Friday, November 17, 2006

Some thoughts on strip clubs

The impeccable Reclusive Leftist wrote a post that ended with this question:
Wouldn’t it be great if all the feminist battle units could lay down arms, abandon their entrenched rhetorical positions, and start talking afresh on what we know, what we can agree on, and how we might work together to help the sex workers who are out there on the front lines getting battered daily by johns and pervs and pimps?

Because many of us involved with the porn wars know, is that we sometimes get painted with being anti-sex worker because we're anti-sex WORK. (Work does not equal worker, btw.) Which is patently untrue.

I know that in my case I am not only a radical feminist, but I am also a delegate for the Industrial Workers of the World. While it is a radical union, it is not the bastion of forward thinking and equality that one would hope for, so when I proclaim that I am a feminist (loudly and often) I am asked what I think of the workers at the Lusty Lady who unionised, and if I am against unionisation of strip clubs because I am against strip clubs. Well, that's oversimplifying and is pure and utter bullshit. The answer I give that seems to be etched into my memory now is that I am all for unionising strip clubs. They are horrible, degrading, and often dangerous places to work (for reasons mentioned by a stripper at Violet's post that's linked above). I want the workers to be able to make them the best and safest place that they possibly can (which is still scary given the way the customers view women), but that this is only one small step. Like the ideas of the IWW I want to get rid of the bosses and only have worker collectives. Well, we can't make that happen overnight, so a union is a way to help put more control in the workers hands, for now. The IWW is not satisfied with just unions as I am not satisfied with replacing strip clubs with unionised strip clubs. Yes, one is better then the other. Yes, sex workers are workers, and ones who work in a very dangerous environment that they should be able to make some rules and make their experience better. So for now, I am all in favour of unionisation. But that's only for right now. I imagine a world without strip clubs, where women are no longer the sex class.

Which brings me to other questions. Who would want to salt a place like that? (Salting is where you get union members hired into a job that you are trying to unionise.) I (years ago) thought about it, but I've definitely healed past that point and can't shield myself from the degredation and humiliation any more. (Thank god. I am done dissociating. NO MORE.) Seriously, I have little problem finding people interested in salting Starbucks, but I couldn't imagine asking any woman to salt a strip club. I'd even salt at (*retch*) Starfuckerbucks, but it's different. I can't imagine asking a woman to go through that for the good of a union.

ALSO: Because I've met many men who seem to think that going to a unionised strip club is better then a "regular" strip club: you're all misogynist bastards. Don't go to strip clubs. Try this on for size: see women as something more then a masturbatory tool. They are human, just like you (I know some of you can't believe that.) See them as your equal. Try that instead of a strip club. It's much more fulfilling.


hexyhex said...

Thank you for this post. I know it might feel like it's not something you should HAVE to point out, but "anti-sexworker" is a fairly easy reading of a lot of radfems. All the denial in the world isn't worth much when people are insisting that "condoms and unions are not the way!"

All well and good, but what about NOW? You've covered that. Again, thanks.

As for this: Who would want to salt a place like that?

I'd suggest finding existing sex workers who A: want to keep working and B: are willing to change workplaces. They do exist. The most vocal advocates of sex worker unionisation may be ex-workers, but there are a hell of a lot of current workers who will support the idea if it's brough to them.

Shutting up now.

lost clown said...

Why shut up? Those are great points, and you are very welcome. (I hear this kind of stuff a lot, as I'm sure we all do, but I get it from fellow Wobs a lot too.)

Anonymous said...

I don't think that strippers classify as "sex workers." I'll agree that prostitution is wrong and immoral, but if a community wants to have a titty bar that's fine with me.

Purnima said...

I am against strip club. Its an exploitation against women. There are so many ways to earn. why do somethg which is gainst your dignity?

I would rather prefer to die than stripping my clothes off.

Anonymous said...

I hate strip clubs and people that think there is nothing wrong with them.

I tell these people if they would like their female friends and mothers to be strippers and they shut up.

They can never answer the question because they know I am right and yet they deny that there is anything wrong with strip clubs.

They also tell me I should let people do as they please and that I am not social enough to deal with it.

What this really means is that I should not care about other people and that I should just be some brainless fool that follows a herd of idiots.

Anonymous said...

This "sex worker" crap is just plain idiotic. Strippers are victims of sexual exploitation. You may as well have a union for rape victims! Anyone who thinks no one gets hurt in a strip club hasn't seen one up close. I've personally been around to try and pick up the pieces of the broken lives of a few these young women, and it isn't pretty, and it wasn't their "free choice' that got them to that point. The stripping industry ruins lives..the girls, the customers and the pieces of crap that own those places. We need to cut through the bullshit and expose this industry for the sleaze that it really is. "gentlemrn's clubs", ny arse!

Mackenzie said...

Anytime I hear or see anything regarding porn, strip joints or prostitution it just infuriates me. Why feed an already oversexed society?? I get the fact that it "makes money" for the economy, but I mean really, if this country is supposed to be founded on christian principles, how in the hell does stripping and fucking for money fall under that? See?? Lol I'm getting pissed off.
Does anyone else get this angry over the situation? When my ex used to look at women or talk about he is ok with strippers and prostitutes, I just wanted to knock him over the head with whatever was close at hand! Lol
Also, where can one find a man who is not buying into this sexual society????

Thanks for listening! :-P

Anonymous said...

Strip clubs, are a place where men can go gloat in their unearned social privilege. Like those shows years ago where blacks came in the stage door only and whites came in the front.

There is nothing "harmless" about it - it just reinforces the attitudes of men who see women as "cum dumpsters".