Former (for now, hopefully permanent) stripper here. I think a lot of people who don’t have first hand experience of stripping don’t understand that the job is about %10 actual dancing at most. There are some regional differences, club differences, I know girls get tipped more in places like Vegas or Atlanta but if you go just about anywhere else, you do NOT make your money dancing on stage. Stripping is not just being some hot and unattainable things gliding around a pole while awestruck men make it rain.
The majority of your money comes from private dances and from tips. If you are in the industry you know that the best way to ensure your income is to gather regular clients. There are two ways to do this: you can either give them sexual favors or you can play along with their fantasy that you are their girlfriend/will meet them outside the club. Both are objectifying and degrading, not fun. Not sexy.
Aside from having to deal with regular clients, stripping means swimming in a sea of misogynistic assholes. Some men get off on hurting women physically, some men get off on making women cry. You could be a 10/10 and you will still be subjected to abusive treatment by men. No matter how hot you are, there is always some man who feels entitled to list all the “flaws” he sees in your body to put you in your place. Stripping means existing every day in an atmosphere of violence and sexual aggression and having to constantly fend off men who repeatedly try to violate your boundaries.
As rude and entitled as the customers might be, they are nowhere near as bad as club owners/managers can be. Coerced sex is as ubiquitous as you’d expect it to be. Managers can force you to work back to back shifts until you drop or develop a coke habit (so you can buy from them), they can force you to give dances to men that smell like piss and they can retaliate against you if you piss off the wrong client by refusing to fuck. I’ve been called a cunt, a bitch, a whore, literally any insult you can think of – and I was Top Earner for almost a year straight. And I put up with it because I couldn’t afford to stand up for myself and lose my job.
And when i’m saying this, keep in mind I worked in the most expensive, “high-end” club in a major metropolitan city for years. I was one of the hot, “lucky” ones. This is the high end. On the low end you’ve got clubs that are actual no-bones-about-it-lube-in-the-goddamn-sanitizer-bottles brothels filled with trafficked women from Eastern Europe and Asia.
I’m sure some strippers are gonna say it’s not degrading yadda yadda, “I’m empowered!” But I’ve never met a stripper who hasn’t had some sort of emotional breakdown on a shift at least once, and that kind of says something.
The privileged sex worker tourists looking to gain some sort of dangerous mystique/male validation/”self-discovery”/whatever the fuck supplemental identity might never experience this, but who cares about them anyway, they are a joke to the rest of us.
tl; dr – take it from a stripper, it is degrading. What I wrote above is pretty stream of consciousness so i’m sorry if it seems unpolished. I just get scared and frustrated when I see things like this and wanted to get this out of my system so I could go take a bath and chill.
I quit stripping not long after I started because I had an anxiety attack (I didn’t know what an anxiety attack was back then). I was lucky enough that I could quit because I could find money elsewhere and hadn’t been there long enough to get stuck. Not long after that the club got shut down for prostitution.
I assure you, everything she said above is true. The owner/manager is an abusive pimp, the girls are doped up just to get through the night, men try to take advantage of you at every turn, it’s a nightmare.
You know what my appeal was? That I had just turned 18 and was a virgin (I wasn’t a virgin, but that was my gimmick). You know who all of my regular clients were? Men old enough to be my dad or, more often, grandfather, trying to get me to suck their dick for extra cash. They’d try to get my drunk enough to do it, but all my “rum and coke”s were just soda.
Girls who needed more cash or drugs could fuck the boss for it. He would pay us to get a tattoo of the club’s name and logo. There all still girls out there with it permanently on them even though now the club is gone, always reminding them of what went on in there.
This isn’t some sexy emporium of pleasure, it was a stock yard and we were cattle, branded and caged, for men to buy.