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stripping as a career
January 14, 2005 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Speaker Touts Stripping to 8th Graders as a lucrative career, causing a collective freakout in our sex obsessed culture. If your considering stripping as possible career path here are some things that you should know.
posted by thedailygrowl (75 comments total)

 
Just like the advice I gave to my sister...
posted by Balisong at 9:34 PM on January 14, 2005


He's not wrong, he's just an asshole.
posted by sellout at 9:39 PM on January 14, 2005


Yup. If he was a nice guy he could get away with this easier.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:46 PM on January 14, 2005


Stripper FAQ is totally rad and surprisingly non-sexual, thanks for the link.
posted by tweak at 9:48 PM on January 14, 2005


Speaking as a college student, I must confess that I am often envious of my peers who are able to pay rent, tution, and sundries simply by jiggling their goodies for a few hours.
posted by TheSpook at 10:06 PM on January 14, 2005


At least he didn't suggest they become something degenerately sleazy, like a stock broker.
posted by HTuttle at 10:27 PM on January 14, 2005


[shhhhh, don't wake the pink elephant that's sleeping in the middle of the room...]

[was he wrong?]
posted by mudpuppie at 10:33 PM on January 14, 2005


Obviously, he wasn't wrong (strippers do make a lot of money!); it was more a question of good judgement.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:47 PM on January 14, 2005 [1 favorite]


thank you, sellout. That's about all you can say.
posted by puke & cry at 10:50 PM on January 14, 2005


MetaTalk.
posted by alsorises at 10:59 PM on January 14, 2005


chris rock remarked that a father's only job is "to keep his daughter off the pole." certainly, it isn't a middle school principle's job to encourage 8th grade girls to it.
posted by three blind mice at 11:56 PM on January 14, 2005


My first thought after reading that article was to my high school American Lit teacher. She was a truck driver for a while. Then she went to Berkeley, got a degree to teach Secondary School English, taught at my school for two years. She then got really angry at the administration and quit. She got a job as an exotic dancer at a club a month later and was making four times what she did as a teacher. I'm not sure what that says about our society...
Satyagraha
posted by thebestsophist at 12:35 AM on January 15, 2005


Public school USA. Just don't mention G, B, or A (God, Budda, or Allah) and it's all good.
posted by buzzman at 12:52 AM on January 15, 2005


"He really focused on finding what you really love to do," said Mariah Cannon, 13.

Well, she, um, does have the name.
posted by geekyguy at 1:03 AM on January 15, 2005


I'm not sure what that says about our society...

it says that american society values strippers more than teachers.
posted by three blind mice at 2:17 AM on January 15, 2005


sad isn't it?
posted by dabitch at 2:39 AM on January 15, 2005


from metatalk: Overall, the post isn't the strongest but I hadn't heard about the news anywhere else. I'll let it slide.

It was the #1 story on yahoo's most popular for a portion of Friday, although at this minute it's down to #20. Am I the only one who still reads yahoo's most popular?
posted by gluechunk at 3:14 AM on January 15, 2005


What PinkSuperhero said.

Gluechunk, I stilll look at yahoo's most popular almost every day and have for years. Where else can I find pictures of fluffy kittens and runway models with see-through tops on the same page? Although I think it's taboo not only to talk about strippers in front of teenagers, but also to admit to looking at anything yahoo.
posted by Arch Stanton at 4:03 AM on January 15, 2005


I'm not sure what that says about our society...

It means, relatively speaking...

1) There are more people who want to be teachers than there are openings for teachers

2) There are more openings for strippers than there are people who want to be strippers
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:14 AM on January 15, 2005


Geez, I can't believe the total sheep-like repetition of the "Make Money Fast By Stripping!!!!" myth. Doesn't that also say something about our fucked up neo-Puritan sexuality?

Yes, there are strippers who make lots of money. They are uncommon, and they generally work only in certain high-priced, highly-licentious markets like Vegas, Atlantic City, Bourbon Street, etc. -- in short, in high-status clubs in red zone areas. Go to a strip club, learn the economics (what's the tip-out? what's the house take?), and then do the math: In a hot club in an average market, the best dancers might break $50K before taxes and health insurance. And don't forget to account for that health insurance and those taxes ("it's all under the table" is one of the other big stripping myths). Most are probably doing something less than $25K. Not that impressive, though it probably seems that way to someone who's never had a real job before.

Oh, and: 'for every 2 more inches up here, another $50K'?! Please! Where's the first $59K?

So, simply by virtue of the fact that the guy's an idiot, yeh, they should never invite him back again. Not to mention the highly questionable motives of an adult man touting a borderline sex-trade to 8th grade girls. (Since any mention of sexual restraint usually causes a "collective freakout" on the part of the knee-jerk libertines in any 'net.audience, I suppose I should give you a hint as to why that's inappropriate: The last time I knew the figures, 80% of teen pregnancies were by a man over the age of 25.)
posted by lodurr at 5:23 AM on January 15, 2005


"He really focused on finding what you really love to do," said Mariah Cannon, 13.

That bastard! How does that Barney song go again? "I'm unhappy, you're unhappy!"

Maybe if he'd suggested a lucrative and fullfilling job as an administrative assistant for the school board, he could have avoided this.

Though, I think his $250,000/year figure is a bit misleading. It's like telling kids, "Go be a lawyer! You can make millions a year!" Well, sure, you can, but it's unlikely you will.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:44 AM on January 15, 2005


$25K, lodurr? My last job for UnnamedMegaCorp paid about that, and I can't imagine how it was any less degrading and soul-destroying than taking off one's clothes for a living. Sure, stripping is far from the best possible career path, but degradation is degradation. I don't like the thought of people trying to encourage impressionable middle schoolers into that particular career, but honestly, it disturbs me less than people who encourage the same kids to join the Army.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:49 AM on January 15, 2005


I've met precious few strippers who could honestly say they were happy doing what they did. The ones that were, were generally not the ones making lots of money; they were the ones who worked days at another job and stripped on their nights off for fun.

