereotypes you would expect to see, and the atmosphere felt a bit like things could kick off at any moment. Our friend decided to buy his girlfriend and I a dance each – I really really didn't want to, but his girlfriend wanted moral support so I ended up giving in – and it was horrible. The girl was Eastern European, had only been over for two weeks, and was obviously relieved that I was a woman, but there was no hint of enjoyment on her face and she was very much just going through the motions. I found it utterly humiliating (for me and for her), and was horrified by the idea that normally there would be a man sat in my place, possibly aroused by the proceedings.

    Afterwards, I grabbed M and we left, and even the next day I kept crying every time I thought about it. We both felt dirty and ashamed – and I felt really stupid for thinking that going there made me some kind of enlightened woman. It took us a while to feel comfortable with our friends again – that probably sounds a bit ridiculous, but it's hard to explain just how uncomfortable and horrible the experience was, and how different our friend seemed in that situation.

    I think, above all else, I was surprised by how sordid the experience felt, and how disinterested and unhappy the girls seemed. On hindsight, I think it's obvious that I was pretty naive about the whole thing.

  4. Posted November 17, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Emma, I think we're a generation of women who were brought up in a society that force fed us the belief that being an empowered woman meant nothing more or less than being happy to take your clothes off and pose provocatively, and anyone who had a problem with it is a jealous, ugly prude. And I think the current surge of feminism amongst women like us is a reaction to this as we've all grown up and realised it's (for want of a better phrase) a load of bollocks!

    *must remember to buy Backlash!*

  5. Posted November 17, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    At times I wonder whether you guys can actually read my mind! Seriously, it's getting weird.

    My other half's stag do is impending and we were chatting last night about the "activities" that his best men have planned for him, a visit to a strip club being one of them.

    He doesn't, and never has, liked strip clubs but when he mentions this to his mates they laugh and think he's just under the thumb. His solution to this? For me to tell them that he didn't want to go… yeah like that will make a difference!

    I have quite bad self esteem issues and the thought of him going there brings that bunny boiler from a long LONG time ago in me come bubbling to the surface as a form of self defence and I HATE it.

    Not really much of a point to my post but something I apparently needed to get off my chest…

    Good post, I thoroughly agree. xx

  6. Posted November 17, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Fantastic post, Amy :-)

    Luckily for me G doesn't want to go to a strip joint on his stag. His best men have suggested it but he's chosen instead to watch burly men wrestle each other over a wonky-shaped ball for a day (rugby sevens tournament).

    I'm glad for this because I don't want to see him supporting something I think is so wrong. My friend tells me (female friend) that it is empowering for women, but I don't understand how? Because they're in control? They're not. And even if they were, wouldn't equality really be being empowered for your brain, your personality, the fact of who you are… not your shiny boobs and glittering thong?

    K x

  7. Posted November 17, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    My views on this are mixed.

    My husband is not a strip club kind of man. He's pretty easily embarrassed by things like this and aside from being on the receiving end of a septuagenarian strippergram for his 18th (lucky boy…) he's only naked lady dalliances have been of the non-paid for variety. Most of his friends are like this so there have been no issues of having to attend whilst on a stag do, his or others.

    (In fact he went on a friend's do last year and the best man had organised a drunken trip to a strip bar as a surprise for the groom. Groom hates this sort of thing, more so than even my husband, and so he takes himself, husband and two other like minded chums off to a late night whisky bar, leaving the best man and other drunken bums to indulge in a very expensive pay-per-view session. Much more their scene!).

    I agree, in principle, that strip clubs are a Bad Thing however my own personal experiences are thus:

    1) Your cliched law school girl. Her parents had died in a car crash when she was younger and her inheritance frittered away by relatives. Very bright and had scholarships of all sorts. She worked a couple of nights a week as she'd earn more doing that than she would in a bar job. She saw it as a means to an end and said she'd experienced no safety issues. Got herself a cracking job on qualification due to her commitment to studies – neither of which she could have afforded or dedicated the time to with a more sedate job.

