Strippers have been around for centuries, although they went by a different name years ago, it all boils down to the same line of work. But where does the controversy lie?
I remember being around 10 years old and I was watching TV with my dad. A lady was in the bedroom with her robe on while a man was in the room. I knew this was wrong because my dad said that you can't take off your clothes in front of boys until you are married. So that's when I asked the question my dad felt forced to answer. He said and I quote, "girls only dance for men with no clothes on when they don't have a father to love them." For the next 20 years, I believed that to be true until recently. I realized that society has made up this image for strippers. They sleep with multiple men, they have STDs, they have multiple kids and don't know who the father is, they're hooked on drugs, and blah blah blah. Being the open-minded person I am, I have come to know a few strippers over the years and I found a lot of these allegations to be untrue.
I was listening to Amber Rose podcast a few months ago, and one of the topics was stripping. We all know that MUVA is a former stripper herself, and she is constantly showing love to the women who still grace the industry. But one thing that Amber said was that she didn't strip because she had low self-esteem, she did it because that is something that she wanted to do. And society finds something wrong with this, but as soon as a man gets married, they hire a stripper, as do the women. Girls night out in Vegas, strippers! Guys night out in Vegas, strippers! So basically we have three types of people in this world, the ones that hate strippers, the ones that glorify them, and the ones like me that aren't bothered one way or another.
But what if I told you that there are strippers who actually strip to pay for college? This is what changes the game slightly. Think about the millions of Americans (including myself) who are in debt because of student loans. Like me, imagine being told by your schools financial aid office with only 18 more credits to go and just two terms, that you have run out of aid!! To be honest, if I didn't have 3 children to raise, swinging from a pole at 2 in the morning doesn't sound like such a bad idea. Now don't get me wrong, I have two beautiful daughters who I would prefer not to engage in such a lifestyle, while although a personal choice, can be a dangerous profession. But if it is used only as a tool to get you to the next level in life, then go for it. As I mentioned in a previous blog, not all of us come from a background where our parents were able to provide for years extending beyond high school graduation. So I have to side with MUVA in this situation, some women indulge in adult entertainment, not for self-esteem issues, but for financial issues or just pure enjoyment.
I personally don't believe that women who work in the adult entertainment industry necessarily think any less of themselves than a labor and delivery nurse of 20 years that feels inferior to the delivery doctor whose only been in practice for 5 years. It's all based on perspective. And that's what we as people need to start doing, putting things in perspective. If lap dances keeps you out of debt, then what harm is it doing? After all it is legal. So who are we to judge? Is it the women who are slightly envious because they don't have the courage to get up on that stage and dance their way out of debt that are complaining? Is is the women who are afraid their man won't come home after a night at the strip club that are complaining? Well honey, if that's the case, you have far deeper issues than a private dance from a stripper.
Bottom line is, I wish women, especially black women, would get out of this thinking that if someone is doing something different from you, that makes them less than what you are. We all can't be the same thing, if that were the case, there would be a million Beyonce's running around this earth and Beyonce wouldn't be who she is today. We all can't have a body like Teyana Taylor or else Torrid would be out of business. I said all this to say, let people be who they are, and let them be great. We as black women have to let each other live out our greatest potential and stop looking for a means to bring each other down because we all have been through, or are going through something. It's time we start uplifting one another and stop putting those that are on the opposite side of the tracks in a box to sit on.
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