People say all kinds of things, to other people and to themselves, to justify their choices. And I'm sure stripping can be lots of fun for a while, and forever for some. But it's really just another aspect of bar life. Keep at it long enough and you're a character in a Hopper painting or a Paul Westerberg song. It's a life, and it's a mistake to regret it once it's yours; but for most people, it's probably better avoided in the first place.
posted by lodurr at 6:05 AM on January 15, 2005


I initially parsed this as, "Speaker Touts (Stripping to 8th Graders) as a lucrative career," which might have understandably provoked a little freakout.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:17 AM on January 15, 2005


I bounced in strip clubs for a while to pay for university and I got to know a lot of the dancers. As with anything there were different groups of people. There were career dancers, they were there to make what they could until their looks gave out. Some of them had plans after that like going back to school others had no plans beyond where to next powder their nose. Quite a few of them were university or college girls and of those you knew that some were hooked on the money and they'd become career dancers. Most of them would go on to finish school and go to work.

One of my best friends who was a stripper at the time is now a corporate lawyer doing insanely well. From her point of view stripping was a great way to put herself through school. She could get a service industry job and make a few bucks an hour which meant that to pay her bills she'd have to go after every shift possible. This would've really cut into her studying time and she'd go in to class with a sleep deprived state like many of her peers. Instead she'd work the Friday and Saturday night shifts at the club. There were occasionally embarrassing incidents with professors or classmates who showed up but she could deal with that. She didn't like stripping but she did like some of the people. She said that the same would be true if she had worked at 7-11 too.

I do have a problem with some creep going to a middle school and recruit though. In fact if my hypothetical daughter were in that class that'd be one person in a body cast. There are some things that you shouldn't be allowed to recruit for at a school. One of them is strippers, another is the military.

If my daughter were to become a stripper I wouldn't be proud of it but I wouldn't think any less of her if she had future plans that required the money. It also probably wouldn't happen because I've long ago decided that if I do have kids I'll support them through university. Not everybody can offer that though even for a relatively inexpensive state school.
posted by substrate at 6:18 AM on January 15, 2005


I have to take exception to lodurr's statement... A friend of mine (really!) used to frequent strip clubs here on Long Island. He got to know a lot of the girls at a few clubs, and got to be fairly close with a number of them. He told me (this was >10 years ago) that they averaged around $1000/week. And $2000/week was not unusual. Granted, it's not huge money, but a $50K salary for working 3-4 nights a week is pretty good money.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 6:40 AM on January 15, 2005


In a hot club in an average market, the best dancers might break $50K before taxes and health insurance.

If they're only working 3 or 4 nights a week. That's less than $1000 per week. She would have to be really bored or out of it to make under $300 a night (certainly women who strip can be really bored or out of it, but for someone intent on making money, $50/hr is pretty expectable). That stripper faq discusses finances pretty well. The problem tends to be that 18 yr old kids who don't understand money can suddenly make loads of cash, and like people who win the lottery, they don't realize how quickly it will disappear.

Sadly, a lot of girls get sort of 'addicted' to being able to just go in for a shift when they need cash, and then they burn out and have nothing left. But girls who are smart about it can put themselves thru school or invest in equipment or studio time or whatever it is they are interested in doing. I would say the key is, it's very rarely really a career; much more likely to just be a job.

sounds like the kids were pretty on top of the whole thing, though. They were just tryna get him in trouble.
posted by mdn at 7:05 AM on January 15, 2005


She got a job as an exotic dancer at a club a month later and was making four times what she did as a teacher. I'm not sure what that says about our society...

That most people would rather look at boobs than sit in a classroom talking about literature. Not saying that's good or bad, but it certainly makes sense.
posted by jonmc at 7:19 AM on January 15, 2005


I do have a problem with some creep going to a middle school and recruit though. In fact if my hypothetical daughter were in that class that'd be one person in a body cast.

Well, I do hope if your hypothetical daughter were in that class, you'd pay more attention to the details than you are now. The guy didn't go to middle school and recruit. He gave a talk about finding a career that suits you and that you enjoy. Part of his materials include a list of 140 potential careers, one of which is exotic dancing. When asked for details about that one item, he gave details. He also said, "It's sick, but it's true. The truth of the matter is you can earn a tremendous amount of money as an exotic dancer, if that's your desire."

That's not recruiting. That's giving straight answers to a bunch of smartass kids who zoom in on a single item in a list of 140. And if you'd physically attack him for that...well, I'd be very happy if my hypothetical kid called the police to report the assault.
posted by Bugbread at 7:27 AM on January 15, 2005


> Speaker Touts Stripping to 8th Graders as a lucrative
> career, causing a collective freakout in our sex obsessed
> culture. If YOUR considering stripping as possible career path
> here are some things that you should know.

If YOU'RE considering posting something online, you should know the difference between YOUR and YOU'RE.

Words mean things.
posted by spincycle at 8:30 AM on January 15, 2005


Yes, but the your/you're thing has gone past mere correction into neurosis territory. You know what he meant. No need to publicly scold him.
posted by jonmc at 8:33 AM on January 15, 2005


Obviously nobody mentions that exotic dances are likely to be under the protection of the place owner (who rips them off anyway) and sooner or later of a pimp.

As far as I know some strip club offers distinguished guest some "monopoly money" like pink or whatever colored ; the value is for instance $20 on it ..but the stripped must bring $40 of that funny money to get $20 ..ripped off by their own business :D

Ah joy joy the smell of scam is in the air !
posted by elpapacito at 8:33 AM on January 15, 2005


I've never heard of that.
posted by angry modem at 8:48 AM on January 15, 2005


Man, now I wish I could be a stripper. It sounds like so much danged fun.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 9:10 AM on January 15, 2005


I do have a problem with some creep going to a middle school and recruit though

What recruiting?

sounds like the kids were pretty on top of the whole thing, though. They were just tryna get him in trouble.