    2) An old bosses' girlfriend. Beautiful girl. Pretty academic but lazy. Absolutely horse mad. Used to make some money doing catalogue modelling (Littlewoods style lingerie, the stuff young boys' wet dreams are made of!). Started to work as a dancer at a club and was raking it in. On a quiet week she was earning c£3k but often coming home with £5/6k each and every week. She worked when she wanted to, her boyf would pop in every now and again, and it gave her the lifestyle she wanted. She bought some stables and spend every day riding to her heart's content. I saw her accounts when she came for a meeting one day and she was minted.

    Now money isn't everything, far from it, but for someone like that (and by that I mean with the will to do it), why on earth not? That's where I find your real life translations as fact, rather than opinion, a tad off the mark and certainly inaccurate as far as my friends are concerned.

  8. Posted November 17, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Hi Sarah – I definitely know (friends of friends) real life examples who are exactly like those you know, and I didn't mean to play down their existence, more point out that it's not an equal playing field and those who have a good experience within the industry are making it even harder for those who don't. Hope that makes sense?

  9. amy f
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  10. Anonymous
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Katie here. Working away this week.

    I don't have issues with strip clubs. I just see it as a bit of tittillation for the boys, and some girls prefer to earn the easy buck from stripping.

    Andy has been to strip clubs, on stag dos (not his own), but never paid for a private dance, he's far too careful with his hard earned cash, to fritter it on strippers, and would find it embarrassing.

    I dislike pornography, not the boys mags or strip clubs, but the hardcore stuff. I saw a programme (might have been dispatches) and the girls were abused, in a lot of physical pain from what happened to them, often trafficked, always vulnerable, usually had herpes or worse, and were poorly paid. It was a real eyeopener. I don't think it's healthy for men to watch this hardcore porn either. I'm not talking the stuff where the couple are in a relationship having sex on camera, but when they act out a gang r…., I can't bring myself to type the word. Men were paying to watch this too.

    This is what I hate.

  11. Tom
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Great post. I've never been able to get my head around the appeal of strip clubs, especially for men who have partners. I've never been to one, so I can't judge it from that point of view. However, I think it's worth asking Caitlin Moran's questions: are the men doing it? and is it polite?

    The answer to both of these is obviously no. There must be male law students out there who are in a similar situation to cliched law school girl, but I would have thought there are a lot fewer of them stripping to pay their fees. I think it's fairly obvious that strangers paying to leer at your boobs is not polite.

    As in any situation, there will be anecdotes of women who have used this situation to their advantage and not experienced the downside. I can't help thinking that these are spectacularly unhelpful because what we need to focus on are the statistics – most women in this industry are not empowered, they are being exploited, and a handful of positive experiences won't change this.

  12. Posted November 17, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Did anyone else need to stand up and applaud after Tom's comment?! Actually couldn't stop myself.

    Perfectly put.

    K x

  13. amy f
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Katie – I totally agree! Two people who are really into each other having sex is definitely hot. Watching a woman being abused is not.

    Tom – I think I might love you.

  14. Posted November 17, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Um, please can we have a "like" button on comments? (Damn, should have put this in my survey response.) Because Tom's comment is spot on – as Katielase says, perfectly put.

  15. Sarah M
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I think it's short sighted to say that those who do well out of it are 'spectacularly unhelpful' or are 'marking it harder for others' – what should they have done in that situation? Let the opportunity pass them by, taking a job in Tesco to make their point, not going to law school?

    Plenty of men out there strip to supplement or earn an income – anyone had a naked butler? I did. Anyone been to a hen party strip show? Plenty have.

    Male strippers are often seen as a cringey gimmick, rather than a sexual being in the way that female strippers are. The scientific fact remains men and women *tend* to be wired differently – visual v other forms of stimulation.

    I have no problem with people taking their clothes off to earn money nor do I have a problem with people paying to see it. It's not my cup of tea (I didn't plan my butler!) but for some it is.

    What I do think necessary is more regulation as well as stringent checks across the industry. That goes for strip clubs, porn (as mentioned above) but also access to this sort of stuff.

    How many teenage boys recoil at the sight of pubic hair that's anything other than absent or barely there when in sex education lessons? How do they know it could be anything other than that? They are getting images from somewhere and that's why exploitation of the vulnerable is so much more than your fella getting an eyeful of someone else's boobs.

