Valley Advocate Website Announces 2008’s “Best” Adult Entertainment Club; Holsopple’s Inside Report on Stripping (explicit language)

If you visit the Valley Advocate website today and click through to their “Best of 2008” page, you’ll see it leads off with “Adult entertainment club”, partly because this category starts with “A” and partly because the Advocate considers this to be just another leisure option, on par with “Art gallery” or “Charity event”…

Within the “Best of 2008” issue itself, the Advocate uncritically relays that the Mardi Gras strip club offers a “convergence of elegance and energy mixed with sophisticated and sensual decor.”

As our readers know from our May 4 post, “Profitable Exploits: Lap Dancing in the UK”, this “elegant” framing is common in the strip club industry:

All clubs promised ‘luxury’ in their advertising, and appealed to potential clientele as a ‘better class’ of person than those who frequent strip clubs, for example, by using the term ‘gentlemen’s club’…

All club owners denied that the lap dancing business was part of the
sex industry, but all, without exception, accused other club owners of
running disreputable clubs offering sexual services. Their own clubs,
in contrast, were seen as part of the leisure industry…

For a deeper level of insight than you’ll find in the Advocate, here are excerpts from a study (PDF) conducted by someone who stripped for 13 years…

Strip Club Testimony
by Kelly Holsopple

The Freedom and Justice Center for Prostitution Resources:
A Program of the Volunteers of America of Minnesota

Stripclubs are popularly promoted as providing harmless entertainment and as places where
respectful men go to watch and talk to women (Reed 1997). Stripclub customers are described as normal
men who use stripclubs to avoid adultery and therefore find a safe outlet for their sexual desires in
balance with their marital commitments (Reed 1997)…

Regardless of the agreements claiming
independent contractor status, clubs maintain enormous control over the women. The club controls the
schedule and hours, requires strippers to pay rental fees, tip support staff large amounts, and even sets
the price of table dances and private dances. Clubs have specific rules about costuming and even dictate
the sequence of stripping and nudity… At nude clubs, it is common for the performers to be shaved
clean, giving them an adolescent and even childlike appearance…

Women are fined heavily by club management: $1 per minute for
being late, as much as $100 for calling in sick, and other arbitrary amounts for “talking back” to
customers or staff, using the telephone without permission, and touching stage mirrors…

Despite the stripclub’s representation of a dancing job as flexible, strippers attest that their
relationship with the club becomes all consuming and everything associated with being a stripper
interferes with living a normal life. And despite the common perception that a woman can dance her
way through school, many strippers report that their jobs take over their lives. Long and late hours,
fatigue, drug and alcohol problems, and out of town bookings make it difficult to switch gears… Furthermore, stripping usually involves prostitution (Boles and Garbin 1974; Forsyth and Deshotels 1997; Prewitt 1989; Ronai and Ellis 1989; Thompson and Harrod 1992)…

Strippers at
gentlemen’s clubs are further informed by management that they are not allowed to buy their own
drinks, that they have to be sitting with customers, and can never turn down a drink, even when their
drinks are full…

Some stages are elevated runways so narrow that strippers say that cannot get away from
customers on each side touching them…

On stage, some women’s thoughts wander, while others’ focus on angry desperation. “I
daydream about nothing in particular to pass the time of 12 minutes.” “I’m thinking about how good I
look in the mirrors and how good I feel in dance movements.” “I tell myself to smile.” “I think about
getting high and that I am making money to get high.” “I am giving these guys every chance to be
decent, so that I don’t have to be afraid of them.” “I am filled with disdain for the customers who do not
tip, but sit and watch and direct you to do things for no money.” “I think of how cheap these fuckers are,
what bills I need to pay.”

A variety of private dances are promoted in strip clubs…

Lap dancing requires the woman to straddle the man’s lap and grind against him until he
ejaculates in his pants. A variation involves the woman dancing between his legs while he slides down
in his chair so that the dancer’s thighs are rubbing his crotch as she moves…

During private dances women are conscientious about their boundaries and safety. “I don’t want
him to touch me, but I am afraid he will say something violent if I tell him ‘no’.” “I was thinking about
doing prostitution because that’s when customers would proposition me.” “I could only think about how
bad these guys smell and try to hold my breath.” “I spent the dance hyper vigilant to avoiding their
hands, mouths, and crotches.” “We were allowed to place towels on the guys’ laps, so it wasn’t so bad.”
“I don’t remember because it was so embarrassing.”

