I have been fairly pissed the past couple of weeks, because for some strange unknown reason, the manager at my club just stopped scheduling me. I’ve worked there almost two years! The first week was the week that made me most mad- it was my regular shift I signed up for, and I have a really limited availability since I work during the week. I was frustrated all week about it, and primarily because my manager just did not communicate with me about why I wasn’t scheduled. He just didn’t tell me anything about it. If it was a mistake, that’s fine- tell me. If there’s a reason, that’s fine- tell me. No communication is just immature, unprofessional, and disrespectful. And then this past weekend, I sent in my shift request late and it was for a shift that I never work, so I expected not to be scheduled. Still, when I wasn’t, I was frustrated.
But it finally gave me a kick in the pants to move beyond my comfort zone and go audition at other places. I auditioned at one new place this past week, and it was exhilarating to be in a new space with new people. I’d like to audition at a few other places and ride the energy of exploring new places. I am such a creature of routine that it usually takes me getting pretty upset or frustrated with something before I try to change it. So here’s to some change!
And I realized why it got under my skin so badly. It reminded me of my experience with school this past year, and someone else controlling how and when and where I use my body. My professor told me, in essence, I needed to choose between education and stripping. And the manager at my regular club told me, by not scheduling me, that I was not going to strip at his club. The lack of agency I felt was overwhelming. Now that I recognize that that was the underlying drive and feeling, I have been more relaxed, knowing I can find another place to dance if need be.
Similar to the constraining feelings of control- this piece on Stripper Economics was recently published by the Portland Mercury, and delves a little bit into the independent contractor versus employee issue. It’s a little flat, but decent coverage of how the work environment is in Portland clubs. It doesn’t seem like the reporter talked to many dancers, which is unfortunate.
In other sex work-related news, I am starting a sex worker support group through SWOC and my work. I am stoked about it! I have had some interesting conversations with various people about it, and I am really excited to have my first one in just over a week. If you’re in the Portland area, 18+, and currently working in the sex industry, feel free to get in touch if you’d like to attend.
This is Belle Knox’s most recent article; it’s fabulous. I love the term “whorearchy.” The sentiments she discusses are spot-on and exactly what I’ve felt the past couple years working in the industry myself. It’s also something I am wary of as I begin the support group: I want to make sure workers of all stripes feel included and respected within the group. Ideally I want the group to be a space of understanding and solidarity. Hopefully that’s what it becomes.