    Changes need to be made but they need to be made in areas so much wider that under the 'strip club' heading. Everything from the way our youth are educated and the media that is readily available to them right up to the legislation passed. I think that far more important than seemingly belittling those who a) do well out of it and b) shock horror, might enjoy their job in that industry.

  16. Posted November 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    V interesting discussion.

    I'd be interested to know what a girl actually has to do in a stripclub to earn 5k/6k a week. Seriously. That's crazy money, and I doubt to earn that much that it can't be very pleasant what you'd have to do. I don't mean to suggest anything otherwise but I find myself questioning is it REALLY just dancing? And Sarah M it's so interesting you described her as lazy, because she sounds v much the opposite – it must be a v physical, full-on job, working crazy hours.

    I'm really depressed by the way our society works, and the attitudes we just have to accept because that's how they are, and I keep thinking of Caitlin Moran's book 'How to Be a Woman' and the way she explains what's wrong with the porn industry. A must read for anyone who is interested in this issue. And anyone who is a woman. Or a man. Ha ha!

  17. Posted November 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    This is really interesting. I really didn't want J to go to a strip club on his stag do and he didn't want to go either.

    But at 3am when 20 mates (most of whom also weren't keen, but felt it was the 'done thing') decided they were going, he or I couldn't really do much about it. Luckily, the strip club was closed and the ladies were leaving. All of the ladies found the boys' situation hillarious, by all accounts.

    Much of the association of strippers with the stag do seems to be less about enjoying or 'getting off' on something, but about humiliating the stag, who in many more cases than you think, also doesn't want to be there.

    Arguably, in many stag situations, the man at the centre of the thing isn't in any position of power at all, but close to throwing up and possibly half-clothed, as his 'mates' have stolen his shirt.

    I'm not saying strip clubs are right – i fundamentally think they are not for all of the issues outlined above. I wish they were illegal (as they are in Iceland – where the female Prime Minister said on passing the law: "I guess the men of Iceland will just have to get used to the idea that women are not for sale.")

    But I also don't believe that every guy that gets dragged there on a stag do is a lecherous dominating man with no understanding of the wider issues. Most of them don't really like strip clubs either, I'd hazard. Most of the time the stag is a bit of a sorry state, maybe with a bit of sick on his shoes, and he's definitely not the one with the power in that dynamic. I'm not saying this is always the case, but it is possibly not that rare either.

  18. Sarah M
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    To clarify, she's academically lazy. She could have gone on to great things but didn't want to work at it.

    Most of the money given is cash gifts. She's a dancer in a place full of wealthy men, not a prostitute. I have another friend who makes a a similar sum as a medium – maybe her punters are these rich chap's wives?

  19. amy f
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Sarah – I really don't want you to think I'm criticising your friend. I respect that everyone has their own individual circumstances and I don't mean to say that she herself is responsible for the situation of others. What I was trying to say is that the industry (which is undoubtedly a financial and PR powerhouse) uses the positive stories to argue against regulation.

  20. Posted November 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Loving this debate!

    I always thought I was laissez-faire about such things as strip clubs – didn't agree with them but would have been fine if Mr K went to one. And preached as such.

    And then Mr K went to one.

    And I was furious.

    I could enver have predicted my reaction. The poor bloke…clearly he'd listened to me say it would be fine, and went, didn't enjoyit much, came back, told me about it.

    I was angry because of the work I do in human trafficking and I know what (some) women go through who work there (if you leave this club we will kill your family in your Ukranian village). I was angry because it's such a lame form of entertainment and why did he have to do that, couldn't he have gone and seen a film? Had a chat over coffee? Read a BOOK? I was angry because to the women who worked there, he was just another lame-ass punter and he's not, he's my Mr K, he's amazing and special and not the sort of guy who has private dances and sanctions them as "entertainment".

    But there he was, anyway.


    And yes it's a fast buck. But a sad, sad fast buck.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    (Katie again)

    Anna, are you a human rights lawyer, with a job similar to Colin Firth's in Bridget Jones? I had you down as a spy working for MI5. I'm in awe of your career by the way.