It sounds more like the kids were titilated at the idea, and naturally curious. They asked questions and for once got some straight answers, as compared to the patronizing, sanitized education they get every other day of the week. This guy should be a guidance councelor.

Obviously nobody mentions that exotic dances are likely to be under the protection of the place owner (who rips them off anyway) and sooner or later of a pimp.

[cough] Bullshit! [cough]. Perhaps they might get into more hardcore pursuits, but that's generally up to the discretion of the individual, just like it would be if their profession was "receptionist" or "lawyer." A stripper likely gets propositioned more, that's all. The only "protection" I've heard about is the kind the management provides to protect their workers, and generally extends to being escorted outside after closing time by big bouncers. This is for their own protection, and if I were in their shoes, I sure wouldn't complain. I can't believe they would be charged for this, though. It's in the club's best interests to make sure that their main source of revenue is safe from psychos.

I photographed a couple of strippers in my time (actually, I just assisted), and found most of the more reasoned responses in this thread to be spot-on. I saw a lot of new sports cars and SUV's. A lot of nice clothes. Some (very few) had drug problems. Most of them didn't see an end to the ever-fruiting money-tree, and didn't have much of a plan after their careers were over. This is not a problem specific to strippers--I've seen this happen to i-bankers working 90-hour weeks, lottery winners, etc.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:55 AM on January 15, 2005


civil: It's in the club's best interests to make sure that their main source of revenue is safe from psychos.


True, but they're charged for sure ..one method is the one of funny money...I guess there are other creative ways to have the stripper give up some of her/his revenue for the privilege of working at a certain place , instead of another. Surely no strip club want the interest to become picky ..if they choose to become picky, they gotta pay for the privilege.

The more the business is saturared by offer (more people wanna become stripper) the more the strip club will offer less money and privilege as they're incredibly fast at adapting at marketplace (companies are almost infinitely flexible entities..as much as the people that run them, anyway) and reap the benefit of competition between workers.

That doesn't come from Marx Das Capital either..any textbook of economy will tell you that's the likely outcome.
posted by elpapacito at 10:57 AM on January 15, 2005


I envy strippers and porny stars. I can't even make any money for getting dressed and going away. (Too bad about the latter: one's money-making potential would only increase as one got older, uglier, and harder to be around.)

***

If YOU'RE considering posting something online, you should know the difference between YOUR and YOU'RE.

Words mean things.


Damn, spincycle, are we related?
posted by davy at 11:41 AM on January 15, 2005


Elpapacito:

That's ture, but I don't see the relevance. Strippers make a lot of money (generally). If more people want to be strippers, salaries (as it were) will go down. That's true of any job. Are you saying that this makes it an undesirable job? How is it different from any other job in that respect?

First, you say strippers get ripped off/scammed. Now you're saying that strippers are subject to the same economic pressures of any other job. If your argument has changed from the first to the latter, then it's not much of an argument against strippers. And if the latter was an addition to the first argument, it's not much of an addition.

Sorry to sound harsh, I just don't see what you're getting at.
posted by Bugbread at 11:43 AM on January 15, 2005


Stripping is like professional sports. You make a boat load of cash but you are out of a job when you turn 30.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:44 AM on January 15, 2005


I find the reaction of most of the people here completely insane. Stripping is a perfectly legal job at which it's possible to make a fair amount of money. Why not mention it as a possible job option?
posted by kyrademon at 12:12 PM on January 15, 2005


Most of them didn't see an end to the ever-fruiting money-tree, and didn't have much of a plan after their careers were over. This is not a problem specific to strippers--I've seen this happen to i-bankers working 90-hour weeks,

Yeah but a burned-out investment banker has skills that are easily portable to other, less stressful jobs. What is a stripper going to do when her breasts and ass start to sag?
posted by crank at 12:36 PM on January 15, 2005


I'm not sure what that says about our society...

Pupils don't tip.

Words mean things.

Spincycle, YOU'RE a mean thing.
posted by stuporJIX at 12:52 PM on January 15, 2005


What is a stripper going to do when her breasts and ass start to sag?

Same thing a washed up third-tier athlete or actor does: become an agent/manager.
posted by Bugbread at 12:59 PM on January 15, 2005


Re-reading this thread, I’ve realized that most responders are actually being quite reasonable in their reaction, or haven’t really expressed an opinion one way or the other. So this really only applies to a few people. But for those people, after thoughtful reflection, I’ve decided to rail at you with frustrated rage.

Go to hell. Seriously. Just go to hell. And take your condescending, finger-pointing, Puritanical, asshole disdain for strippers and stripping with you. Especially if you’ve ever been to a strip club, watched a porno, looked at naked girls online, paid for sex, or otherwise participated in an industry you act like you’re oh-so-far above. But whether you have or not, many thanks for helping to keep certain careers more dangerous, more despised, and more difficult than they otherwise would be.

“. . . why that's inappropriate: The last time I knew the figures, 80% of teen pregnancies were by a man over the age of 25.”

Really? Wow, I had no idea talking about stripping in an open and honest manner caused pregnancy! Golly, imagine what talking about careers that actually involved sex, or, heaven forbid, talking about sex itself might do! They might get DOUBLY PREGNANT! Clearly, we should end all sex ed classes, never mention anything sex-related to teenagers, and act like it’s all a big dark shameful secret. That’ll solve the problem.

“. . . it isn't a middle school principle's job to encourage 8th grade girls to it.”

I’m not sure how mentioning a career is an option is encouraging it, but maybe you’re right – after all, they’re too young for such a career. We should therefore also refrain from mentioning any career that involves driving, getting elected to office, or advanced degrees of any kind. On career day, they really should only be informed about the exciting options in the fast food industry. Maybe someday they’ll be a manager!

“In fact if my hypothetical daughter were in that class that'd be one person in a body cast.”

