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May 22, 2006

Comments

David Thompson

"women don't rape male strippers. The man may take off his clothes for money, but he can be reasonably certain he won't be forcibly violated"

Hmmm. That's a rather bold and unwarranted declaration.

Amanda Marcotte

Insightful post. I've been in situations around male and female strippers and the former, because it's mostly silly, always makes me feel much, much stupider.

Hugo

Do you mean the latter, Amanda? Otherwise I'm slow on the uptake...

mythago

Actually, while the women aren't likely to force the male stripper to engage in intercourse, they're certainly apt to get grabby with or without his consent.

sparklegirl

There actually was a Law and Order: SVU episode in which three women raped a male stripper (and the actress who played one of the rapists later became the Assistant District Attorney on the show!). I'm not sure if that was based on anything real, but if it was, such a situation would be very rare. That doesn't mean we shouldn't take it seriously when/if it does happen (I have read about at least one instance of women raping a man, although not in the context of stripping), but it's definitely a very rare reversal of the usual sexual power dynamics between men and women, and I think you're right that in the vast majority of cases, male strippers don't have anything to fear from their female audiences, and are therefore a much less harmful phenomenon.

I think Amanda was agreeing with you in her comment--"the former" would refer to male strippers, which she listed first, and she seemed to be agreeing that watching male strippers is more a silly activity than a menacing one.

Hugo

Thanks, Sparkle, I was confusing Amanda's reference to male strippers with a male audience. Overtired me.

The Gonzman

Doesn't jibe with my experiences as a bouncer in strip clubs for about 5 years. It was a happy, happy day when I got high enough on the totem pole where I could pass on "Ladies' Night." Months would go by where the only time I had to use my spray, call the police in, or enduire being hit, bit, and scratched was when we had the male revue in there.

Sam

I once read a cross-analysis of male strippers versus female stripers that revealed a lot of interesting social tidbits. For one, men frequently go alone to female-dancer strip clubs but women do not go alone to male-dancer strip clubs.

The most interesting point was that role reversal is what's implied where men were put on display for women but it's not that simple. The costumes of women strippers are generally of power-less characters (schoolgirls, nurses, animals, secretaries, librarians) where where the men strippers are characters in positions of authority (policemen, firefighters, doctors, cowboys).

As the strip club announcer introduced women he emphasized their submissiveness and eagerness to please, but when the announcer introduced men he emphasized their 'ravaging' nature and made remarks about how they were going to make the women submit and like it. The man=powerful and woman=powerless dynamic was preserved regardless of who was on stage and who was in the audience.

Everytime I see people suggest women at strip clubs are a lot more misbehaved than men at strip clubs I'm not sure what their exact point is beyond the "man bites dog" novelty. It can't be that women are more sexually abusive of men on public display than men are of women on public display because that isn't right, but if it's true they have seen women routinely get violent with male strippers then what does that say about the standard model of stripping these women base their behaviors on that they feel such violations of strippers are acceptable?

glendenb

I’m probably coming at this topic from a very different perspective than I should be but . . .

I’m more troubled by the fact that hazing rituals include sexualized exploitation than I am by the gender of the person(s) being exploited. As I see it, the male stripper is being hired and sexually exploited but is expected to behave in ways which would embarrass and exploit the women on the team – he is expected to invade their personal space, to push them beyond their comfort zone in an in environment in which they do not feel free to say no; he will no doubt give them lap dances, he will display his body almost completely or completely and do so aggressively; the goal is to embarrass the initiates and he is paid to do so by the older members of the team. Why would women seek such sexualized shaming of other women? In the case of males being hazed why are other males exploiting them and shaming them sexually? Why are sexual exploitation and shaming important components of hazing rituals?

