A Women’s Conference + Strip Club Stage Dance = ?!?

Okay, so I have been letting all of this roll around in my head for the past week (or “marinate” as one of my friends would say!). And I am still not sure where it all sits.

I attended a women’s conference all day last weekend. Full of feminist fun, as I have been saying. I learned more about sexual violence prevention programming, how masculinity is constructed in the US and its negative effects, feminist porn, and sex ed. I enjoyed it, and it left me excited.

And then, that same night, I had sexy friends over and we all went to my favorite strip club, and I got a stage dance- that is, two strippers danced on me on the stage, spanked me, took off my shirt and bra, and told me I could get naked with them any time I wanted to (and believe me, I totally want to!). Being with women, getting (at least partially) naked, and doing it in front of people (who PAID to get in!) are all things that completely turn me on and put me in a state of bliss. Needless to say, I was in heaven. I absolutely loved it. Gah!

But I also feel like I am having a mental tug-of-war. If the body is political, if what we do with our bodies is political, than did I undermine women’s rights or further support a patriarchal social structure by getting up there and participating (or, obviously, just by going and financially supporting a strip club?)? That seems so harsh and inflexible to me. And I know plenty of women who enjoy going to strip clubs, and I have talked to strippers and formers strippers who genuinely enjoy and enjoyed their work… But am I letting myself off too easy if I claim that I can’t control what turns me on, and thus I should just enjoy it (given responsible, respectful, and consensual relationships)? Or is it really just that simple?

2 thoughts on “A Women’s Conference + Strip Club Stage Dance = ?!?

  1. I think the most important thing is being cognizant of the choices that you make every day and what they mean to you. No one can speak for you, no one can take the choices that you make and prescribe meaning to them. I say, power to the strippers! You're not supporting misogyny by being an awesome person who happens to like getting half naked on stage. It is the men who go to those clubs with misogynistic thoughts who are the problem. Like you said, those ways of thinking are too inflexible. You can both love women, hate the patriarchal social structure, and like getting on your knees every now and then.

    (My favorite lecture in one of my classes was the BOTH/AND lecture – you can be BOTH blahblahblah AND blahblahblah. This comment is officially too long.)

  2. Isn't the essence of feminism in its original form the option of choosing what you're going to do?

    Choosing to dance on a stage with your top off is no more demeaning than choosing to work 9-5, or, really, to stay at home with kids…the point of it is that the choice is yours, and if another woman would find it demeaning, then they would choose differently.

    I would also disagree that men who go to clubs are necessarily misogynistic. Misogyny is the hatred of women, and I can think of little less appropriate a term to apply to someone who's there because he enjoys looking at women without their clothing on; some may be there because they feel that way, certainly, but I think it's a stretch. If I'm appreciating what I see, it's certainly not because I dislike what I'm looking at, or that I objectify you for exercising your choice to be there.
    –W

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