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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, February 05, 2023
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It’s time to de-stigmatize the stripper

Research papers, lab write-ups and hundred-page reading assignments ⁠— as college students assume immense responsibilities, “dropping out and becoming a stripper” always remains an option. The facetious remark voiced by many may appear harmless, providing a needed moment of comedic relief, yet there is a fundamental problem in correlating failure with being a stripper. 

Our society has shunned the female-dominated stripper industry for years, labeling the community as crooked for exploiting women and their bodies. Yet instead of sympathizing with dancers, those employed in the industry are likewise disgraced.

To many, the idea that anyone would willingly choose a career in erotic dancing is unfathomable. Dancers have instead been cast-off as broken and raunchy. 

Seemingly, the most widely held critique with the industry revolves around the idea that these dancers are dressing provocatively to capitalize on their bodies for profit. Simply doing so makes those employed in the industry “dirty,” and the job in itself somehow less worthy of respect than other occupations. 

If the #MeToo movement and ensuing events like that of Denim Day have taught our society anything, it is that there will always be people who view women and their bodies as an object. Females are disproportionately sexualized within the media and relentlessly sexually harassed in everyday occurrences. 

Finding a way to profit from this disturbing truth does not make these dancers floozies, it makes them empowered. So long as women are forced to endure society’s disproportionate over-sexualization of their appearance, why not capitalize on the male gaze. Good for these dancers for profiting off the patriarchy. 

Another common assumption is that those employed within the industry represent the “rebellious, young and uneducated type.” On the contrary, 1 in 3 erotic dancers are simultaneously putting themselves through college. These are not burnouts. These are highly driven women striving for success. 

College tuition and subsequent student loans can be a crippling financial burden forcing many aspiring students to take on part-time jobs — or worse yet — put off college altogether. Erotic dancing pays substantially above minimum wage, with the median earnings averaging at $25 an hour. For a woman without prior job experience, stripping can very well be the highest paying acquirable occupation.  

Recognizing this truth and joining the industry should not induce disrespect. Recognizing this truth and joining the industry should be applauded as a wise financial decision.

So long as there remains this relentless fixation with women’s bodies, why not profit from it? In my opinion, I would much rather my future daughter use her god-given gifts to perform and make an income than solicit faulty products in a period scheme or become a corrupt profit-driven political figure — professions that at the surface are more “respectable.”

As a society, we need to evaluate the reasoning behind this long held-stigma. It is time to welcome this occupation, not degrade it. Exotic dancers are people and people need to — in no exception to any other job — pay the bills, put food on the table and provide for loved ones.

Em-J Krigsman is an Opinion Editor for The Daily Cardinal. She is a sophomore studying Political Science and Journalism. Do you think strippers are stigmatized? Send all comments to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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Em-J Krigsman

Em-J is an Opinion Editor for The Daily Cardinal, and is also a member of the Editorial Board.

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