…The greatest response to questions regarding preparation for work was “drink”. Women drink
while getting ready to go to work and they drink while doing their hair and make-up once in the dressing

One hundred percent of the eighteen women in the survey report being physically abused in the
stripclub. The physical abuse ranged from three to fifteen times with a mean of 7.7 occurrences over the
course of their involvement in stripping. One hundred percent of the eighteen women in this study report
sexual abuse in the stripclub. The sexual abuse ranged from two to nine occurrences with a mean of 4.4
occurrences over the course of their involvement in stripping. One hundred percent of the women report
verbal harassment in the stripclub. The verbal abuse ranged from one to seven occurrences with a mean
of 4.8 occurrences over the course of their involvement in stripping. One hundred percent of the women
report being propositioned for prostitution. Seventy eight percent of the women were stalked by
someone associated with the stripclub with a range of one to seven incidents. Sixty one percent of the
women report that someone associated with the stripclub has attempted to sexually assault her with a
range of one to eleven attempts. Not only do women suffer the abuse they experience, all of women in
the survey witnessed these things happen to other strippers in the clubs. The overwhelming trend for
violence against women in stripclubs was committed by customers of the establishments. Stripclub
owners, managers, assistant managers, and the staff of bartenders, music programmers or disc jockeys,
bouncers, security guards, floorwalkers, doormen, and valet were significantly less involved in violence
against the women. According to the women in this study, almost all of the perpetrators suffered no
consequence whatsoever for their actions…

Customers spit on women, spray beer, and flick cigarettes at them. Strippers are pelted with ice,
coins, trash, condoms, room keys, pornography, and golf balls. Men pitched a live guinea pig and a dead
squirrel at two women in the survey. Some women have been hit with cans and bottles thrown from the
audience. Customers pull women’s hair, yank them by the arm or ankle, rip their costumes, and try to
pull their costumes off. Women are commonly bitten, licked, slapped, punched, and pinched…

Stripclub customers frequently grab women’s breasts, buttocks, and genitals. Customers often
attempt and succeed at penetrating strippers vaginally and anally with their fingers, dollar bills, and
bottles. Customers expose their penises, rub their penises on women, and masturbate in front of the
women. Women in this study consistently connected lap dances to the sexual abuse they suffered in the
club. “That’s the first thing men try to do when they get close to you and always in a lap dance.”
Stripclub owners, managers, and staff also expect women to masturbate them and some have forced
intercourse on strippers…

Customers, owners, managers, and staff alike engage in harassing name-calling. Women are
continually called “cunt, “whore”, “pussy”, “slut”, and “bitch”. Women in this study charge that men in
the stripclub called them other demeaning or degrading names like ugly, looser, fat, pregnant, boy,
stupid, crack, slash, snatch, beaver, dog, dyke, lezzie, brown eye, hooters, junkie, crackhead, and shit.

Forty four percent of the women report that men associated with the stripclub have threatened to
hurt them physically. These women report from three to 150 threats during their involvement in
stripping. Threats range from verbal threats of slaps, ass whippings, and rapes to physical postures of
punching and back hand slapping. “When I wouldn’t let a customer grab on me, he would call me a bitch
and threaten to kick my ass or rape me.” “When a customer grabs and the woman and the girl takes
action, they threaten”.

Women say that prostitution is influenced and suggested by management. One woman new to
stripping was dumbfounded at how little money she was making taking her clothes off, so she asked the
manager for his advice on increasing tips. He suggested turning tricks and said he could help her set up
dates. Management sets up tricks, says it is good for business, and obligates women to turn over money
from prostitution to the club. Women say prostitution is promoted even though owners tell women they
would be punished if they turn tricks…

Women disclosed that they were recruited into prostitution through stripping. Although
the strip industry markets stripping as something other than prostitution, some women consider
prostitution an extension of stripping and stripping a form of prostitution. Pimps season women first
with stripping and then turn them out into brothels or escort services for more money. Tricks, sugar
daddies, pimps, and drug dealers in the stripclub seek to engage women in prostitution. Another young
woman said that soon after she became involved in stripping, a pimp who posed as a customer in the
stripclub manipulated her into an escort service by promising that she could make more money in less
time simply by accompanying businessmen to dinner. She agreed in order to feed her crack addiction
and as her addiction increased she slid down from gentlemen’s clubs to escort service to brothel to street
and crack house prostitution…