    Getting back to our debate, what makes me angry is the thought of the poor Ukranian girl who has been trafficked.

    The sex industry needs better regulating, not just strip clubs.

    I don't have issues with girls taking their clothes off for cash (not my cuppa tea), but I do have issues with their mistreatment.

  22. Tom
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Sarah M – thanks for your comments. I have a few things to say in reply…

    I didn't mean to imply that people who profit out of the industry are themselves unhelpful, or indeed to belittle them – good for them for exploiting an industry that is by and large exploitative! What I meant was that the fact that they exist does not prove that the industry is OK. It's like taking homeopathic medicine because you know one person who got better whilst they were taking it, despite the fact that no controlled trial has ever found them to be more effective than a sugar pill – in any situation where thousands of people are involved you can always find a few examples to back up whatever you believe (or want to believe). The important thing to do is look at the stats and see what the average stripper's situation is – only then can you make an informed decision about the industry. I hope that makes sense!

    Secondly, whilst I take your point that male strippers exist (of course they do) – there are roughly nine female strippers for every male stripper – so I think my point still stands, although I take your point about the difference in wiring.

    I'm a big one for getting to the root of a discussion, and in this case I think it's all about this question: can you understand how a woman taking off her clothes in front of paying men can feel empowered? For me the answer is no, but perhaps if all strippers were like cliched law school girl I would think differently.

    Ooh, I do love a good debate!

    Oh, and it turns out people write academic theses about this stuff, although their sample sizes are rather small so I'd take their conclusions with a grain of salt, but still interesting!



  23. Posted November 17, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Sarah M – I never said prostitute. I said more than dancing. How are any of us to know what actually goes on behind closed doors, during private dances etc?

    The money sounds so appealing but I don't think anyone who does that as a job could really, genuinely feel empowered, like Tom said. I reckon a lot of people who do it have to say it's ok as they don't want people to pity them 'It's alright because…'

  24. Esme
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, I just want to say how proud of Tom's comment. I don't have to agree with him, but I do. I think he's made a really crucial point.

    Can I just reiterate Claire's commment from Iceland's PM? – "I guess the men of Iceland will just have to get used to the idea that women are not for sale." We are NOT for sale. Our bodies should be enjoyed and respected, not leered at by a group of old men.

    I actually think that if men are stupid enough to pay a women to do something as natural as getting naked, well more fool them. The issue is that even when some of these women are earning £kkkks to dance and strip, the MEN who own the clubs are earning even more.

  25. Posted November 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I know little about the business side of a strip club, but, is it defintiely MEN who own strip clubs? I assume it is, but that assumption does not have a solid evidence base, more bad TV dramas and Ross Kemp documentaries.

    Would we be as outraged if women ran strip joints?

    Katie, I am neither a lawyer or a spy, my job is far more boring, I promise x

  26. amy f
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    "Would we be as outraged if women ran strip joints?" <- I would, there's nothing that riles me more than a female misogynist (and it shames me that I probably used to be one).

  27. Tom
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Anna K – that is exactly what a spy would say, and we all know lawyers lie, so really there are no conclusions we can draw from that statement about what your job is. Except you're definitely a spy :p

    Anyway, I don't think it's relevant whether men or women run strip clubs, at least when it comes to answering the question of whether women stripping in front of men for money is bad or not. I think it just appears more exploitative for a (heterosexual) male to run one because men have historically exploited women. However, if you agree that it's exploitative then does it matter what sex the exploiter is?

    Way too many uses of the word 'exploit' in that sentence but hopefully you get my point!

  28. Posted November 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Tom (again!) I think the key question is do you think that stripping is empowering for women? I personally don't think it is, and therefore I'm coming down against it. If it were a regulated industry, with no exploitation, then it would be less of an issue, but I'd still personally struggle to see the empowerment. Or, I'll phrase that better, I'd see only empowerment stemming from physical appearance, which personally I wouldn't want, I'd rather empower myself by being strong, independent and successful (to my own measure of success).

