Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chased Women

"What's the difference between an orthodox Muslim woman and a stripper?"

No, this is not a setup for some terrible joke (for once), it's a serious question. The more you think about it, stripping and veiling are like two sides of the same coin.

Both assume a certain inherent tendency for men to ogle or objectify women's bodies.

Both presume that the way a woman dresses is responsible for deflecting or attracting that inherent masculine gaze.

Both strippers and hijabis are presumed, popularly, to be exploited, oppressed, perpetuating patriarchy, or suffering from a false consciousness. (And, I would argue that in several cases, both have actually subverted the power of the masculine gaze by controlling it themselves - either by veiling or charging a fee.)

As someone who has both worn a hijab and clear heels, I can say that the experience of each is a dramatically embodied one. Just as strippers pick gown cuts that minimize belly fat or colors that would look appealing on stage, hijabis hem (often times, literally) and haw over just what length tunic is feasible over jeans or a long skirt to conform to their interpretation of appropriate Islamic dress code.

The sad thing is, I've heard enough hijabis throw around words like "ho" and "skank," and enough strippers talk about the barbaric Islamic oppression of women, for either group to realistically - and substantially - get together to realize that their marginalization, stigmatization, and even their sources of empowerment are more similar than they'd realize.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hated Hiatus

I've been on a short leave from work for personal reasons, which is likely to extend to a total of 2 months away from the clubs! It's been 2 weeks and already, since I started dancing two years ago, this is the longest I've gone without getting naked for money. It fucking sucks! I keep trying to justify to myself that everyone needs time off, and that this will give me time to do schoolwork, socialize, take care of my body. But guess what? I do those fucking things all the time, AND I get to strip/make money/have fun at work.

Being away from work is strange. I looked down the other day and saw something I haven't seen in a long time: pubes! I thought Bush's term was over, but nope! Shorn muff, I mean, shore'nuff, it's back!!

I had sort of a 'working lunch' with Irish Gold yesterday. He gave me a nice chunk of change to meet him in the real world (movie, followed by lunch and beer), since he can't meet me in the club these days. I generally don't go out with customers, but I'm starting to think that if the customer is a) attractive, b) not-sociopathic, and c) willing to pay for my time so we don't lose 'client' status, then why not? Okay, several reasons: 1) They may think it's the first step toward paid or unpaid sex. 2) Now that they can see you in the real world, they may not want to see you at the club anymore. 3) For the nice/charming customers you have to dejectedly turn down for dates, it's sort of hard to transition into the "yeah, I'll meet you for coffee. Wanna know my rates?" conversation. But him and I had a good time, and there was no pressure for anything beyond seeing me. Then again, he's decidedly "less sexual than most guys," according both to him and my assessment of him, which may be why it genuinely seemed that he just wanted to hang.

Regardless, it isn't the same as working at the club. This might be the first job that I both love and am good at; also, this is the first time since age 14 that I've been jobless.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I'm pumped! One of my blog posts will be read tonight at the Red Umbrella Diaries event tonight! Check it out - from what I've read, Audacia Ray's work is pretty awesome.