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Less Stigma, Less Money

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.

Stacks & Cats

sugarHere’s a photo of my cat, Sugar, counting my riches after an extra successful weekend—Valentine, a sex worker in Portland, OR.

Sex workers, send us your pictures of your dogs and dollars or cats and stacks at

The Making of a Strip Club Story

Susannah Breslin inspires strong reactions. Three times I have mentioned her to friends and received a variation on this response: “She’s mean.” We don’t even agree about her at Tits and Sass! Since I’m prone to being wrongly interpreted as mean at times, I feel a kinship with her. Full disclosure: Breslin employed me as a freelancer during her time at another site.

Right now she’s writing the Pink Slipped blog at and is chronicling her work writing a story about the economics of strip clubs in a series called “How Your Journalism Sausage Gets Made”. She started this series back in April, and picks it up again today with an interview with a dancer named Cash. This series is geared towards journalists and is a detailed look at the work of reporting a story; being cockblocked by those who control access, finding alternate sources of information and means of entry, allowing what the story actually is to reveal itself to you instead of going in trying to prove the one you’ve already written.

One way—and possibly the biggest—journalists get sex work wrong is by neglecting its economics and focusing on the social factors. Missing the money is missing the point! If there wasn’t any money involved, it wouldn’t be sex work. It would just be sex. Of course, there’s no accurate way to report on the income of individual dancers. Most dancers either exaggerate or lowball their income or don’t track it to begin with, so even “honest” self-reporting isn’t going to reflect actual income. And clubowners are unlikely to report actual income, although in Texas, the tax revenues from sales of alcoholic beverages are a matter of public record, so these can be used to arrive at a rough estimate of what kind of drink volume a club is doing. If Breslin actually gets some hard data out of this series, I’ll be delighted.

Labor of Love

(Image via Melissa Gira Grant's twitter account)
(Image via Melissa Gira Grant’s twitter account)

You might recognize this sentiment: the sex workers’ rights movement is funded by “the industry.” We are “the pimp lobby,” whether we’ve ever been in any sort of management role ourselves or not, let alone whether we’ve abused or exploited other workers. You might think it’s pretty easy to laugh at that sort of thing, but if you’ve ever spent any time going through the e-mails that sex workers’ rights organizations receive, you’ll hear a lot of this, even from people and organizations who are sympathetic. They’ll make assumptions about “staff”—”we want to meet your staff”or they want to meet in “your office.”  There are people who try to chat you up about nonprofit careers at events, thinking you have jobs to offer them. And so on. It would be funny if it weren’t so frustrating, and if people with nasty motives didn’t use these assumptions against us.

It’s human to overestimate the resources of others and to underestimate one’s own. But let’s have some real talk.

Management doesn’t want to fund the sex workers rights movement. They do not have an interest in our vision for social change beyond issues of their own legality. Don’t believe me? This is management in action, or more specifically, strip club managers in action, allying themselves with anti-trafficking organizations. Management-directed organizations want to cover their own asses and reap benefits from the REAL money spigot, the anti-trafficking movement, of the “End Demand” variety, funded by former ambassador and current filthy rich lady Swanee Hunt. You’d see the same from escort agencies if they were legal, and you already do see the same from the legal Nevada brothel industry. As it is, some of the individuals in sex work management give us mild, conditional support, sort of the same way clients do. You know the storythey have many more demands than they do contributions. I have never seen any of them donate money.

Radfems, the “pimp lobby” is pretty firmly on YOUR side on this one.

Stacks & Cats

“Two nights’ work and a happy cat,” says this anonymous contributor. A happy cat owner, too, we imagine!

Sex workers, send us your pictures of your dogs and dollars or cats and stacks at