    I appreciate that some women may be different, and that would be fine if the vast majority of strippers weren't being exploited.

    Finally I think that the strip club myth is negative for men too, it implies that men see women as visual, sexual objects, and I don't think that's at all a fair representation of 90% of the men I know.

    (this is such a good debate, I'm really struggling to do ANY work because of it!)

    K x

  29. Anonymous
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Tom, Anna is the AOW's Chandler, as nobody knows exactly what she does…. Having meetings with Theresa May, does make her job sound very high powered.

    I don't think it matters who runs the strip clubs, a brothel is not okay in my book, if it is owned and run by a female (I think they call themselves Madam's, not that I know much about these things).

  30. Anonymous
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Last anon was Katie.

    I can't keep away today, and I really do need to get my cashbook to balance instead.

  31. Anonymous
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Without getting into the rights and wrongs of strip clubs, my husband and I went to one together, just the two of us. I neither found it seedy nor especially erotic. We paid for a private dance to see what would happen. The dancer was engaging but I did not find her dancing to be a turn on. I admired the skills of those pole dancing and the nerve of the management for charging the prices that they did. The fee for the private dance was paid directly to the dancer – it lasted about 5 or so minutes. I imagine that is how you earn a lot of money.

    ps. not all lawyers lie.

  32. Posted November 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I definitely do not see the act of stripping as empowering in any way. I have known a friend of a friend who "danced" and she did say she felt powerful because she was noticed in a way she isn't in "real life". I think it's a sad reflection of a society that completely objectifies women.

    I would be interested to know how many women, who don't mind strip clubs, do mind getting heckled by strangers in the street? It bothers me that some men think its ok to shout at me and call attention to the way I look, and they do that because they think its acceptable, because they think its ok to objectify women. In my opinion the existence of strip clubs go a long way to perpetuating that.

  33. amy f
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    You're right Catherine, I think it's part of the overall 'pornification' of society.

    Also, there have been studies which show increased levels of sexual violence and assault in areas where there are strip clubs.

  34. Esme
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Yes Catherine!!! This is what I was thinking! It's not a direct correlation, but it all links into the fact that some men do see women as objects to buy, use and talk to how they want. Excellent point.

  35. Anonymous
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink


    Not been heckled since I was at least 19. It never bothered me at the time, but I was a silly teenager.

    As a child, I went to the livestock market with my Dad and Grandad. One week it was a young farmer's birthday, and they called him up to the ring, where there was a kissogram for him. Typically, my Dad stayed to watch, and all the farmers thought it was hilarious, and I was peering through my hands over eyes. Don't think it did any longterm damage to me! I just came away feeling embarrassed for the kissogram and birthday boy.

    I think feminists often protest over objectifying women, but miss to protest enough for women forced into prostitution or marriage. Not sure if I make sense, but I read so many articles in paper on the objectification of women, but not enough on what women are put through by misogynistic men, and what can be done to stop it. I can't begin to imagine how difficult it must be to be a feminist in certain third world countries.

  36. Anonymous
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I think a good point to bring up that surprisingly no one has is where do you draw the line between art and porn?

    I posed nude for life art classes and photography students whilst at university to make a few extra dollars. Was a oogled a few times? Probably, but because it was in an academic setting people would make the justification that it was okay, because I chose to do such a thing and it was in a 'classroom' or 'educational'setting.

    During this time I also worked at a strip club. Not as a dancer mind you, as a barmaid. And frankly, I don't think I could ever have gotten up on that stage. I'd like to think it was stage fright, but was it? And maybe because the club was in an 'upscale' setting I never seemed to see the seedier side of things (not to say there isn't/wasn't one).

    But I have to question myself, and I think everyone should, about my prejudices about what stripping would have meant/means for me and for society at large. I was more than happy and comfortable to disrobe for the sake of art students and who's to say some of them weren't absolute perverts?

    I personally feel this is a subject with A LOT of grey area, other people may not see it as such but with my personal (not bad) experiences, I can't help it.

  37. Posted November 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Oh gosh, Anon, you've just thrown up a whole new area!