What if any value the older members see in such sexualized shaming? What if anything is the inherent value for the older members to shame and humiliate the younger members? Why force men into sexual display, women to view sexual display? Partly, it is a reversal of cultural norms – where women are normally sex objects not men, but partly it is about the abuse of power. The initiates do not feel free to say no, to leave the situation. In some sense, the stripper is a tool of exploitation. He/she is expected to behave in ways which would shame and embarrass the younger players. The experience is about the abuse of power, about forcing persons to submit to your control. The strippers have more power than the initiates. The stripper can return the money and leave, he/she can say, “Your money isn’t worth this,” and walk out or can state “You’ve gotten what you paid for,” and refuse additional payment and leave. The stripper is providing a service and can exercise economic initiative; he/she could even demand additional payment for additional services and time which I suspect the older members would gladly provide rather than lose face before the initiates. The initiates have no negotiating tool beyond subservience.

The hazing ritual seems to me abusive. The new members are made to feel inadequate, unprepared, unworthy as a means of enforcing social hierarchies. It becomes a cycle of exploitation and abuse in which longstanding members will consistently have gone through the abuse and so will in turn abuse incoming members. As a means of proving one’s worth to belong, it ignores actual skill, actual willingness to sacrifice for the common good and instead creates toxic bonds of shame.

bmmg39

"Lopez has it exactly backwards."

No, she has it partly wrong. You're at the other extreme. We should be walking the walk with respect to equality and stop pretending that it's better/worse when women do it.

I read that bit by Lopez a few days ago, actually, and wrote to complain (which was painful, as I agree with her a lot on another issue). I disagree wholly with her assessment that it's the job of women to babysit men (or "reform" them or whatever nicer word she uses). But I disagree just as vehemently that women who scream and shout for a man taking off his clothes is "just different" from when men do it with a woman...or that women won't violate a man's body the way men will do with a woman's...or that when women indeed do that it's not as serious a violation, or whatever.

I yield here to Gonzman's experience of Ladies' Night at the ol' strip club, and remember similar accounts of Ladies' Nights elsewhere. Don't think for a minute that women aren't going to cross the line and touch one of those guys in an inappropriate manner: do I need to recount my music camp experience? The woman who tried to grab my rear end (among others) felt her gender entitled her to that -- and, mind you, there was no alcohol or stripping involved at all. (I was putting my dinner tray back.) When a man is undressing for women in that sort of atmosphere, I'm sure there are plenty of younger than she was who feel the same sense of female entitlement.

As for the supposed rarity of women raping/sexually molesting men, it's a cycle: it doesn't get "counted" if everybody's busy telling the guy that "women can't/don't rape men" and no one will take his story seriously.

The Gonzman

Everytime I see people suggest women at strip clubs are a lot more misbehaved than men at strip clubs I'm not sure what their exact point is beyond the "man bites dog" novelty.

The point is that the slamming of men as behaving badly is its own stereotype; It's not just that women behaved a little more badly, Sam, it is that they behaved a LOT more badly. Normal nights in there, with the girls dancing, and the guys watching, was more often than not, tedious and boring. Ladies night, with neither fail nor exception, was a barely restrained riot. I occasionally had problems with a guy on the tuck rule (Tuck a dollar, get a kiss, but no hands) and never more than twice. We just gave up when it came to the women. Just gave up.

It can't be that women are more sexually abusive of men on public display than men are of women on public display because that isn't right

I have an image of three monkeys right now, See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. That's a bit of circular logic there, isn't it?

but if it's true they have seen women routinely get violent with male strippers then what does that say about the standard model of stripping these women base their behaviors on that they feel such violations of strippers are acceptable?

The female privilege of always being desirable; that when a woman comes on to a man, and he refuses, it means there is something wrong with HIM, perhaps?

TheGlimmering

The Gonzman, I'm between a rock and a hard place because I see your point about "the female privilege of always being desirable" on the one hand, and it's a matter I'd love to address, but on the other hand it's simply not the case. What I've seen in my people watching is not women receiving the privilege of being desirable, but men being denied the right to not want sex for whatever reason. When a woman comes onto a man, there is enormous social pressure for the man in question to play the stud. If a man refuses a direct come on, it's as if he must put the woman down by saying that she's undesirable or else his masculinity is questioned. Frankly, some women do respond poorly ("what, are you gay?"), so do some men. Maybe it's because men are more often turned down then women, but you rarely hear about a man being beaten or attacked for turning someone down while you do hear of women being attacked for it. Essentially, all I'm saying is that the onus of this particular gender role dynamic is on men rather than on women: "if you don't have sex every chance you get, you're not a man." Women don't have the same message at play, although we are exhorted to be perpetually desirable, we're never told that we're perpetually desireable. (On the other hand, we are told that if a woman wanted to get laid on any given night, she could. No mention is made of whether that's on the first or thirteenth approach, however.)

