Rosamund Urwin, You Strip Journalism Of Its Dignity

by Elle on September 2, 2011 · 5 comments

in Silly Media Coverage

Rosamund Urwin, writing for The London Evening Standard, was sent on assignment to visit Secrets’ Covent Garden club, or rather, as she refers to it, “Tits R Us.” The article begins with a clear bias: “The clubs that strip women of their dignity.” Immediately, Urwin seems determined to give her article credibility by describing herself as a “strident feminist.” Oddly enough, I believe I am a strident feminist too. It would bemuse me to hear her explanation of what a feminist is, because after reading her piece, I suspect it would contrast starkly with my own.

Her article is based upon one and a half ventures into strip clubs. Urwin laments that the first excursion seemed too “sanitised,” and therefore focuses on the latter mission, which she then proceeds to tear into. She describes two dancers as “both attractive and funny,” and asks their reasons for stripping. When the strippers reply that one is singularly supporting her child and another used her earnings to buy an apartment, Urwin finds fault in this too: “Essentially then, they were fixing two social ills: the ludicrous cost of housing and absent fathers. That doesn’t sound very empowering.”

But they are making it work, right? The father is a deadbeat, so the mother is working her ass off. The other stripper succeeded in buying her own “flat.” Where’s the ill in that? I have news for you, Urwin: Not every stripper is on a mission to rekindle feminism. While I will proudly state what I do for a living and how much I love it; that is obviously not the case for every single one of my peeling peers. In a struggling (worldwide) economy, with both of my college degrees and a decade of work experience at the age of 24, I can still make more money dancing for dollars than most of other well-educated women in my age group. One of my esteemed co-workers was a part time day-shift stripper; she is also a professor of a university in the city which I live. Failing to recognize the financial motivations, Urwin puts herself on a pedestal: “I suspect I had many more options in life than they did.” This infuriates me.

Urwin was also apparently the recipient of a less than impressive lapdance. She states honestly that she is a “man fancier,” and well, that’s fair enough, but since she isn’t attracted to women, the lapdance is already predisposed to be awkward and routine. Perhaps the stripper giving the dance isn’t attracted to women either? I’ve given plenty of private dances, and received a few where the sexuality of the stranger became apparent in three seconds time. In the case of straight women, they have usually been put up to receiving a dance by one of their friends or their enthusiastic spouse. Or in this case, by the PR company of the website for which they write. If the novelty fails to amuse and the sexuality fails to arouse, the dance will fall flat.

If reviewing one strip club is fair, then perhaps I should venture into one fancy restaurant and make the assumption that it is representative of all similar establishments. Instead of being investigative, Urwin relies on one and a half instances where she ventured in and asked questions. If her goal in life is to write as a one-sided journalist with a biased viewpoint, well, congratulations Lady, you succeeded.

Strip clubs: they’re where men and women go when they want to see women like me, and women like you should stay away. Trust me, we’d all be happier.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

story story September 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Ick.

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Shawn Baravetto September 2, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Rosamund sounds like a real charmer…I agree, she should stay away from strip clubs and be a “strident feminist” somewhere else.

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Rocket Rocket September 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm

It’s abhorrent and laughable that Urwin’s writing is labeled “journalism.”

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Piper September 4, 2011 at 3:22 am

Unfortunately, she’s spouting exactly what I think a lot of women think they want to hear. They want to hear the crap from some “journalist” who has actually “dared” to step foot in such a “foul” place (once).

And while we’re working “unempowering” jobs to provide for families, provide housing, pay off debt, or fight the economy (ahem, the same reasons we, uh, all go to work, sex workers and others alike…), I’m wondering if the change of altitude is too much for her while she’s so high up on her pedestal.

I repeat here like I do everywhere: you can’t know the stripping world without being completely immersed in it. There is no short stint, no few visits, and no small amount of time that can provide an accurate picture of what’s going on. It’s the same reason girls roll their eyes when babydancers of a month or so think they have it “all figured out.” Except worse, because this shit is printed for the world to see. Ugh. I suppose I’m just doing some sort of exercise in mental masturbation, since it’s a common point.

I suppose if she can judge a strip club in one visit, I can judge her writing in one article: crap. They ought to save the writing space for actual journalism or put up some ads instead.

I agree with MC; a well-written rebuttal. ;)

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jane whatsername September 4, 2011 at 9:14 am

She’s hardly the sort of woman who would elicit empowered responses. I remember when I used to make excuses for my work in order to make my choice of work more palatable for the listener: “Im only doing it to get through Uni” etc.

Also, the money I make from sex work tops up the shitty salary I get for doing the job I love and am qualified for. I have lots of other options, and sex work enhances them all! That’s the beauty of sex work, it will always be there.

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