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Undressing the Empowerment of Women

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Undressing the Empowerment of Women essay
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Imagine that it’s your friends last weekend in town before shipping out to basic training for the army. You ask your friend where they want to go and they respond by saying that they want to go to a strip club. So you agree to go because after all who are you to deny your friends request for his last experience of freedom for the next five years. You finally show up at the strip club only to find the very plain looking outside of a warehouse with only one door in and a sign saying strip club with an arrow point at the door.

Not knowing what to really expect you open the door and walk inside only to blasted with a loud mix of music and young lady in a tight fitting white dress. You pay the lady your entry fee and walk into the club to find only a few employees meandering around to a couple of patrons at tables. There is a girl on stage dancing for a few people seated at the end of the stage but that is about as much excitement as you can find.

A waitress comes by and you order a coke and a tri-tip sandwich while you sit back and take in your surroundings. A couple of songs go by and you hear the DJ announce another girl by the name of Angel who gets on stage and begins to dance as the next song comes on. Looking around the room you notice that there appears to be a lot of single men throughout the room sitting by themselves. Some are eating food while others are talking to girls who have come up to them. You begin to wonder to yourself if this is really how strip clubs are. Considering the fact of how they are portrayed by movies and from the stories you hear from your friends this is not exactally what you expected.

Then suddenly, like the flood gates of a dam opening, the back doors to the dressing room opens and out pours 15 girls with smiles on their faces and a twinkle in their eye. They know they have a chance to make a lot of money tonight, it’s only a matter of finding the right person to give it them. Now this is the strip club I have heard about. You scarf down your food as you have been told that the girls will not bother you while there is food at the table. Just as soon as you finish your meal a young girl with dark brown hair walks up to your friend and starts talking to him. Your friend tell her thanks but no thanks and the girl walks away moving to the next table and begins talking to the guy there. A group of young men with two women whom you can tell don’t work at the club walk in and begin to party. The night goes on like this a few more hours while you and your friend get a couple of dances.

At the end of the night you’re notice that your down several hundred dollars but you had a good time and met some interesting people. This is pretty much what a night at the strip club looks like, at least if your respectful and courteous to the people.  Experiencing a strip club can be overwhelming at first for some people but there is more than meets the eye if you just take a second and talk to people. Strippers are people just like you and I, working a job to pay their bills or save for something that they want. After talking with some of the ladies at the strip club it became more apparent to me that the act of stripping is so much more than just collecting a pay check.

Of course stripping has its down sides such as patron’s who push the limits of what is allowed at the club, the stigma that comes with being a stripper, and the effects that it can have a person when they don’t want their families, friends, or other jobs to know what they do. However, there was a more powerful theme that became apparent after speaking with and getting to know the ladies. The art of stripping goes against the conventional normalcies of society and leads to the empowerment of women through acceptance of one’s own body, encouragement of entrepreneurship, and the commandment of respect. The art of stripping can be a very empowering to a woman by showing the acceptance of one’s own body.

The empowerment comes from the fact that stripping can build confidence in a woman’s view of her own body. Often in today’s society we see in the advertisements that we come in contact with what society would consider to be a the ideal body for an individual. However, stripping challenges that idea. When visiting the strip club I noticed that there was a wide variety of girls there that all had different body types ranging some that were extremely athletic and fit to those that looked a lot like my own with a little extra padding. With this being said the one thing that stood out was that it appeared that every girl that was there was comfortable in their own skin. Watching the women in the club made me realize that they all seemed to accept themselves which is no easy task in todays society.

Alexandra A. Brewis shows how one’s own perception of their body is affected by today’s society in her article titled “The Accuracy of Attractive-Body-Size Judgement”. Brewis writes “media images of ultraslim women are internalized by women and result in distorted self-images and conceptions of others’ judgements of their body” (Brewis, 549).  Basically, what Brewis is saying that when society advertises using ultra slim women, it creates a locked perception of attractiveness. This is interesting because visiting a strip club showed me that there is a subculture where women embrace themselves the way they are.

I spoke to multiple women who told me that they were mothers and were willing to show me their scars from the C-sections or even those who worked hard and lost weight because of the dancing and amount of movement that is involved in stripping. In fact, one of the ladies told me that stripping was probably one of the healthiest things that she had ever done. Just by looking at this one can see that by learning to accept one’s body, like strippers do, is not only healthy but also empowering as it promotes a positive body image. Without being held back by thinking about a negative body image there was only one thing that was on the ladies minds, money. Every woman that I spoke to at the club had one thing in mind and that was the idea of how to make the most money that they could. I was rather intrigued by this idea because I mean how hard could stripping really be? It’s just seductive dancing after all isn’t it? I could not have been more wrong about that idea.

There is so much more to the world of stripping than I could have ever imagined. I had a chance to talk to the manager on duty that night who explained to me that the women of the club are considered more private contractors than actual employees of the establishment. The ladies have to pay a fee in order to reserve a certain period of time for them to dance, prime time of course more expensive than say the middle of the day. I was also told that they pay a percentage of each dance, usually five to ten dollar, to the establishment but they get to keep the rest including tips. Curious if they ladies would even be able to make any money I started asking around and to my surprise found out that most of the ladies were pretty open about how much they would make in an evening.