You actually seemed fairly sensible in a lot of your response, but still – Christ, get a grip. Your hypothetical daughter would be hypothetically better served if someone hypothetically mentioning the existence of safe and legal career options didn’t send you into a hypothetical homicidal rage.

“You make a boat load of cash but you are out of a job when you turn 30.” “What is a stripper going to do when her breasts and ass start to sag?”

I’m not as pissed off about these comments, since there is some truth to them. However, I hope you would be just as concerned about someone going to a class and mentioning careers such as ballet dancer, model, figure skater, tennis pro, etc., etc., etc.

“Obviously nobody mentions that exotic dances are likely to be under the protection of the place owner (who rips them off anyway) and sooner or later of a pimp.”

Of course. Because stripper==prostitute. Because everyone who uses their body to make money must be selling sex. So that’s why you tip that pretty waitress extra. Not that I care if they sell sex or not, but the assumption is irritating. I mean, you’re probably under the protection of your boss (who rips you off anyway), so sooner or later you’ll work for the government. Except that makes no sense. Oh, right.

Not that prostitutes would need pimps either if the profession was legal, safe, and unionized. But I’m sure there’ll be plenty of you out there doing your level best to make sure it will never happen. Because as long as you regard sex-industry workers with contempt, you can feel all better about yourself.
posted by kyrademon at 1:23 PM on January 15, 2005


I’m not as pissed off about these comments, since there is some truth to them. However, I hope you would be just as concerned about someone going to a class and mentioning careers such as ballet dancer, model, figure skater, tennis pro, etc., etc., etc.

Nope, sorry, that's a poor comparison. If a girl has the raw athletic talent to become a professional tennis player or ballet dancer she will be recognized at a very young age. By the time she's 15 or 16 she'll know if she has what it takes to compete on the world stage. If she pursues a career in tennis or ballet and eventually fizzles out as an adult there is a vast, pre-existing infrastructure in which she can find employment. She could be a tennis coach at any high school, university, country/tennis club or she could possibly even coach other pros.

Do such options exist for over-the-hill strippers? Not really. It's a simple fact that stripping is a job, not a career, and if you don't make preparations to be able to one day do something entirely different than taking off your clothes for money your setting yourself up for a hard life...
posted by crank at 2:15 PM on January 15, 2005


Crank: You're right about the coaching options for athletes, but what about models? It seems like a very very close parallel.
posted by Bugbread at 2:22 PM on January 15, 2005


He's not wrong that strippers make a lot of money, but that's where it stops. He is wrong telling it to a bunch of 8th graders (who probably know that already, but are still impressionable). The public freakout should have been expected, and is grounded.

Anybody who told a daughter of mine that she could pursue a lucrative position in adult entertainment would get a punch in the mouth.
posted by tomorama at 2:39 PM on January 15, 2005


Models -> Clothing designers/modeling school teachers/spokespeople/business owners/managers.
posted by breath at 2:47 PM on January 15, 2005


Crank, you've essentially said that the other professions I've listed are also jobs rather than careers - but that it's somewhat easier for some of them to get careers which use the skills acquired in their initial job. OK, sure.

Of course, I do question whether it's quite as clear-cut as you imply. Does every ex-athlete really have the skills to be a coach? Are there really as many coaching positions as there are ex-athletes? If not, a whole bunch of these people are going to have to eventually find other things to do, just like strippers. And, as bugbread points out, you didn't even bother to comment on some of the other careers I mentioned. Competition for positions as a choreographer or a teacher is fierce among ex-ballerinas. And not a whole lot of models make the jump into related professions - say, acting, or clothing design.

And of course, the average pro athlete made $32,000 a year in 2000, far less than a stripper usually makes, so for those in time-limited professions who are saving to get an education or put a nice nest egg away for the future, strippers have a decided advantage over athletes.

As I said before, I don't deny this is a problem with the profession; I'm just saying, if this is really your reason for objecting to it being brought up on career day, there are plenty of other jobs about which similar objections could be made.

(On preview: Actually, tomorama, most 8th graders probably don't know that already, but have bought into the myth that most strippers are starving drug-addicted prostitutes. And no one has yet on this thread explained to me exactly what the problem is with a career counsellor discussing *any* profession with kids which is legal, voluntary, and potentially lucrative.)
posted by kyrademon at 2:50 PM on January 15, 2005


Huh. I'd tell my kid that the job sucks, that it has a high likelihood (though not 100%, of course, kyrademon) of destroying you, that I would hope they would choose a more respectable job, and that there are extremely few career opportunities once you age.

But it wouldn't even occur to me to assault some guy for saying something true that I dislike.

If anything, I'm just amazed that there are not just one, but two people who would physically assault some guy for answering some kids' questions honestly.

Models -> Clothing designers/modeling school teachers/spokespeople/business owners/managers.

First, I don't see any evidence that being a model links to being a clothing designer, any more the spokesman in an AOL commercial links to being a web designer. But my fiancee designs clothes, so I may have a little more bias / insight (pick whichever you prefer) on the issue.

Modelling school teacher makes sense, but I suspect that there are too few openings to make this a reliable backup.

Spokesperson makes sense, and looking at late night infomercials, it does seem like there are quite a few opportunities. So that's a pretty good answer.

As for business owners / managers, it seems like that's an opening available for most professions, strippers included. I don't know enough about the field to say for certain, though.
posted by Bugbread at 3:00 PM on January 15, 2005


Bugbread -

Sure, I don't have any problem with educating kids as to the realities of their options. Although I think "it has a high likelihood of destroying you" is going quite a bit far, there are some definite drawbacks to the job.

But, yeah, the same could be said of many other jobs, and I really don't get this, "Gasp! I would kill any who would dare outline the pros and cons of this profession to my daughter!" mentality. I've doffed my undies both live and on film, and have plenty of friends who have done the same, and it pisses me off that this apparently makes me too unspeakable to discuss on friggin' career day.