    I guess the thing with life modelling is that you're not doing it, and the purpose of it isn't, for titillation. That doesn't make being oggled "right", at all, and of course you can't control whether the students are perverts or not! But I guess that could be said of a lot of things. But the purpose of it isn't the objectification of a woman (or at least, it shouldn't be).

    That said, you're right in saying it's not really black and white. But I guess what makes it not black and white is the way that other people might approach it. There's a big difference between "here is a female body, which I am going to now going to attempt to represent in my painting" and "phwoar, look at the boobs on her!", which links into general objectification of women.


  38. Katy
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Slightly late to the party here – I blame time differences!

    I think we have to make a HUGE difference between 2 things when considering strip clubs:

    1. Strip Clubs in the UK and
    2. Strip Clubs in the rest of the world

    1. An english woman from a middle class background stripping to put herself through education/live the lifestyle she wants to and
    2. Foreign women or impoverished english women stripping because they dont know what else to do/been forced to.

    There is no denying that in other countries strip clubs are inextricably linked to drugs, mafia, gun trafficking etc. Women in many countries aroud the world are commodities and flown in and pushed around Europe to fulfill the whim of men willing to pay.

    I WHOLLY ABHOR the fact that "sex tourism" has become so accepted in our society that we see stag dos off to eastern europe to see strippers (often from poor rural backgrounds and tricked into coming to the city) with tv license payers money.

    I highly doubt it is the same to go to a reputable strip club in the UK and go to any other strip club in the rest of the world.

    So, should it be one rule for all or shall we create a sliding scale of strip club acceptance??

  39. Posted November 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Have finally got to a computer to comment on this!

    First off, great post Amy- look at the stir! I love a good stir (in a totally non-euphemistic way). Secondly, I agree with Tom. On everything (possibly that he's ever said).

    I think a lot of the problem here is the context you find strip clubs in. The undeniable connection with a seedy underworld of prostitution, trafficking and crime. If it was as black and white as clever girls getting their kit off and paying their way to success elsewhere then fair enough – but it isn't, and even upstanding establishments (are we sure they exist?)open the gate for the rest. It's not a Benny Hill sketch, it's a money-hungry business dealing with people's baser urges, it's always going to be a moral grey area, regardless of who runs it, and regardless of who strips for it.

    So my conclusion is that I don't know what I think, other than it sets off a little red warning light in my brain.


  40. Jenny Lane
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    This is just a great great week of posts :) yay for Any Other Wedding! :)

  41. Jenny Lane
    Posted November 17, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Also, Cloggins…… I totally agree!!! Do they have to silently wank under the covers in their shared hostel after visiting said strip club!?!? What a bizarre way to spend an evening.

  42. Posted November 18, 2011 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Such an interesting debate.

    Bean and I have talked about this issue in the past. I think I used to be in the camp of let women do what they want. Yet it still feels incredibly exploitative. You only have to look at the reputable clubs to see the type of woman employed there. Listening to Bean's experiences they aren't all white middle class law students they are almost all starving Eastern European woman. (He always berates the loss of his £10 plate of chips when the women come over and eat the food "provocatively but really it's because they are actually hungry.)

    I've got no real problem with Bean going to the places and he reiterates that I wouldn't really be able to stop him anyway. I don't think he really enjoys the experience. It's not erotic or sexual. Rather mechanical and a little creepy. (I'm more freaked out knowing my little -aged 25- brother went.)

    I cannot reconcile my thoughts. There are very few reputable strip clubs even in the UK and even they are pretty seedy and they women are treated as cattle. Whilst I am all for the empowerment of women I just don't see it being empowering for most women.

    Yes they take men for idiots. They are so expensive – seriously – but I can't imagine every woman even in the most "posh" club is bringing home 3k a night.

    One could say perhaps it is empowering because would she not be on the dole otherwise? Lots of people do jobs they don't love because they have to provide for the family and if the Government won't help then should we blame her for using her body? Is a lingerie model different? Is a scantily clad beach volleyball player different? (I think they are really – I think!)

    I just don't know.

    In fact I think I have more of a problem with the "psychic" medium. They prey upon the really vulnerable.

    (Sorry long comment!)

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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