STRIPPED: INSIDE THE LIVES OF EXOTIC DANCERS by Bernadette Barton

This book is written from the perspective of an academic lesbian woman who considers different aspects of dancers lives, like their romantic relationships, their money, and their long-term plans. Barton’s interview-style research allows the voices of the women dancers to take over, which is cool. Their narration of their stories were the best parts.

I think the book could have been more conscious of race and class, especially for a sociology book. There was a lot of “just like racism…” or “just like homophobia…” and it’s like… Those categories aren’t mutually exclusive. I think specifying things like demographic in terms of location would have made the data more sound too.

But in 2006, she couldn’t have known that women would start using their personal social media accounts to advertise themselves in certain locations. The book mostly suggests that women don’t want to admit to being strippers. I’m sure that’s still true for a lot of people, but advertising on Instagram plays a role now too. That’s what Cardi B did.

Anyway, it’s not surprising that women would feel familial toward one another or that they would grow to hate men while working there. Feeling “touched out” was interesting, like when they get home they don’t always want their partner touching them. It all sounds a lot like people who just had babies: your body is sore/worn out, you’re tired, you can’t save money, you hate your partner, you can’t do it forever, and you often have no more affection to give out by the end of the day.

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