The Slippery Slope Slide Down The Strippers’ Pole

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I have stumbled upon many articles and stories about the lives of strippers. The story line ranges between the staunchly proud femininity it casts in the shadows of slut-shaming-to-the under-regulated conditions and exploitative work hazards imposed on them in the trade. While some speak lavishly most endure slavishly in serving an aspect of the economy for their betterment in one of the world’s oldest of trades.

An article published in the New York Times by Antonia Crane struck me as she described this surreptitious gray market with candor. In it the author depicts this shrouded industry in which she labors as…

“ Relegated to the fringes of the workplace, in part because of stigmas surrounding sex work, we are invisible. Clubs force us to work as “independent contractors.” We have no health insurance, workers’ compensation or other benefits. We have zero security. Strippers, or dancers, as some of us prefer, are women on our way to somewhere better or different, twerking topless in a club that will never have our backs — a club that will demand arbitrary fees from us and skim a share of our hard-earned tips all night, caring little if we are here again next week or if we vanish”.

Scrupulous club owners seem to be taking advantage of what most women describe as borne out of a desperate situation to begin with due to their economic station, lack of education and or just being a victim of various abuses. The author seems to suggest that the conditions could be improved with a sense of security enjoyed by mandating standard work policies offered by more traditional forms of employment, instead of the tip only, and or percentage thereof policy. This, and upon or after paying the flat fees that contribute to club’s maintenance (building, bartenders, advertising, music) as independent contractors at a location. She goes on to describe the deplorable environs with appalling emphasis.

“We’re charged for simply showing up for work. I pay the doorman, the D.J., and the manager flat fees as well as hand over a percentage from every lapdance. The “dance counter,” who tallies our lapdances, may intentionally miscalculate pay. When arguments ensue, I’ve seen dancers dismissed or put on probation.”

Should We Beware of The Camel’s Nose

“If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow.”

More and more, American society and other parts globally are sanctioning practices that historically bordered on the side of sin and depravity, making for instance recreational drug use legal. The purveyors of marijuana appear to be heavily regulated, but this may have more to do with the federal laws that remain intact. The lines however are increasingly blurred now. Things are changing and the camel appears three quarters of the way into the tent.

Most rational beings today would not stand and allow people engaged in the sex trade to shed blood in terms of persecution for what is perceived as biblical sins, even those professed to their religion. When it comes to harlotry our morals and ethics have evolved more towards “live and let live” so long as the rights of others are not infringed upon and there remains a hard and consistent strong line held today for children not to be harmed by such sexually explicit conduct.

On the prerogative side of this issue the slippery slope argument usually connotes a graver negative impact initiated by the sanctioning of some smaller actions desired, in this case sanctions that the author is protesting for those protections of the main attractions to this industry. There is not much in the way of evidence to support this huge negative impact and it is not determinable what in the way of negative unintentional consequences would bequeath us all if lawmakers fully sanction dancers/strippers as acknowledged employees of an organization–if they so choose.

Incontrovertibly, the unintended consequences that have led most women in desperate situations to believe that dancing/stripping is the most viable option for them stems from the prevailing institutional policies providing that inertia to this day. It should behoove lawmakers to enhance and create more diverse opportunities than the existing laws would otherwise frown upon.

The only unintended consequence arising from this is the viable option impressed upon the much younger set, much like in the way that selling and smoking weed is some viable option to earn or supplement income, rather than seeking avenues that are less harmful means to the mind and body avenues to achieve and climb the social ladder. An oversaturation of this market leads to even less productivity as the production inputs of being a dancer/stripper does not produce an efficient level of output.

The more standard fare of moralistic consequences does not comport the kind of altruism shared today nor does it pay the bills as some might quip. Social media has provided much fodder for the self-promotion and exploitation of this aspect of the industry while hip hop/pop music simply serenades the lifestyle in the backdrop, normalizing the stripper/dancer with tantalizing effects. The attention and deliberation the strippers’ duties receives on and off the poles has some gyms offering up special classes for the masses.

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A considerable income demands a considerable amount of time in the gym (quite possibly a deductible expense) for the women in the higher end of the business–higher end meaning higher paying clientele. There are no exceptions even nightclubs where most try to supplement their income with bottle service at certain clubs as cocktail waitresses. They too are are under the watchful eye of not only the patrons but of their employers looking for possible signs of weight gain or lack of enthusiasm, that could see their schedules change without much notice.

The lure of making considerable amounts of money with ease is stripper-folklore. Even in the rarest of circumstances it is relatively short-lived as the economics involved call for a relatively booming locale, a turnover of fresh faces, and or the pricey/dicey investments in trending physical attributes (cosmetic surgery) with copious marketing. Both during and at certain various down points of this illustrious career the social stigma of it all amounts to varying degrees of psychological stress in most reported cases.

As for any real punishment to bear, it is difficult not to conclude that engaging in the sex trade by most accounts over time, seems to culminate into self-inflicted scarring. It replaces the mundane workday with a sexually expressive nightlife — late shift with dubious intrinsic value.

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