One even told me that most days they make five to six hundred dollars a night with a good night being over a thousand. Most of these ladies told me that they invested the money either in housing or a private business such as photography. Now as you can see this goes against the normalcies of society which are described in Sarah Thebaud article titled “Gender and Entrepreneurship as a Career Choice: Do Self-assessments of Ability Matter”. In this article Thebaud discusses what it’s like for women to become an entrepreneur and some of the challenges that they experience. Thebaud writes “the financial risk-taking that is often associated with entrepreneurship also adds a prescriptive edge to the stereotype that entrepreneurship is a male-type activity” (Thebaud, 291).

What Thebaud is basically say is that entrepreneurship is primarily a male dominated occupation. Well as we can see that is not the case with stripping. The women involved in stripping are obviously going against this idea as seen with the amount they can potentially make. That being said I discovered that many of the ladies will also invest money in classes teaching dance, yoga, or some kind of other physical exercise promoting flexibility. This helps them in their jobs which in turn brings in more money. This is ultimately the embodiment of entrepreneurship. There is one problem that strippers do have, and that is one of respect.

Many of the ladies told me that they had many problems of patrons coming in and disrespecting them. I heard stories of patrons being rough, demining, or acting in inappropriate ways. The ladies do not put up with it though. They embody the Kantian idea that is discussed in Colin Bird’s article “Status, Identity, Respect”. Bird describes the Kantian idea of respect by writing “These Kantian ideas all assume that the relevant sort of respect involves conduct and treatment that is due to all persons as such” (Bird, 209). In summary, bird is basically saying that based on the Kantian ideas we should all treat people the way we want to be treated ourselves. I saw this that night at the strip club when a birthday party group began to get a little out of hand. I didn’t see what all transpired but I did see a stripper put a guy in his place after acting inappropriately.

What was shocking to me was that the bouncer of the club did not step in. instead the woman promptly threw the money the guy had given her back at him and then tell him to get out. The man was reluctant at first but then she told him that she make sure that no girl in the club gave him a dance. The guy promptly left quietly after a short exchanges of words with the manager. I asked the woman later that evening about why the bouncer did step in and she simply told me that around that club girls handled themselves when someone decided to disrespect them and that bouncer would only step in if someone got physical with them. She told me that if a patron was respectful then there was no issues. Ultimately as I saw that night, if you were respectful to the girls then they would take care of you as a patron of the establishment but they weren’t afraid to bite back if you stepped out of line.

This idea is also supported by Bird writes about how we should treat others based on Kantian ideas. Bird writes “We might just as well say that we should be considerate of others and their needs and interests, treat them decently, fairly, as humans should be treated, and so on” (Bird, 211). This is truly the idea that is expressed at the strip club. The last girl that I spoke to at the end of the night expressed this when she told me that this is the only job that she has worked that in which she is free to tell someone to fuck off if out of line and not have any repercussions. The girls don’t just give respect to the patrons when they turn down a dance, as they were all very respectful, but the demanded it from those who would try to treat them otherwise. Overall the trip to the strip club was a very enlightening experience.

The girls at the club were probably some of the most interesting people that I have met in years. The way they moved all the way to the smell of their perfume show that the respected themselves and took their job seriously. Their desire to make money and the amount of work that they put into it was admirable. Even though hundreds of dollars were on the line, and they were damn determined to get it, they made sure that everyone was treated respectfully and takenm care of. One thing is for sure, my idea how a strip club and a stripper are has changed from a place that is dark and dingy to a place that empowers women through positive body image, entrepreneurship, and demand for respect.

Works Cited

  1. Bird, Colin. “Status, Identity, and Respect.” Political Theory, vol. 32, no. 2, 2004, pp. 207–232. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4148132.
  2. Brewis, Alexandra A. “The Accuracy of Attractive‐Body‐Size Judgment.” Current Anthropology, vol. 40, no. 4, 1999, pp. 548–552. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/200052
  3. Thebaud, Sarah. “Gender and Entrepreneurship as a Career Choice: Do Self-Assessments of Ability Matter?” Social Psychology Quarterly, vol. 73, no. 3, 2010, pp. 288–304. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/27896237.

Undressing the Empowerment of Women essay

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FAQ

What is meant by female empowerment?
Women's empowerment can be defined to promoting women's sense of self-worth, their ability to determine their own choices, and their right to influence social change for themselves and others .
What is the best way to promote women's empowerment?
Place women as leaders and give them decision making roles. More Job Opportunities for Women: Invest in Women's Entrepreneurial Ideas, Emotionally and Financially: Taking Action against Unpaid Labour Work: Mentoring Women Professionally and Personally:
What is the importance of women's empowerment?
Empowering women is essential to the health and social development of families, communities and countries . When women are living safe, fulfilled and productive lives, they can reach their full potential. contributing their skills to the workforce and can raise happier and healthier children.
What is women empowerment conclusion?
Women Empowerment Conclusion women empowerment refers to the creation of an environment for personal benefits as well as for society . women also should be given equal rights like men to actually empower them. They need to be strong, aware, and alert every time for their growth and development.
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