Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Brooks 252-255 Course Reserve

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This essay is about a young black woman who decides to start stripping to help pay for college. She enjoys her job and it makes her feel comfortable and good about herself. It is a woman-run strip club and is therefore more female-friendly than most strip clubs. She talks about how the women who work there are intelligent and creative and not the usual stereotypes. She feels conflicted because her workplace feels like a family, but there is still an overbearing aura of racism. There is a private booth girls dance in for one customer at a time. The girls who dance there get paid more, but black girls hardly get to dance there. Customers will wave away the black dancers or not pay them as much. A white stripper makes a petition that booth dancers should get paid more. The author makes a petition that black girls should be able to dance more in the booths. She is partially successful in that non-booth dancers are able to make as much money and a few more black girls will be able to dance in booths. Although, now the girls aren’t allowed to hang anything up in the dressing room.

Usually, when you hear stories about working in a strip club it is a sad story about a woman feeling objectified and getting abused. In this strip club the problem is not sexism, but racism. The way Brooks talks about the Lusty Lady makes it sound like any other workplace. It is a nice change of pace to hear a story about someone voluntarily going into stripping.  It’s inspiring that this woman stood up to the oppression. I love when she said, “I felt as though we were expected to feel grateful simply because we were not being sexually harassed by our managers.” I enjoyed this reading assignment.

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