Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Throwback: Why Do Women Go to Strip Clubs?
Being a stripper is possibly one of the most demeaning jobs that a woman could have. You'd have to step out into an arena full of salivating men who view you as a headless body. You're required to strip down to nothingness--skin and dignity--and bare your naked body and all of its secrets for crumbled, dirty dollars from men who probably would be afraid to approach you in a different environment. You're nothing more than an object. It's got to be a mentally taxing profession...
Yet most of the women I know have been to, or want to visit, strip clubs. Some have even told me that it was always a fantasy of theirs to dance in a club, if only for one night.
I personally don't frequent strip clubs, but I do go to them if I'm out of town and a group of friends are going. Under those circumstances I see it as more of a social event and not an event in and of itself. Going to strip clubs is essentially a way to pay for attention from a woman, and to me, if it's not sincere attention it does nothing for me.
I've heard that some strippers get a high off of stripping because they feel that it's one of the few times in life that they felt that they could have complete control over any man that walked through the door. In a twisted way, it seems like some strippers view their profession as militant feminism--to use their bodies to control and break men financially. Now they can add their own gender to that equation.
I've been to my share of gentlemen's clubs, and it amazes me at the number of straight women that attend them. I visited a club in Atlanta once where about 25% of the patrons were women. I've even visited a strip club with a group of very straight, professional female friends. They told me that they liked going because they think the female body is beautiful and they always fantasized about being strippers. A couple of them have even taken stripper aerobics classes.
Could it be that women just want to see what the big deal is about? Do they want to destroy our dirty little secret? Or perhaps they just want to get a few ideas from the pros to take back home to their men.
Whatever the case may be, women are frequenting strip clubs more than ever. No longer is it a vestige for men only. I'm not entirely sure what women's motivations are, but writer Ian Brown gives a good explanation of why men go. In an essay from What I Meant to Say: The Private Lives of Men, Brown breaks his experience down like this:
"I went to the club to bring lust into a more honorable place in my life, to normalize my desire, to make it less of a big deal. For a man, looking is part of his education. It's one way he learns the difference between what he wants and what he can have; or between what he thinks he wants, is supposed to want and what he actually needs."
I think that's a pretty good assessment. Does someone care to explain the other side's reasoning?