Having long said that lapdances are a low-impact renewable resource, I was tickled to read this Utne Reader reprint of Anna Simpson’s article from Green Futures about an imagined sustainable sex industry. Obviously the desire to buy a product made by workers who are treated well is an established trope in sustainability/free trade circles, so eliminating forced trafficking is a given. But aside from a short discussion of consent, it’s more of a funny little exercise in hypotheticals than a serious stab at sex industry issues.
Hi there, American Celebrity! As someone with a lot of money and influence, there are many causes to which you could dedicate your considerable resources: adopting children, having children, saving children—ah, that’s a good one. No one can ever dispute the value in saving children, particularly when those children are female because everyone knows females are more vulnerable than males. But what do girls most need saving from?
There’s the much-discussed issue of eating disorders, which your industry contributes to substantially, but that’s not very glamorous and sounds vaguely feminist so, moving on. There’s also the shameless, repeated attacks coming from the Republican party on all American girls‘ rights to medical care and, of corse, sex education, but that’s awfully political. You’re just trying to change the world, not ruffle a bunch of feathers. Let’s think bigger.
Leslie Zemeckis (wife of director Robert) released a documentary about a year ago called Behind the Burly Q: The Story of Burlesque. I haven’t seen it yet, but maybe I will some day. Burlesque seems cool from what I know; I’ve only seen a little bit of it, but am interested in watching talented dancers, whatever genre they’re in. I’ve definitely heard burlesque girls trash-talk strippers, but so do most people, so it’s not like I hold the entire burlesque community accountable for the words of a judgmental few.
Bill Gibron of PopMatters posted a review of the documentary last week. He engages in some pretty gratuitous stripper-hating that appears irrelevant to the film, while unknowingly clarifying many of the similarities between the worlds of sex work and burlesque dance.
Over the weekend, the internet news show The Young Turks drew my attention to this story: a 37-year-old Houston escort who works under the name of Shelby is offering a discount for clients who donate a toy to Toys for Tots. For any guy who booked an hour and brought an unwrapped toy, Shelby offered a second hour for free.
Cenk Ugyur condescendingly calls her “an escort with a golden heart” before launching into his incredibly twisted analysis of the “consequences” of Shelby’s offer: “There’ll be a lot of guys who take their kids’ toys to go get a second hour free with a prostitute. … It seems like she’s doing a good deed, but think of how those guys get their toys.” His sidekick, Ana Kasparian (who rarely offers anything new to Cenk’s analyses), agrees immediately that it’s “disgusting” and makes her “sick to her stomach.”