Women report that they have to have the right attitude to make
money (Ronai 1992). This ordinarily was described as being drunk, high or numb (Forsyth and
Deshotels 1997). Others feel it required tolerance. “The ability to ignore customers for just being there.”
…Women in stripping feel it doesn’t take much skill to be a stripper (Forsyth and Deshotels 1997;
McCaghy and Skipper 1970). “It would be nice to say women need dance talent but it’s not true.” “Tits,
pussy, and blonde hair is all it takes.”
Instead they referred to dissociation to abuse. “It takes a
willingness to do it…anybody can do it.” “It takes somebody who can shut themselves off and be really
fake.” “…the ability to take a lot of abuse.”
…Women in stripping want a union to protect strippers, decent
working conditions, fair treatment, and an end to cruelty by management. Lastly, strippers think that
women and girls don’t know what they are getting into when they first start dancing…

The women in this study condemn the men associated with stripping and the impact stripping has
on them as the worst parts of stripping. Women do not like the way customers treat them (Thompson
and Harred 1992). Furthermore they say they do not like talking to customers, asking men for money,
and resent having to have to deal with them at all. They find customers irritating because they are drunk
and have negative attitudes towards women. Women characterize customers as scum, psycho mama’s
boys, rapists and child molesters, old perverted men, idiots, ass-holes, and pigs. Strippers are largely
disgusted by customers and describe them as pitiful and pathetic, stupid and ignorant, sick, controlling
and abusive. “They smell so sour, they breathe very heavy and kind of wheeze when women are near.”
“They are weak abusers who have to subordinate women and girls to feel like a man.” “I see my dad.
They’re old enough to be my father.” “Yuck. I am repulsed by the sight, sound, smell, and touch of
them.” “I’m embarrassed for them.”
The women offer insightful evaluations of stripclub customers.
They say that these men do not know how to communicate. Moreover, they perceive that customers are
out of control, have power and abuse problems, and will do anything to degrade women because they
hate women. Strippers also state that customers want a free show and think women are cheap. In
contrast, a few women positively perceived some customers as nice and added they are thankful to those
who tip well.

Women in this study undoubtedly denounce stripclub owners as pimps and “glorified pimps” and
maintain that owners misuse power and are sick. The women also label managers as pimps citing that
they mistreat women, that they make every attempt to take money from the women, and that they are
sick because they are affiliated with the industry and know the harm they do. Strippers accuse managers
of being threatened and jealous of the money women make and that women are just a dollar to
management. Finally, women refer to staff music programmers, doormen, bartenders, bouncers,
floorwalkers, and valet as wanna-be pimps because they always want to be tipped. The women see staff
as derelicts who can’t get a job anywhere else and who think they are cool for working in a stripclub.
Strippers perceive staff as creepy and disrespectful and as “looky-lous” who just want to look at naked
women for free. Women criticize staff by pointing out that at least owners are making big money. Few
women had positive responses, but those that did felt they got along well with staff and had no real hard

Women in this study expressed mostly negativism regarding their experiences in stripping with
themes of abuse, deception, drugs, and low self-esteem…

Above all, women in stripping reject the popular image of stripping and clarify the common misperceptions
about stripclubs. “That no one touches you, women enjoy it, and it’s okay for men to go
there.” “That women actually get to wear a costume and actually get to dance.” “That we get sexually
aroused doing this.” “That men are there to have harmless fun, when they are really there to abuse
women.” “That it is a big party and that the women want to be there for some reason other than money,
like sex or to meet men or because they are nudists or exhibitionists.” “That you are doing things you
want to be doing.” “That they are not degrading us because girls always are justifying it with college.”
“That it is not prostitution.” “That it is glamorous, fast money, easy work, way to get ahead.”

…The verbal harassment, physical and sexual abuse, and financial exploitation
women suffer in stripclubs is unparalleled in any other legitimate workplace.

Rather than expose this industry for what it is, the Advocate has decided to party with the exploiters and the abusers. Let editor Tom Vannah know how you feel about this.

