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Smith didn’t just consider it irrelevant to ask these women what the law has meant (and hasn’t meant) to them. She also refused to engage with the many sex workers who tweeted her to point out this omission […] She allowed police officers – people who see it as their mission to drive sex workers out of business, people who have a long history of using sex workers for their own ends in all sorts of nefarious ways (yes, even in post-criminalization Sweden)  to define their experiences for them. I have a few words for that type of reporting. ‘Feminist’ isn’t one of them. 

Wendy Lyon responds to the silencing of sex worker voices in The Independent columnist Joan Smith’s whorephobic discussion of criminalization in Sweden this week. Another excellent response from Jem of It’s Just A Hobby here

 

That’s Not A Facial!

How nice of 19 Action News of Cleveland, Ohio to illegally videotape the dancers at four Cleveland strip clubs. I hope a wannabe Joey Greco crossed with The Leprechaun (pole dancing in geriatric shoes and a suit) doesn’t ever film me doing the “upside-down praying mantis.”

While we’re on the subject of terminology, I’m pretty sure there are technically no facials in the video. The so-called “facial” might more accurately be described as “motorboating.” It’s not like the dancer female-ejaculated onto the guy’s face from the stage. And the girl who “appears to be totally naked and grinding her customer” isn’t actually grinding him. He would need to have a 12-inch erection for there to be any contact between her crotch and his. Not to mention the plot inconsistency with the snow at the end? (Yes, I’m sure you were distracted by Leprechaun chest bumping us too, but look at the ground!) Worst. “Exposé.” Ever.

Going Negative In The Champagne Room: California Edition

Are California Republicans around just to make us appreciate how classy Philadelphia Republican strip club-themed ads are? Maybe! This little piece of work must be a parody, because there’s no way something like this gets taken seriously for a second. They’ve edited the face of LA city council member/congressional candidate Janice Hahn onto the body of a stripper surrounded by Black men who are holding guns and singing “Give me your cash, bitch/So we can shoot up the street/Give me your cash, bitch/So we can buy some more heat.” This is apparently based on her support for a Scared Straight-style program that worked with former gang members.

Sex Work in the Strangest Places: Detroit’s Booty Lounge Seized

Detroit’s entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well in the Booty Lounge, a mobile strip club. The Lounge, despite tailgating Lions games since 2005, recently became a target for the Motor City’s anti-stripper brigade when local news station WDIV sent its “Defenders” into the Booty Bus with hidden cameras (jerks!).
The bus was seized last Monday during the Lions game, apparently for being parked in a no parking zone. It remains to be seen if this will be the end of the Booty Lounge. Objections included the suggestion that it would attract the wrong element to Lions games, a laughable concept for anyone who’s ever been to an actual NFL game.

A bus is not the only creative strip club venue in Detroit. Read this great 2010 story about a guy who started a strip club in his rec room.

You’re Not Not Funny: The Onion’s Ten Funniest Stripper Stories

screenshot composite from The Onion
screenshot composite from The Onion

The Onion posted a story last Wednesday headlined “Stripper Thinks Customer Flirting With Her.” You can get the gist of it from the headline; it is funny for the first, most obvious reason, but also because it’s a little true and sometimes strippers do think customers see them as human. While increasingly vicious as its satire becomes reality at a depressing pace, The Onion is more often than not gentle towards strippers. While we normally have more unfunny shit anti-stripper humor to rant about than not, we also enjoy pointing out examples of stripper and strip club-based humor that don’t rely completely on dehumanizing or mocking us. I’m sorry to kill all the funny by talking about it, but to crib from a Flann O’Brien quote I just read in a discussion of satire, we’ll chance it. For once, it’s nice to read humor about strippers that doesn’t joke about us as dead bodies, talk about our deadbeat boyfriends, or play on our assumed lack of parental supervision.

The main trick The Onion utilizes is taking an accepted stripper artifice and running with it to an absurd literal conclusion. This contrasts with their mode of treating a non-event as a news story; for instance, Stripper In Dressing Room Ignores Girl Crying On Cell Phone or Stripper Who Said “No, I Don’t Have Any Body Spray” Was Lying would fit the format of their office stories, but they’re too strip club-specific to work for a broader audience as workplace jokes. The writers instead must deal with stereotypes in the same way they deal with those of athletes (“Pro Athlete Lauded For Being Decent Human Being”). As I looked through their stripper story archives, I was pleasantly surprised to realize their stripper jokes relied more on absurd literalism than mockery.* Here are the ten best of the bunch.