Thursday, June 11, 2015

Recommendations (and Hesitations): On the Hierarchies of an Australian Strip Club, by Sam George-Allen

"It’s hard to explain to him how it can be okay, after I’ve told him, fidgeting and angry, about the threat of harassment every time I walk somewhere alone. It’s hard to explain the weird protection that a place like the club—a man’s place, a fantasy place—provides me, with its rules and friendly security guards, protections I live without in real life. And it takes me a long time to recognize the triple reward that I gain from being willingly desirable: not just safety, but the power to remove those who threaten that safety—and the sweet compensation of a lot of money."

As a piece of writing, I really like 'On the Hierarchies of an Australian Strip Club,' by Sam George-Allen, from Issue 26 of The Lifted Brow. I'd certainly recommend reading it, regardless of your views on strip clubs. George-Allen writes beautifully, and the piece offers an interesting look into a world with which I'd guess few would have first-hand experience.

Politically, though, it makes me a little uncomfortable. George-Allen is critical of the men who frequent strip clubs, and acknowledges the ways in which it makes her own life outside the strip club more transactional. And yet this idea that the club offers women power ("they are less dancers than athletes, I realise, and wonder how many other female athletes make a thousand dollars a night") and protection (as in the quote above) recurs throughout, and it seems to ignore the way in which these clubs fit into society more broadly, that the same forces which drive strip clubs drive a culture where men harass women on the street.

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