Less Stigma, Less Money

by Kat on March 7, 2011 · 3 comments

in Money, Strippers, What is Sex Work?

When I noticed the new column in my local strip club (and escort ads) rag, Exotic, titled Go-Go Confessional, I was ready for some confessions. (“I stole my go-go rival’s lucky furry legwarmers!” “I totally hooked up with that semi-famous semi-hot singer of the band.” “OMG, I lost my electrical tape.”)

Instead, I was surprised by the amount of stripper-targeted resentment contained in the article.

Let’s face it, strippers come a dime a dozen—especially in this town. There is, however, a sexy breed of naughty performers in need of recognition. This would be the go-go dancer.

Though we don’t take off all our clothes or spread eagle in your face, we still do tricks and specialty moves.

Go-go dancers are also more likely to talk to you on breaks while wringing sweat from their hair. Without the hustle for private dances, the pressure is off and you can really get to know us. I’m not just saying this but we are all nice girls.

The author actually does admit that she has stripped before. “While I have credentials in both exotic dancing realms, the go-go dancer is not praised, or tipped, enough.” (When I read “both exotic dancing realms,” at first I thought she meant stripping and then maybe Samba or something before I realized that she was referring to go-go.)

This tip talk confused me because it was right after the part where said that she go-go’s for stress relief and “to accept and own my sexuality and appreciate every inch of my body.” Exercise and attention had always seemed like the main draws to me, so that sounded about right. However, she mentions tipping no less than six times in a page-length column. Go-go dancers deserve more tips on account of: not being able to pick their music, the elevated platforms being hot, their being in good shape/nice to look at and their being more sincere than strippers. While I don’t doubt that concert and event-goers gawk and don’t tip, I couldn’t help but wonder if her time might be better spent doing something more lucrative and less clothed if money is such an issue. Maybe spreading that eagle a little bit?

She closes with the ol’ go-go-dancers-are-people-too argument, “From medical school students, animal caretakers, photographers, fashion designers and even journalists, the go-go dancer is the girl next door of the sex industry.” (Are go-go dancers sex-industry workers, hence sex workers? No, methinks.) And here I thought strippers work their way through school and then go-go dance their way through nights off—I certainly have friends who do both. It just feels an awful lot like the girl-next-door thing is a final attempt to guilt readers. “That go-go dancer could be your sister!” You know, like if you had a hot athletic sister who was always judging everyone from up on her platform.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimmy March 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm

What a load of tripe. I am a stripper and a go-go dancer and I have no illusions as to why one job rakes in better tips. I get PAID BY THE HOUR to go-go, if I get tipped at all it’s appreciated. I’m certainly not going to sit back on my high-heeled haunches and whine about not getting COMPLIMENTED enough whilst scoffing at the ‘dime-a-dozen’ strippers. “We’re all nice girls”? What a crock.

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Kat May 5, 2011 at 12:41 am

I’ve given this a lot of thought since writing this post. I think in the specific case of the lady who writes the Go-Go Confessional column, the go-go dancers are the entertainment for half the night at the venue where she works. I think if she is feeling devalued, then the venue should definitely be paying their go-go dancers as much, if not more, than the burlesque performers (who only have to go up once per night). I have no idea what their pay scale is like though.

As per my sex workers quip, I still tend to think of go-go dancers today as not qualifying, whereas historically go-go dancers were what we know today as “strippers.” But conversely, when go-go dancers are working in only bottoms and pasties, I can see how they’re really no different than strippers in states with stricter contact/nudity laws.

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