Honestly, I think the "justification" for violating strippers has nothing at all to do with sex, as evidenced by the behavior across the board regardless the sex of the performer or audience. It's about money. If you pay someone, you feel like you have some right to control them to a certain extent. When someone volunteers to water your lawn, you take whatever they give and you invite them in for a drink on the porch. When you hire someone to water your lawn, it's never good enough, you increase your demands, you try to lower the price, and you generally don't invite them in. People of a certain civility will behave decently in either situation, but most people don't bring their best behavior to a strip club. Granted, the violations of strippers are more likely to be of a sexual nature because you hired them for a sexual purpose, you feel as though you have a claim to their sexuality, but that's not much different from abusing a day laborer's strength because you feel you've paid for it. It's the buffet mentality: I paid for it so I'm going to get my money's worth.

The Gonzman

Glimmering, the problem is what I first ran into in High School - even though I was far from innocent or virginal, I had the make put on me by one of the popular girls when I finally made varsity basketball. And I had about as much desire for her as I would for a cobra. She made my skin crawl. She was a scheming, conniving, and thoroughly dishonest human being; even though she was most definately what wouild be called "hot" today - no. No.

I was not mean to her. I just told her I didn't have time to get involved with anyone. Trying to be diplomatic, tactful...and it was HER that went ballistic and started the "He must be gay" crap. To save her fragile little ego.

Vacula

Gonz, Glimmering said some women do that. She/He is not disagreeing with you there.

"Frankly, some women do respond poorly ("what, are you gay?"), so do some men."

The Gonzman

The thing is, by definition, "You don't want me ergo you must be gay" can only come from women. And at the higher end of the "hotness" scale, the more common this is - precisely because these women don't typically get turned down, and do not know how to deal with it. They may be used to dense guys not picking up hints, but when it comes down to them outright propositioning a man, it's just unthinkable to them. And while few are stupid enough to physically assault me, I have recieved many furious responses, that I have no doubt would have been assaults had they been able to get away with it. Yes, believe it or not, I don't fall into bed with anything that has breasts and breathes.

I don't know of a single man who I couldn't say "No, too many issues" or something similar and be called "gay" or anything. And that's not just my uintimate circle of friends, either

bmmg39

This, I believe, can also be traced to Occam's Razor: everyone is unique, but it isn't a matter of women being like x and men being like y. The women who expected you to put out obviously get their world view from sitcoms and stand-up comedians. But the real world isn't like that.

michael savell

men receive sex signals through their eyes,that is why they pay to go to see strippers,normally there are enough of the heavy mob around to prevent trouble and I don't remember reading a lot of accounts depicting violence at these venues.Men are the ones who pay and men are the ones who are exploited.
Women go for a laugh but always in larger groups and ,because of this
tend to take liberties.
Alcohol is always the problem and strippers themselves should not be drinking while working,they get carried away and can't undo the harm they have done,but again it's unusual and the whole thing relies on management doing it's job which is to make sure things don't boil over.
Feminists would dearly love to see the end of "sex workers",help them succeed,by all means,but lets also have an end to all commercial sex commodities,see how many women you put out of work.
Personally I think you are all being spoilsports.

Thomus

The costumes of women strippers are generally of power-less characters (schoolgirls, nurses, animals, secretaries, librarians) where where the men strippers are characters in positions of authority (policemen, firefighters, doctors, cowboys.

costaricainvestment

The lingerie is sexy, especially to attract men by their

delicacy and the variety of styles, colors and beautiful

scenery.

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