Show Us Yer Puff Piece

When my housemate Eliza signed up for a new mobile phone, included in the whole package was a free subscription to that great bastion of inane advertising-driven bimbo drivel, B magazine. At least, that’s Eliza’s story about how she came to own the subscription, and she’s sticking to it.

Flicking through the latest issue to arrive at our house, I was amused to come across an article on stripping and the girls who do it professionally. Usually when women’s magazines feature articles on stripping, the general tone is “oh my god, what sluts!!! They are, like, so totally degrading themselves!!! And they have better bodies than you could ever hope for!!!” (exclamation marks intentional). This one was a little different. Taking a conversational tone, it interviewed several girls about why they, like, totally loved being strippers and wouldn’t want to be anything else, despite having no employee rights or benefits and learning no real trade skills that would serve them once they got older and things started to sag.

I’m not against stripping personally, but I was really amused to see the profession bathed in such an overwhelmingly glowing light. The girls spoke about how much money they could earn in a night and talked about what they’d bought with it. They talked about how much fun the job was, even though it could “be nerve-wracking at first”. They talked about how amazing it was to get so much attention from men, and to be paid for getting that attention.

There wasn’t one negative aspect mentioned at all in the article. Nothing about feeling worn out and not being allowed to go home. Nothing about feeling creeped out or disgusted by the people you’re getting paid to show your pinkbits to. Nothing about what a friend of mine who worked as a stripper and escort for a while referred to as “the desire to punch them in the face repeatedly, and then sit them down and explain to them exactly why they can only get female companionship if they pay for it”. Nothing about having no real employee rights. Nothing about how most venues require you to give them money for the pleasure of working for them. All the women interviewed were quick to deny that anyone they worked with used drugs, or had offered services to clients above the position description, or indeed were ever anything but absolutely delighted with their job.

They all spoke in glowing terms of their employer, for which I can’t really blame them. If I was being interviewed about my job while actually at work, I’d be pretty damn glowing as well. They insisted that they were treated very well by the club, but of course Ms Cynical here has her doubts. This is largely because I once went for a job as a dance supervisor at a strip club here in Melbourne. This particular club prides itself on its good treatment of its dancers. In the interview I was informed that one of my duties would be making sure girls did not skive off their shifts early. I was to make sure they stayed in the club, and let them know that no excuse, including sickness, periods and terrible treatment from customers, was enough to let them go home. Failure to do this, I was told, would severely jeopardise my own employment. Needless to say, I did not take the job.

Apparently not interested in researching for a balanced article, the writer covered only one strip club (in Sydney), and interviewed only a select group of women who may well have been screened by the club pre-interview, especially considering the interviews all took place on the club premises. I was amused and baffled by the sheer puffery of the piece, and its complete lack of any discussion of the real issues surrounding stripping apart from male attention and the outrageous sums of money one can make if one is lucky and works very hard for long hours.

About two paragraphs from the end, I remarked to my housemate Deirdre that the “article” was certainly coming across much like an advertisement. Then I reached the end, and discovered that B had helpfully listed the name, address and a contact phone number for the club featured in the article.

I wonder how much they were paid to run that recruitment ad? Or maybe it was just part of a reciprocal relationship, and B‘s staff simply like going to the club for a few drinks after work? If you’re a devoted reader of this completely non-crappy and content-filled magazine, perhaps you should keep an eye out in coming months for features about how to make yourself up like the “stars” (of poles, podiums and porn films everywhere), and how strip clubs are, like, totally the best place to meet eligible (if somewhat distracted) men these days.

3 Responses to “Show Us Yer Puff Piece”

  1. Missy Says:

    I love you because you’re so articulate. But with a better word than articulate that means more, and stuff. Whatever! I am clearly not qualified to use the word at all.

  2. koen Says:

    I love you ’cause you talk about strippers.

  3. vimax Says:

    nice site