See also:

Ask the Valley Advocate’s New Owner to Drop the Sex Ads
Dear Mr. Brown:

Congratulations on your recent purchase of the
Valley Advocate. I hope you will take this opportunity to free the
Advocate of the ads for escort services and adult enterprises that
compromise its progressive mission. New York Press took a similar step
this summer after being acquired by Manhattan Media…

The Truth About Lap Dancing: A Performer Speaks Out
The key fact is that everyone knows they can make more money by
breaking the rules. In a culture where you are literally selling yourself
for cash, and you are working on commission, then you’d have to
work very hard indeed to stop people going for extra money if they
know they can make it.

Since there are no incentives to encourage dancers not to break the
rules, and the customers are always prepared to pay more to get
more, then licensing terms will always be broken…

Lap dancers don’t have employment rights like everyone else. They
are self employed so they aren’t paid a wage, they don’t get holiday
pay, sick pay, all the other things which people are entitled to in other
jobs. Instead they work like prostitutes, they only get money if they
get a man. And they will get as much out of each man as they can.
And unlike enforcing licensing terms, when it came to the regulations
enforced on the women, the management was absolute: you went on
the pole or you were fined £20. You would then be called to the pole
again and if you missed that you would be fined another £20. And so

Getting drunk was considered by many to be the aim of the night as
well as making money. If you had managed to get drunk on other
people’s money then you had done well…

There is still an horrendous power imbalance between the genders.
Lap dancing clubs feed and breed that power imbalance. Lap dancing
is the opposite of empowering…

I now realise that lap dancing is one of the hardest things I ever did. I
found it tough, soul destroying and it had begun to strip me of my
humanity. I began to see everyone in terms of how much I could get
out of them. I had begun to really hate men, to be bored in their
company. I stopped caring about people around me because I was
surrounded by this atmosphere of constant mistrust.

Springfield Republican Reports on Strip Clubs and the Mafia
“The individual stated that the owners of these
businesses do not want to pay Bruno, but that Bruno was
pressuring them to pay this money through intimidation of
organized crime,” the source reported. The affidavit
identifies the alleged payers as the Mardis Gras on Taylor
Street, Teddy B’s strip club on Worthington Street, two
other unnamed strip clubs and the Red Rose restaurant on
Main Street…

“The presence of two subjects inside the Mardi Gras
on weekend nights serves to represent the interests of (LCN)
in New York…”

Carolyn McKenzie: Undercover with the Viewing Booths; Disease, Intoxicants Prevalent Among Strip Dancers (explicit language)

Former Stripper Tells Easthampton Hearing about the Life: It Stinks

CNN: Anna Nicole Smith, 1967-2007
Smith was working as a topless dancer in Houston, Texas, when she made her first appearance in Playboy…

[Larry] King said Smith reminded people of late movie star Marilyn Monroe. Monroe died at 36 of a drug overdose in 1962…

Strip Poker Men’s Club: Women’s Lib to Blame for Men’s Going to Strip Clubs

Strip Club Tips: How to Savor an Exquisite Blend of Fantasies, Lies, Exploitation and Despair (explicit language)
For a stripper’s perspective, we present a selection from 37 Stripper Rants, as posted in March to gripe site Ofuzi…

Strip Clubs: Dancers Pay to Work There

Profitable Exploits: Lap Dancing in the UK

“Waitressing, I cleaned the floors and I own a box of men’s
wedding rings that I found on the floor.”

The Science Behind Pornography Addiction (explicit language)
[Performers in the sex industry] have high rates of substance abuse,
typically alcohol and cocaine, depression, borderline personality
disorder which is a particularly serious disorder and dissociative
identity disorder which used to be called multiple personality
disorder. The experience I find most common among the performers is
that they have to be drunk, high or dissociated in order to go to work.
Their work environment is particularly toxic. One study on strippers
indicated that they were likely to be punched, slapped, grabbed, called
cunt and whore and to be followed home or stalked…

Prostitution: “It is high time to expose and challenge the liberal consensus”
…In the book, Matthews describes most women he has met on the streets as
“extremely desperate, damaged, and disorganised”. “Many of these women,
who are supposed to be ‘working’, are obviously off their faces with
drugs and drink,” he says. “Which other ‘profession’ would that be
tolerated in?”

