Here’s my feelings, up-front, on all sex work (including stripping): It should be legal, it should be well-regulated in a way that is easy for the sex workers to negotiate, the regulation should not be so cost-prohibitive as to reasonably exclude anyone, and folks who don’t get in the system should be come down on hard, with both feet.
I don’t think sex work is a great long-term career choice. But, if one is not strung out on drugs and if one is there of her own choosing, it can be a very lucrative way to make money for a short time. People, okay, women put themselves through college stripping. High end prostitutes live comfortable lives. And, if you’re poor with limited options but a good head on your shoulders, it’s a good way to quickly put together some capital in order to make big changes in your life.
So, I’m for legalizing and regulating all forms of sex work.
Which means I’m incensed that Metro Nashville is talking about raising the licensing fees on strippers. And it’s on a couple of levels. First, we started regulating the hell out of strip clubs under the auspices of making sure there wasn’t any untoward prostitution going on. Now, we’re talking about raising the fee to be a stripper from $50 to $500. If this isn’t trying to drive these women out of work, I don’t know what is. I mean, I’m sorry, but to compare them to plumbers or electricians is just ludicrous. If a stripper doesn’t know how to do her job, no one is going to lose their home or business. But if these women find sex work to be lucrative, isn’t raising the fee to such an exorbitant amount pretty much guaranteeing that they’ll have to do a little work on the side (wink, wink) to come up with the fee?
We don’t want strippers to prostitute themselves so we’ll pressure them so much that prostituting themselves looks like a better option than dancing?
But second, and maybe this means I’m turning into a libertarian, there are 10 strip clubs left in Nashville. What the hell costs $77,000 about regulating them?
So, I mean, let’s be clear about what this is. We taxpayers are paying the Metro Sexually Oriented Business Licensing board a shit-ton of money to screw these girls over.
Wasn’t the point of all this to reduce the number of whores in town?
Aunt B., since when are libertarians the only ones who chafe at unreasonable laws, regulations, and rules?
Oh, Church Secretary, you’re right. I should have mentioned that I was driving around without my seat belt on, waving my gun with one hand, and typing with the other, while composing this post.
Then it would have been clear why I was worried I was turning into a libertarian.
It is interesting that the board wants to raise fees on everyone when they aren’t doing nothing themselves to clean up the clubs, i recently wrote about a incident on my site:
I remember reading a letter to the investment advice column in the Tennessean one year that was so depressing I haven’t read the paper since. Some 23 year-old was asking for advice on how to invest the $150 grand she’d made this year as an exotic dancer. Did their pay rates go down or something? I’d been thinking about changing jobs, but every time I mention it, it’s like three or four days before my wife stops laughing.
Jim, are you married to Say Uncle’s wife?
That’s pretty much my thoughts, exactly. My only things are protection and healthcare. Any regulatory system I’d support would have mechanisms in place to ensure that sex workers weren’t coerced, physically threatened, or otherwise endangered by their work or their employers. (At the very least, to the degree that we have those protections in most other positions, though preferably moreso, given the necessarily physical nature of the job/s.) I would come down far harder on employers than employees, particularly in cases of abuse and trafficking.
It would also have to have provisions in it ensuring that sex workers who came into contact with customers were routinely screened for transmissible infections (just like we have TB screenings if you’re going to work with kids, and some bloodwork if you’re going to be a doctor). Ideally, that would be part and parcel of employment (at least until we’ve got universal/affordable healthcare) … if a person wants to employ sex workers, they’ve got to provide access to these things and make sure that their records are up to date. Self-employed sex workers, of course, would still have to keep screened (again, once we’ve got access in place), but would deal with that the same way that other self-employed people deal with their government paperwork.
you know, I’ve decided that the Nashville Metro Gov’t can fuck anything up.