Incidentally, as far as post-stripping careers that actually use those skillsets are concerned, pole-dancing classes are quite popular these days, and I've seen more than a few outright stripping classes being offered. Of strippers I know well, one's gone on to be a stage actress (mostly Shakesperian), and another is just about to start getting her PhD in performance studies, which could both probably be considered related fields. And I'm a playwright, for whatever that's worth.
posted by kyrademon at 3:29 PM on January 15, 2005


As I predicted, somebody had a freakout about the very idea that some folks might regard stripping as an inappopriate career option.

kyradaemon: Wow, I had no idea talking about stripping in an open and honest manner caused pregnancy!

Really! I had no idea that intentional obtuseness went along with knee-jerk libertinism!

So, I guess you must have missed that part about where this was an adult talking to 8th grade girls about rack size. And maybe you missed the part about how, when you were in 8th grade, adults who talked about taboo shit were, like, instantly cool. Or maybe you missed the part about how some adult guys love to talk about taboo shit to young girls.

Now, quite aside from the sex angle, I'd be happy to have "stripper" on the list of potential careers. While we're at it, let's add these: Forgive me for those I've left off. Heaven forbid we should unfairly stigmatize some profession by omission or by predicting any less than the most optimistic salaries or career outcomes. We wouldn't want to discourage people from becoming career bartenders, for example, by telling them that they're likely to get married and divorced several times and stand just about a snowball's chance in hell of winning a custody fight for the kids. And heaven forbid that we should entertain the idea that when some strippers talk about "empowerment", they're really rationalizing their career choice. Oh, and, most of all, please be sure to impute absolutism wherever possible, strenuously ignoring qualifiers like "most", "many", "some", "in my experience", and so on.

Face it: career counseling for 8th graders just shouldn't include some professions. "Exotic dancing" is one of those. Arguing that lists of career options for 8th graders should include "stripper" just because it's a "legal profession" is the worst kind of libertarian political correctness bullshit. And libertarian political correctness bullshit is the worst kind of political correctness bullshit.
posted by lodurr at 3:37 PM on January 15, 2005


Does every ex-athlete really have the skills to be a coach?Are there really as many coaching positions as there are ex-athletes?

No, but you cannot deny that the possibility to become a coach does exist, and that the vast majority of coaches are former athletes themselves.

And, as bugbread points out, you didn't even bother to comment on some of the other careers I mentioned. Competition for positions as a choreographer or a teacher is fierce among ex-ballerinas. And not a whole lot of models make the jump into related professions - say, acting, or clothing design.

I've never made a value judgement along the lines of modeling = good, stripping = bad. I simply maintain that both should be prepared to do something else when their looks give out. If a woman becomes a stripper to pay her way through college, I say more power to her. If a woman becomes a stripper and does nothing to prepare for her future, she's a fool.

I'm just saying, if this is really your reason for objecting to it being brought up on career day, there are plenty of other jobs about which similar objections could be made.

Yes, but I've never, ever heard of a career counselor asking a young person, "Have you considered becoming a professional athlete or perhaps a fashion model? Here a some pamphlets for you to read"
posted by crank at 3:43 PM on January 15, 2005


Lodurr: And maybe you missed the part about how, when you were in 8th grade, adults who talked about taboo shit were, like, instantly cool.

If you're implying that this kind of comment would have been some kind of "in", leading him to impregnating some 8th graders, maybe you missed the part about how the guy is 64, and no matter how cool he is, no 8th grade girl is going to sleep with him over it.

And I'd be pretty damn surprised if "actor" and "politician" were not on that list. So part of your job is probably done for you. "Prizefighter" probably was listed under "athlete", so that's a bit more wishy-washy.

But, frankly, I just don't get most of your post. Nobody here is arguing that stripper should be on all lists of potential careers, and yet most of your post seems to rail against this position no-one is taking. All people are saying is that it's not such a big deal that it should be taken off the list if somebody happened to put it there (like this guy did), or that he get kicked out of his regular speech engagement. If you disagree with that, then go ahead and say your bit. If you want to make the argument that he should've provided more of the bad aspects of the job, go ahead and make that argument too.

It seems that so far you've just provided counterarguments against arguments nobody is making.

Your last paragraph finally approaches the topic, but then veers off again without saying why you come to the conclusion that you do.

Crank: Yes, but I've never, ever heard of a career counselor asking a young person, "Have you considered becoming a professional athlete or perhaps a fashion model? Here a some pamphlets for you to read"

No, but keep in mind two things: this isn't a career counselor, and from what I can gather, the goal of his talk is to "try a bunch of stuff out and see what sticks". He also inspired some kid to decide to give up college and take up fishing instead (dunno if that was intentional or just the usual way kids get "inspired" in weird directions). I'm not arguing that it's right, but just that the aim of his talk is not the same as the aim of a school counselor, so it's probably not a good idea to compare them.
posted by Bugbread at 3:58 PM on January 15, 2005


Well, I think I *will * make that argument now, bugbread. What the heck.

lodurr -

You'll be less than shocked to learn that I wouldn't have a problem with any of those professions being discussed realistically. People go into all of those professions - you'd rather they didn't have the faintest clue of what they needed to know, the money they could actually expect to make, the risks and potential rewards? The very reasons you sneeringly dismiss "rock star" and "movie star" as realistic topics for discussion are the very reaons the *should* be. How many people go into music, or acting, or sports, or the sex industries, without the faintest clue what that will actually entail and how much money they're actually going to make? Damn right all those professions should be on the list.

And you *can* make a fair bit as a stripper. Probably he overestimated by a bit. As many have pointed out, you proceeded to underestimate by a lot. Oddly, I don't think either of you should be shot for it.

