Strippers, beer and Germaine Greer: why the sex industry gets a bad wrap
Okay, I’ve finally decided to act upon the numerous emails, texts and comments from my readers, asking why I haven’t written anything in the best part of three weeks. I’d like to say that it was because I had been lacking inspiration, or that no story had compelled me to put the virtual pen to paper, but that would be a load of shit. In a nutshell, the combination of my work schedule and the general debauchery that is my life has left little time to write. Strangely enough, it’s an indirect association to the latter that convinced me to start typing this morning.
I admit it: I am not adverse to strippers. And when an article comes through on my Facebook news feed that includes the words sex slave, feminist and respect in the blurb, it arouses my curiosity. If Germaine Greer’s name is also mentioned, the arousal disappears, but I can’t help but read on.
Vivica Delicious (yeah, I think it’s an awesome name too) has written a piece for The Punch this morning, exploring how females working in the sex industry are viewed and unfairly labelled by certain sections of society . She makes a very valid point, because it seems like a lot of the individuals who are running around with their label makers are doing so uneducated, with either a poorly preconceived idea of what the sex industry is all about, or a notion that all women should be in the kitchen baking pies, popping out children and being doted upon by their husbands. Now, if any of the stationery-wielding, old-school feminists are going to send me hate mail, please include a pie – I’m partial to both apricot and lemon meringue.
Vivica covered some sex industry assumptions and facts in her article, so I’m going to try and expand on two of them with my own input, based on personal experience. I’ve spent a bit of time in various clubs, dated a few strippers and have known people working in other parts of the sex industry, so I’m going to assume that my view will be as well-rounded and based on fact as any other.
Assumption: All women in the sex industry are uneducated, slutty, drug-affected sluts with no self respect.
My thoughts: Most of the women I’ve met who have worked as strippers were anything but uneducated. The majority of them were doing undergraduate study while dancing at night to cover their living expenses and university costs. A few were at postgraduate level, while one was in the final stages of her PhD. The common theme was that stripping was a great way to make money by working irregular hours that fit in with their study commitments.
On the point of losing your self respect by working in the sex industry, nothing could be further from the truth. From what I have observed, and from what I’ve been told, getting to the point where you are comfortable enough to parade around naked takes a hell of a lot of confidence and self respect, and a very unclouded understanding about yourself as a person.
Assumption: The adult entertainment industry breeds misogynists.
My thoughts: How does this argument even begin to make sense? By definition, a misogynist is one who, amongst other things, harbours a hatred or dislike of women. If I really hated women that much, I certainly wouldn’t go to see them somewhere that I had to pay ten dollars for a beer.
On first appearances, when you take a very half-hearted look at the sex industry, it can seem like nothing more than depravity, sexuality and people – mainly younger women – taking off their clothes for money, because they have no other option. Because they have hit rock bottom, and can only use their bodies to procure income. But the truth is, for the women who work within the industry in any capacity, they are there because they are exercising their free choice to do so. They aren’t all mentally unbalanced with father issues, riddled with STDs or trying to bankroll their meth addiction. They do it because they enjoy it, generally get paid very well and, from what I have been told numerous times, find it incredibly liberating and empowering. The real issue is one that usually gets lost in the bigger picture, and that is the question of why it is anyone else’s business what someone does or doesn’t do with their lives. Unfortunately, as we apparently “progress” as a society, there seems to be less and less acceptance of free choice, and an increased propensity to condemn without understanding.
And so once again, I find myself signing off a post by asking why people can’t seem to mind their own business, focus on their own lives, and respect the choices of others.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou