During the course of talking to my advisor yesterday (who, thankfully, is totally on my side), I was informed that not only are the other faculty members outraged at the ethical violations inherent in being a stripper while also training to become a therapist, they are outraged at how being a stripper contributes to further injustice in the world.
Apparently, stripping supports The Patriarchy, contributes to the objectification and violence against women, and supports trafficking of girls.
Like I discussed earlier about patriarchy and stripping, I think this world is full of “both/and,” and far less of “either/or.” I will not disagree that by participating in stripping I am supporting the “male gaze.” I also think there is more to my story of stripping.
What matters, to me, is the personal intention, awareness, and small-scale action that takes place within oppressive structures.
What about my classmates who work at Target, an anti-LGBTQ company? Or classmates who are all about the bling (one, in fact, owns more than 500 pairs of shoes) and thus pay more attention to their material acquisitions than the fact that their consumerism and materialism contributes to the oppression of the poor? What about classmates who smoke and contribute to second-hand and third-hand smoke? Or, heaven forbid, what about my classmates who go to strip clubs as patrons?
This is about sex and it’s about sex work.
Like another student said to me yesterday: It’s pretty terrible how many times faculty in our program force others to sacrifice personal justice in the name of “social justice.”
Who gets to decide how an individual contributes to social justice or injustice? Especially over something so gray as the work that one does to support oneself?
The professor I met with said: It’s not about the exotic dancing.
But it is. There’s no way around that one.