Hugo Schwyzer: “A Note on Homosociality and Strip Clubs”

We recommend Hugo Schwyzer’s 12/1/09 article, “Bonding through revulsion and desire: a note on homosociality and strip clubs”. A few excerpts:

Homosociality is the notion that for American men in particular, the approval of other males is of paramount concern, even more sought after than validation from women…

Men in our society, as countless scholars of gender have pointed out, are socialized to find particular delight and meaning in activities from which women are excluded, or which most women find repugnant and objectionable…

The effectiveness of strip clubs as a homosocial bonding strategy is thus linked to two things: the shared sense the male patrons have that their wives and mothers disapprove of their being there, and the opportunity to establish their credentials as “red-blooded, straight American guys” by sharing the experience of objectifying women’s bodies…

See also:

Ad in the 12/3/09 Valley Advocate:

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

Strip Poker Men’s Club: Women’s Lib to Blame for Men’s Going to Strip Clubs
On June 24, the Strip Poker Men’s Club [explicit link] straight-out blamed women’s lib for men’s going to strip clubs. We quote:

Man’s Perfect Excuse for Visiting Strip Clubs

…Over the past 30 years women have encroached on just about every professional field that was considered previously a mans domain. In past times man used to be able to come home to a lovely, devoted and sweet wife that looked after his needs, realizing that the man earned the crust, and was laboring tirelessly 6 days per week. He returned home from a hard days work, his food was on the table, the house clean, the children patiently and obediently waiting his return and swept off to bed in the early hours of the evening, allowing the man to enjoy some of the remaining moonlight hours with his indulging wife.

But something changed…

Women became tired of waiting at home, cleaning the baby’s nappies and ironing her husband’s clothes day-in and day-out, and for young women joining the workforce in the mid 1980’s their course had already been set, they were determined not to tread in the same steps as their battling mums had done before them.

Men lost all control, and life, as we knew it; was under-going an irreversible change.

These days for men that are married, come home to an un-kept and generally empty home, their wife or partner is also out at work and often returns home later than the average male, pursues the corporate ladder and excuse the pun, like a bitch on heat. The male picks up the children from day-care, cooks the meal, does the laundry and patiently waits for his partner to return and in some sick twist of fate still somehow falls into to some outdated statistical category that says that men still do little around the home!

Well it didn’t take long for men (married, single or repeatedly divorced) to realize that they now truly are holding the short end of the stick.

What was man going to do?

There is something about the atmosphere of a Strip Club, the way in which women strut their stuff on stage and not breaking eye contact is almost an animalistic approach that not only attracts men sexually but because of the eye contact that most women have mastered to enable to do their job well, it seems to offer men what they are so desperately in need off and they haven’t been able to get from today’s modern woman, “attention”…

So there you have it, no need to feel guilty, it’s one of life’s small escapes, the last bastion of the male domain, enjoy it!

As Andrew Sullivan notes, there are valid reasons why some men feel dissatisfied with today’s society. Adult entertainment, however, is a poor way to respond to this, is a distraction from seeking better solutions, and creates new problems.

Sullivan: [A]s our economy becomes less physical and more cerebral, as women slowly supplant men in many industries, as income inequalities grow and more highly testosteroned blue-collar men find themselves shunted to one side, we will have to find new ways of channeling what nature has bequeathed us. I don’t think it’s an accident that in the last decade there has been a growing focus on a muscular male physique in our popular culture, a boom in crass men’s magazines, an explosion in violent computer games or a professional wrestler who has become governor. These are indications of a cultural displacement, of a world in which the power of testosterone is ignored or attacked, with the result that it re-emerges in cruder and less social forms. Our main task in the gender wars of the new century may not be how to bring women fully into our society, but how to keep men from seceding from it, how to reroute testosterone for constructive ends, rather than ignore it for political point-making.
“Waitressing, I cleaned the floors and I own a box of men’s wedding rings that I found on the floor.”
I went back to the strip bars to make money. I cannot tell you the lie and the fantasy that it is for men. Waitressing, I cleaned the floors and I own a box of men’s wedding rings that I found on the floor…

The degradation and inferiority and humiliation of being presented as two tits and a hole for entertainment was not as bad as the sexual harassment I received from the management of these places. Customers are not allowed to touch you, but management can and does. You cannot complain to the Labor Board because they say you put yourself there willingly, and usually it’s under the table. I felt worthless…

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. Not surprisingly, these women often work with bodyguards. This live form of pornography causes violence and the customers receiving these Permission-Giving Beliefs become carriers of these beliefs back to their homes, onto their jobs, into the street, onto the school yard. There they encounter women and children who do not have bodyguards.