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Stripper Music Monday: The Glitch Mob

After platform heels and baby wipes, the most essential item in my work bag is my iPod. You just can’t depend on strip club DJs to have what you want to hear. Some of them are voracious consumers and producers of music with a catholic knowledge, and some of them don’t know “Bad Romance” from “Bad Reputation.” Right now I work with more of the latter than the former, so I always bring my own music.

It’s like a fun game to find new tracks, and while I’m not a very solid hit predictor (why is everyone dancing to the Black Eyed Peas when that awesome Big Boi record came out last year?), some clubs have reputations as just that—little focus groups of dancers and customers. In December, All Things Considered ran a short segment on the Atlanta practice of using strip clubs as a testing ground for tracks. Billboard found the subject worthy of a cover story back in 2006, and anecdotally, I can remember hearing musicians in Memphis and Detroit talking about this practice in the late 90s. It makes a lot of sense for the strip club to be a track’s first stop because it’s a place where you can directly observe the crowd, the ladies, and the sound on club speakers.

Oh, To Be a Housewife!

“I wonder what kind of girls do that kind of work, and how they get into it.”

Victoria Layton is bored. She’s middle-aged by 1968 standards, she used to have a wildly interesting life. Now she’s in Connecticut and she’s fuckin’ bored. She’s so bored that she spends most of the beginning of The Secret Life of An American Wife talking to herself. To be honest, I do this too (we all do), but we’re not under the microscope here so… you know. The film begins as she wakes up on a typical day, rambling about the husband who doesn’t pay attention to her and the life she resents. She gets her old man up and out of the house, drives him to the train, and heads back home afterward for yet another boring day.

Tina Fey Hates Sex Workers: Part One of Infinity

Location on Long Island where the bodies of four women who worked as prostitutes were found

Y’all catch that joke on 30 Rock a couple of weeks (S05E13) ago? Jack Donaghy is in his office, mourning the change in GE ownership. “This is where we used to hold retirement parties. The balcony below is probably still littered with stripper bones.” HAR.

One of the reasons sex workers become politicized is to make ourselves visible as real people to decrease our chances of being easy victims of violent crimes in a society where we are considered lesser members. Jokes like this (and Tina Fey looooves to write stripper jokes*) are one of the constant small ways sex workers are dehumanized to the public. Cracks about dead ones are less funny in light of the women’s remains that were found on Long Island.

Fey is beloved by a lot of women for modeling success in a male-dominated field, which makes her rage towards other women come off as bitter and unreasonable. You know what’s harder than being a rich white woman in Hollywood who gets called crazy because men don’t want to fuck you (hey, you still get to complain about it in The New Yorker)? Having your humanity denied because you are the woman they do want to fuck.

* “I love to play strippers and to imitate them,” says Fey. “I love using that idea for comedy, but the idea of actually going there? I feel like we all need to be better than that. That industry needs to die, by all of us being a little bit better than that.” Vanity Fair, January 2009