Strip Club: Gender, Power and Sex Work

Thanks L for recommending this book and for loaning me your copy! 🙂

I am not finished with it yet… I am actually reading it fairly slowly because I am thinking deeply about each thing she writes. But I already have some thoughts on it:

-Research is tough stuff. Even as a sociologist (which the author is) who has been trained in how our own biases and cultural norms affect our perceptions, the author clearly has preconceived ideas about strippers and the stripping experience. And they are pretty negative. She cites previous research studies on the motivations, experiences, and consequences of stripping for strippers, but again, I remember that stripping is not a highly regarded profession in our society. And it seems like a tremendous undertaking to conduct an unbiased research study on the experiences of stripping without integrating one’s own thoughts, feelings, and attitudes toward the experience.

-She also mentions that she simply worked as a cocktail waitress in the strip club while doing her research. Everyone there supposedly knew that she was a doctoral student conducting research. She mentions that “of course” she didn’t strip, despite many invitations to do so and compliments on her looks. I find it a little odd that she included these things; I am not sure yet what relevance it has to her description of her findings and observations. All it shows perhaps is that she is flattered by the attention.

-I have guessed for a while now that our town is a unique stripping environment, similar to how Vegas is a unique (albeit very different) environment for strippers. In our town, pretty much any girl can find a club that will let her dance. And there are so many clubs that stage fees are almost nonexistent. Pretty much any girl can strip as an experience; I have met plenty of girls who have had stripping stints. I think venturing out to strip is as common as smoking pot or being into micro-breweries here. All that is to say, Price-Glynn’s book is definitely focused on a particular culture of stripping, which I admit could definitely be the majority of the experience in our country. But I think she fails to make note of this fact so far.

-I do really like her analysis so far of the financial power imbalance within the strip club she studies. Only men hold hourly wage jobs, and all of the strippers and cocktail waitresses are required to tip bartenders, bouncers, and DJs (all of whom are men and earn hourly wages) at the end of the night.

I will keep reading, and blogging about it! 🙂

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