But that's not really your objection, as you make clear. Kind of renders my first paragraph moot, but what the hey. Because had he given a completely realistic portrait of stripping, you'd still be against his doing so: "career counseling for 8th graders just shouldn't include some professions. 'Exotic dancing' is one of those." Your problem isn't that he overestimated the salary - it's that he brought it up at all. Which makes your "movie star" and "rock star" list so much self-rationalizing bullshit. I doubt you'd actually have such an objection to movie acting or music discussed seriously.

And guess what? Rack size DOES affect how much money you're going to make as a stripper. I don't like it, never did, but it's true. But apparently, no one can tell that to anyone, even in response to a direct question, because in your world that means you're probably a sicko who wants to have sex with teens. Because to you, even mentioning anything that has to do with sex to a teen seems to imply that.

People are becoming strippers, lodurr. And bartenders. And joining rock bands. And all of the other professions you mention. What's the point of discussing careers with them if you're not going to tell them about what they might be doing?
posted by kyrademon at 4:06 PM on January 15, 2005


If a woman becomes a stripper and does nothing to prepare for her future, she's a fool.

I think the point is, this is the same in any profession. If you spent all your efforts learning HTML and never took some C classes when you had the good paying job,, you're probably feeling the pinch right now. If you're a bartender you might want to learn some management basics. If you're a construction worker, you might want to take a couple of business classes to become a contractor while your back holds out on you. If your only argument is that you need to plan sooner for your future if you're a stripper, whereas if you were on Wall St. your skills might take you a bit more open to opportunities I say no duh. Most women don't go into stripping because it's a glamorous life. I'm sure given the option between studying for their MBA and straddling some ugly fat lush three nights a week, the choice would be pretty simple. Not everyone has such luxuries.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:19 PM on January 15, 2005


You know, it's possible to have more than one objection to something. I object to wildly unlikely expectations fueling inclusion on that list. It's just plain stupid to have "rock star" on the list for a bunch of reasons, not least being that it doesn't need to be there for a 20% of kids to pick it anyway.

I know that rack size matters, BTW. I never implied that it didn't. I just think it's really, really sad that we'd even tacitly encourage a girl to go into a profession where it does. (But $50K/yr? Come on. That's just stupid.)

You're also doing exactly what I asked you to, by taking great care to exclude all of my qualifiers and to generalize any objections I might have about career day to any discussion of sex with teens. That's bad reasoning. You also take such nice rhetorically questionable steps as conflating "rock star" with "joining rock bands". That's either sloppy or disingenuous, you pick. You've taken care not to unpack any of the subtext of my arguments or observations (I've spent time in strip clubs, I think American neo-Puritanism is fucked up, I have more than passing familiarity with bar culture). That's sloppy reading. And you also seem to be assuming that it makes sense for 8th graders to have the capability to make clean rational judgements about loaded topics. That shows a bad memory of what it was like to be in 8th grade, and think that you could suss all this shit, no problem, those putzes are just trying to keep you from doing what you want....

Yes, I do have an objection to including stuff like "bartender", "exotic dancer", "bouncer", or "cocktail wait[er/ress]" on career day. And yes, I realize that you're likely to interpret anything that I say about careers like these as a slam against people in the bar life. I can't help that. You can, though, by not indulging in knee-jerk reactions to anything you percieve as being "hypocritical" or "conservative" or "uptight". This is a free country, and you get to have any opinion you want and make with the sarcastic "thank yous" when I say something like this; but people also get to choose what they think are appropriate careers to be presented to their children, and, what's more, have their own opinions about what's right or proper.

But hey, like I said, it's a free country. You can set up your own career counseling center if you want. Go for it. I'm sure it will be a big hit.
posted by lodurr at 4:51 PM on January 15, 2005


If your only argument is that you need to plan sooner for your future if you're a stripper, whereas if you were on Wall St. your skills might take you a bit more open to opportunities I say no duh.

You're the one who mentioned them in the same breath in the first place...
posted by crank at 5:14 PM on January 15, 2005


How did you get from stripper to bartender?
posted by SweetJesus at 5:29 PM on January 15, 2005


OK. Pause for a breath here.

*breathes*

Lodurr, I'm sorry if I'm misinterpreting some of your points. I'll look over them more carefully to make this response. I've been very angry in my last few posts. I'll try to explain why in a bit.

To be fair, you've mischaracterized a lot of my thoughts too, and accused me of saying an awful lot of words I never used - empowered, hypocritical, conservative, uptight, etc. So perhaps we could both stand to take a step back here.

Let me try to do this a little more calmly.

1) In my first post, most of my commentary was not actually directed at you. The main thing I took exception to in your comment was your implication that the probable reason a 64-year-old motivational speaker would have for discussing this topic with eigth graders was to get into their pants. I still doubt that's the case, if that was your actual point (please feel free to explain if I have misunderstood.) My later comments about about all discussions of sex also referred to this - my question was, if you can't have this kind of discussion without being considered a lech, then how does one have a frank discussion of sexuality of any kind with a teenage audience? At what point does this kind of discussion become OK, and how does a serious discussion of the sex industry differ from a serious sex education class? It was indeed an extrapolation from the specific to the general as you point out, but it was a seriously meant one; why is one OK and one not, and how do they differ?

My relating "joining a rock band" to "becoming a rock star" was also seriously meant. When I read the post in which you brought "rock star" up, I felt that your argument was disingenuous; the implication seemed to be that the the problem wasn't really with their being told about stripping, but only that they were told about the glamorous life of a high-end stripper. Since your later comments objected to discussing stripping in general, I thought this was a bit of a red herring. Apparently, you were just arguing multiple points. Fine, and I'm perfectly willing to agree - discussing only the most glamorous, money-making aspects of a profession in which many people do not make it to the big time is a bad idea. Rock star, movie star, and million-dollar stripper shouldn't be on a career-day list.

It seems, when you get right down to it, that our major disagreement is really over the amount and kind of information that should be given to eighth graders. I think the pros and cons of any legal profession should be fair game for discussion. You seem to think that a number - not just stripping - should be off the table. To be frank, I'm not exactly sure what your standard is. "Bartender"? Why? I know a lot of perfectly nice and happy bartenders. Maybe if you explained your point here some more, I'd understand your objections. I would also like to ask, at what point does it become fair game to discuss these potential career options with kids? High school? Never? And why?