In regards to stripping, first they do that whole 3 feet rule. Since this genius law was enacted, customers now are forced to wad up their dollars and throw them on stage. As if the job isn’t demeaning enough…
As far as sex work is concerned, I’m just glad these people are working and contributing to society. It beats them sponging off the system. I agree with B on the regulation, but instituting this and that fee ($500, really???) to basically punish them under what is basically taxing them on what some consider a lack of morality. Of course, TN is really big on “Sin taxes” lately…
God, you know, Elizabeth, the more I think about it, the madder I get. Partially it has to do with the Scene article Johnny Wadd linked to in that if a woman wants to hike her tits up to her neck and shake her ass at Coyote Ugly, there’s no one in town telling her she’s got to pay the city $500 and yet, now that they’ve got the three feet rule, how is that any different than what strippers do?
This is exactly why I think this is a feminist issue (even though, obviously, feminists have as many opinions on stripping and prostitution as everyone else)–first of all, because it reinforces some bizarre fucked-up standard about how women are supposed to be sexy for men (like the girls at Coyote Ugly or Hooters) but not too sexy (like the girls at Deja Vu). I guess the message is supposed to be more of this slutty virgin crap–look like you want to fuck everyone, but god damn it, don’t you dare actually fuck everyone.
And secondly because this adversely affects women by depriving them of a livelihood.
You know what I wonder? I wonder if the difference between the girls at Hooters and the girls at Deja Vu has to do with who is perceived to be in charge? Now, granted, I’ve only been to one strip club in my life (thanks, Exador!) and my trips to Hooters have been just about as mercifully limited, but is the problem that, at Hooters, the women serve the men–that they’re in a subservient position to the men and have to do what the men want them to do–and at strip clubs, women are usually above the men and the rules about how the men must treat the women are fairly clear?
While we’re on the topic of articles done by The Scene, perhaps you missed out on this one:
about how in Nashville lap dances are illegal but group sex isn’t. Now, isn’t that a bit ass backwards? I mean, it’s harmful to get 3 feet from a stripper, but go down the street and you can have all manners of sex with friends and/or strangers while all your friends and neighbors watch?
Although I have never been to one of these establishments, I have been enlightened about what goes on inside by someone who is a regular. Now,
I had no idea prior to hearing a few of his personal stories — but now that I do, I don’t feel that the owners should be punished monetarily, just as I feel that the dancers in these clubs should be punished under the guise of a tax by the SOB board.
Regarding your final sentence of your final paragraph, here’s my thoughts… and I don’t want to get all “it’s a conspiracy” — but could it
be more like “women are taking lots of money from men and this sin tax (let’s call a spade a spade) is just a way to recoup the money? I mean,
we don’t want these women to make TOO much money or becoming TOO successful, now do we?
I said this over lunch today and I’ll say it again: I wouldn’t eat at Hooters if I was starving.
Is it okay if i go there but don’t eat?
Mack, after you read what Mag has planned for you at my next doctor’s appointment, I don’t think you’ll ever have to go to Hooter’s again.
ahem! Who’s plan?
I’m bringing a film crew!
This reminds me of some years back when a guy who seemed to think I should want to go out with him suggested I join a group of people (almost all guys) that hung out at a certain all-night restaurant after bar closing time on Saturday nights, because all kinds of interesting people would come in there to eat after the bars closed. His best example, said in his most animated tone: “Usually strippers come in there when they get off shift!”
I said very loudly that I wasn’t interested, in a tone that I thought would convey to everyone present I found the idea stupid beyond belief. A bit later he tried to persuade me again, whereupon I suggest that if he wants to get his grins by ogling strippers, he should PAY them. All that got out of him was the blankest look I’ve ever seen on anyone.
And he still seemed to think that if he acted condescending mixed with aloof enough, I would go out with him.
Whatever strippers are making, it’s not enough.
i’ve eaten at a Hooter’s, once. considering the quality of the food as compared to the ridiculous prices, starvation doesn’t seem that unreasonable in comparison.
Fair enough, Ginger. Fair enough.
Nomen, it especially pisses me off that it costs so much for a burger and then they want you to pay extra for fries.