Ex-Porn Star Shelley Lubben Talks about Days on the Set: Tedious, Intoxicated, Painful, Risky
While waiting around, jaded porn performers usually end up in the rest
rooms with bottles of alcohol and lines of speed or outside in their
cars for a heroin fix or gathered in the back yard with other actors to
smoke marijuana…

I tried to kill myself. I swallowed several bottles of prescription
pills and sliced my wrists but it seemed no matter what I did, I
couldn’t die. So I turned off the pain and became a lifeless zombie.
Then there were times the pain and trauma would surface and I’d throw
fits of rage, yelling and breaking things. I was mad at God, hated
myself and hated my parents. Only alcohol and drugs could soothe my

Jenna Jameson’s Tragic Backstory; Seeking Virgins with Paris Hilton
…Jameson had acquired a
devastating crystal-meth (amphetamine) habit. It nearly killed her.
Rescued by a friend, she was sent back to her father to recuperate: she
was so emaciated that she had to be put on the plane in a wheelchair,
and when he came to meet her at the airport, he didn’t recognise her.

Raffaëla Anderson and the French Porno Industry (explicit language)
…Raffaëla Anderson explains that, as a teenager, she had an admiration
for Dutch porn actress Zara Whites, whom she was seeing on TV. Raffaëla
was seeing a participation in the porno industry as a good way to earn
money easily to be able to flee her abusive familial environment, and
acquire a desired autonomy. However, she did not expect the difficult
and abusive situation she was going to find herself in, inside of that
industry. She was taking drugs and drinking alcohol to be able to cope
with the “job”…

Interview with Ex-Porn Star Traci Lords: Abused as a Child; High on the Set;
Power, Not Arousal; Bad Pay

KING: So in many of the porn films, you’d be stoned while doing them?

LORDS: Oh, yes. As often as possible. I was stoned for about three
years, from 15 to 18, almost constantly. I was suicidal. I was wild…

Gail Dines Presents: Pornography and Pop Culture (explicit)
In pornography, women are

  • cum dumpsters
  • fucktubes
  • slut sandwiches
  • m.i.l.f.’s
  • wet cunts
  • fresh teen ass
  • horny old broads
  • hot slits
  • slanteyed sluts
  • naughty schoolgirls
  • tight pink pussies
  • stupid hoes
  • naughty nymphos
  • big booty ghetto girls
  • drunk bar sluts
  • cameltoes
  • pathetic bitches
  • little hoochies
  • squirting skanks
  • kung pao pussies

Herbert, Brooks and Osayande on Misogyny, Money and
Power;’s War on Women and Blacks (explicit)


Dumb Blonde Bitches (24hr)

Extreme Audition #6
happens when you have a tiny little blonde walk into your studio? Well
a lot of fun for Michael Kahn. This pretty little thing was in tears by
the end of this video. She had no tolerance for pain and so it was
great fun to beat her little ass.

New Blood
Hold on tight and smile Bitch! The only difference between a filthy cunt whore on the street and a porn star is the camera.

Pain #26
Can you maintain ninety minutes of
masochistic mayhem?! Watch today’s most worthless degenerates line up
for abuse and debasement. On the street. In private. Female pigs have
been stripped of all dignity. Listen to their wretched screams. Watch
their distorted pained faces. Then jerk off to the brutal inhumanity of
it all!

Young Dumb And Full Of Cum
The Hottest In Hardcore! They’re Cute And Have A Mind Like A 20 Watt Bulb!…

Big Black Ass Next Door #16
Tag on box cover: “NAPPY-HEADED HOS!”
Homeboys dog the bitches out on camera. Watch as these hoes get tricked into sucking dick and giving pussy for free.

Ghetto Booty Vol. 6
Fast girls.. Fast money…
Nowadays girls are bout making their money anyway they can and we got a
whole bunch to spend but only if she dont mind givin it up in front of
our little camera of course. So we found 5 bout it freaks that were
bout gettin their paper which was cool because they are going to need
it to wipe up all the nut!

Porn Actresses: Most Careers Are Short, Few Are Lucrative (explicit language)
Although the industry is dependent on fans for survival, many of the
respondents reported a fairly negative image of the imagined viewer…
Ironically, then, actresses and actors are motivated in part to receive
recognition from a group they know little about and often disparage. In
addition, they reported little pride in the products they produce. Like
most artifacts in the “sleaze industry”, porn is disposable,
mass-produced, fungible, and easily forgotten… Unlike the “straight”
industry, actors and actresses are paid a flat fee for their
performances, and receive no royalties for successful projects.