To end this post, I just want to say I was speaking angrily because this is very much a sore point with me. I'm quite happy with my life. And some people on this thread - not you - have actually proposed breaking the bones of people who would dare to suggest that their daughters might actually still live a happy, profitable, and rewarding life if they, well, behave like I have. It pisses me off. I get tired of having myself and my friends looked down on for doing things that the very same people often pay us an awful lot of money to do. I'm all for a realistic discussion of the pros and cons of the sex industry - and god knows, there are cons. But I hate the implication that this multi-billion dollar, nationwide industry is somehow too disgusting to be even discussable.
posted by kyrademon at 5:32 PM on January 15, 2005


It's just plain stupid to have "rock star" on the list for a bunch of reasons

Yeah, but it's a lot easier to be a rock star than a stripper. Guys will pretty much pay for any woman who's reasonably fit. If she's got natural assets for the business, that certainly helps.

How did you get from stripper to bartender?

I was making a comparison. My point was that there are a lot of jobs that would have limited career lifetimes; singling out stripping as a poor career choice because of this is disingenuous.

but people also get to choose what they think are appropriate careers to be presented to their children

Why do you think it's inappropriate? If it's not a moral reason, like you seem to suggest, then is it just an overall objection to jobs that aren't high-profile enough? So, you can be a doctor, but not a plumber, even though plumbers make pretty decent money and it's a profession that doesn't require a Masters?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:00 PM on January 15, 2005


Slightly OT, but:

Arguing that lists of career options for 8th graders should include "stripper" just because it's a "legal profession" is the worst kind of libertarian political correctness bullshit. And libertarian political correctness bullshit is the worst kind of political correctness bullshit.

I've asked this before, and been told "no", but what my eyes show me doesn't match with what I'm being told. Has the meaning of "political correctness" changed since the early 90's? Because back then, an old white guy telling a bunch of 8th grade girls that they could make good money stripping is about one of the least politically correct things you could do, besides talking about "the coloreds" and making fun of the handicapped.
posted by Bugbread at 6:10 PM on January 15, 2005


The meaning has changed. bugbread. Originally, politically correct meant "1) someone who believes that language and actions which could be offensive to others should be avoided, or 2) describes a word or expression that is used instead of another one to avoid being offensive." E.g. saying firefighter instead of fireman.

These days, as far as I can tell, it means something along the lines of, "a slur implying that someone has an opinion which is the same opinion that a bunch of other people have, usually one which can be somehow perceived as left-wing, with the implication being either that the person is insincere because other people share their opinion, or that they wish to force everyone else to have the same opinion or at least act as if they do."
posted by kyrademon at 7:01 PM on January 15, 2005


Many years ago, I spent over a year of my life living in a strip joint. I became friends with most of the strippers. Most of them would accompany me home at night, where we would engage in hours of card playing, drinking, and occasionally promiscuous sex. One of them became my girlfriend. From that year of near-debauchery and excess, here is what I learned about strippers and stripping:

New strippers hate stripping. Most of them do it because they need the money, they are convinced that they will only do it for a short time, and that they will never sink to fucking the customers. A certain percentage of these strippers make enough money that they more easily increase their amount of debt, so they stick around, now sometimes fucking the customers that they like, but they are generally enjoying the job because they are living the high life and a bunch of guys are buying them gifts and telling them flattering lies. The last group of strippers are the middle group grown older. They are still in debt, but maybe they've had a few kids by different fathers and their stretch marks and Cesarean scar make them not quite as desirable to the customers. Their tits sag, and the tattoo the got a few years ago is now ugly and losing its color. They are taking home considerably less money, now they are fucking customers whom they deplore, and they've heard every lie so many times that they know that men are sacks of shit.

Worse, this last group have spent so many years leading men around by their penises that they now think that this is how all relationships are conducted, so they cheat on the men who do care for them because it is the only behavior that they know.

Most of them smoke, hacking with emphysema horribly, and they've worn so much make-up for so many years that they look like hell when it isn't plastered on. They also look like hell with it plastered on, in a "mortician-might-find-this-appealing" sort of way. They usually drink too much, so their livers are shot, and if they are lucky get a job at at the coat check of a sleazy casino.

I didn't exaggerate much in any of the particulars. I've seen it hundreds of times, literally, and I'm not using literally figuratively, as is sometimes the custom.

Don't become a stripper, girls. The odds are that you will regret it.

And I would cheerfully twist off the head of any man who suggested to my daughters that stripping might be an acceptable career.
posted by Chasuk at 10:19 PM on January 15, 2005


Chasuk - I have no doubt your story is true. Sounds true.

However, I also wonder how well those girls would have done if they'd opted to go the more respectable route of minimum wage labor - with longer hours, a fifth the weekly take-home pay, and work just as soul-deadening. A lot of them don't wind up with particularly bright prospects either.

Do plenty of strippers fall into a black hole? Sure. I don't deny it. But plenty of people fall into a black hole. And stripping may be just another trap for many, but it's a way out for some.

I've been homeless. I've been destitute. From that perspective, stripping can look a lot more attractive than Walmart. At least stripping offers you the chance that you can get somewhere better. Even if quite a lot of people don't manage to take it.
posted by kyrademon at 12:44 AM on January 16, 2005


but it's a lot easier to be a rock star than a stripper.

Dammit, I don't preview enough. Easier to be a stripper than a rock star.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:31 AM on January 16, 2005


Huh...being away from the states for a few years does strange things to your perceptions of stances. When I left, encouraging girls to work in strip clubs when they grew up would be a very right wing, free market economist, male centric statement. It would be pretty odd to see it characterized as left wing.

