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?