Friday, August 14, 2015

Stop Stealing From Strippers


TODAY I am a two for one. This is how it works: the first lap dance is free. The second one is 20 bucks. “Tenner Tuesday” is a weekly special, offering a bargain for customers on an otherwise sluggish day where I work, the only strip club for miles.

In my 23 years of stripping, I’ve worked at 17 clubs in four states. Now, I’m in Cathedral City, in California’s arid Coachella Valley. Just far enough from Los Angeles and Las Vegas to make it indispensable, the club caters to young Marines from a nearby base and their granddads — Reaganites who come to chase away loneliness and ancient regrets, eager to grope a person who’s not their primary caregiver and eyeball our half-clothed bodies. Dancing has helped many of us through our adult lives — paying for school, families, fledgling careers as creatives — but it is also exploitative.

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.

(More here.)


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