And that now makes three people who would assault someone for answering kids' questions honestly. That's fucked up.
posted by Bugbread at 2:36 AM on January 16, 2005


The handout alphabetically lists over 100 careers, including ``exotic dancing'' and ``stripper.'' Other options include: pistol shooting, Texas Hold 'Em (poker), philately (stamp collecting) and palmistry.

I'm guessing that no one read the handouts before bringing the guy in.
posted by IndigoJones at 9:27 AM on January 16, 2005


Huh. A bit more googling also adds stunt flying to the list, along with advertising, investment banking, and the pistol shooting, poker, philately, and palmistry listed above. That makes the big uproar make even less sense. It seems like the whole focus of this guy's talk was about the extremely wide range of job choices that exist in this world, as opposed to the standard "banker doctor lawyer salesman programmer" focus.
posted by Bugbread at 10:25 AM on January 16, 2005


There are jobs that require little or no schooling and that not many people would voluntarily take if they had a choice (stripping, waiting tables, collecting trash, working an assembly line, etc.), there are jobs that many children think would be cool but that are not realistic goals for most people (rock star, athlete, movie star, etc.), and there are jobs that require you to plan ahead, study hard, and get good grades but that many people can do for a lifetime (engineering, teaching, etc.).

A guy coming to school to talk about careers should focus on the third sort. If you have a rare talent, you will be a star without his encouragement, and if you have no rare talent and you don't get a decent education, you will end up with a job that is not very satisfying or lucrative in the long run and you will kick yourself for not having tried harder in school.

If he has to answer questions about the first and second sorts, he should emphasize things such as the average career satisfaction, career length, pay, and risks. If he told girls that strippers sometimes make a lot of money for a short time in a industry that is an easy step away from prostitution, and that most strippers would never have gotten into the business and would gladly get back out if they had a choice, that would be good.

It would also be good to tell all the dreamer jocks, for example, that they should forget it unless they are already pretty much the best player their age in the city (unless it's a very big city) and probably in the state (but that they can always be gym teachers if they study), and to tell all the dreamer rock stars that the odds of them being good enough, industrious enough, and lucky enough to get anything above playing covers for little or no money are about a million to one (but that they can always be... record store clerks?).
posted by pracowity at 2:19 PM on January 16, 2005


pracowity speaks the most sooth so far and should be the final word. Not that that's going to stop me.

bugbread- Actually, I think the uproar made a great deal of sense. The list I added was intended to reinforce that view. Palmistry? Please. It needed only Pet Psychic to push it over into parody. And on the other end of the spectrum- what eighth grader dreams of being an Investment Banking (save those who care only about money, which, coincidentially, is a common theme in those who think stripping is a reasonable option)?

Which gets us back to the initial point, the apparently tedious moral one.

Get real, guys! Stripping is a squalid way to make a buck. It degrades the person doing it (female or male, let us point out) and the person paying for it (male or female, let us point out). You can talk empowerment all you like, or claim those against it are hopeless parochial, even uptight, but bottom line, nobody involved in this trade (least of all the patron, let us point out) exits a better person.

And this from a white bourgeois who generally enjoys Camille Paglia , but who thinks she speaks nonsense on this point.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:24 PM on January 16, 2005


Very well put, Procowity. What I'm most curious about is exactly what he said (all of it, not just the quoted bits). The part that sends up flags for me is that he is quoted as saying, "It's sick, but it's true." That leads me to suspect (but not to know, of course), that his discussion was not all wine and roses, and that, the media being the media, the more salacious bits are being reported.

Also, keep in mind for the rock star bits at least, that while being a rock star is a very unlikely future career, being a musician is not. They may not become famous, but there are a lot of unfamous musicians making a living and enjoying themselves (I know of several in electronica who are completely unknown outside of the electronica field, but who support themselves off a mixture of their main music creation, for-hire music creation for TV commercials, and running very small record companies).

But, as I say, that's all an aside, and I definitely agree with what you're saying.
posted by Bugbread at 2:29 PM on January 16, 2005


This discussion is starting to make a lot more sense now.

Pracowity, it does make sense for schools to focus on the third sort of careers. But making certain careers taboo subjects, which is really the problem here, does make things hard for some kids.

For starters, one thing that hasn't been discussed a lot here, is that there are little girls who want to grow up to be strippers. Yep, they exist. It isn't just a career people take because they're broke and desperate. Some people do it because they like to do it. The current situation makes it terribly difficult for them to get good information.

For another thing, a lot of people, from all walks of life, can find themselves broke, homeless, desperate for quick cash, etc. A realistic discussion of options in those situations would have done me a lot more good than a test telling me I'd make a wonderful accountant.

So, no, schools shouldn't necessarily emphasize non-mainstream career paths, but making information available about them, rather than treating (at least some of) them as if they were a fate worse than death would do a fair number of people a lot of good.

And IndigoJones - I disagree. Some people are degraded by stripping. They shouldn't strip. Some people are degraded by watching strippers. They shouldn't watch strippers. But plenty of people are perfectly happy in the understanding that someone is just being paid to take their clothes off. There is nothing automatically degrading about that. Frankly, I had a job working as a clerk in a high-end toy store that was far more degrading than anything I've ever done sex-work-wise.

As a side note, I find it interesting that the only people using the word "empowerment" are those arguing against stripping. The people arguing for it are mostly using the "it's good money" argument.
posted by kyrademon at 4:16 PM on January 16, 2005


I had a job working as a clerk in a high-end toy store that was far more degrading than anything I've ever done sex-work-wise.

I think I had that toy store job, so I can sympathize. Still, honest labor for an honest dollar. Never worked the sex trade myself, but I stand by my uptightness. The field does not preclude, alas, those who "ought" not to be in it.

I'd say also, that if the arguments "for" tend to be monetary, this suggests that at least at some level, even those who are okay with the job have trouble finding dignity in it. I prize dignity.

I wish you job satisfaction, in any event.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:52 PM on January 16, 2005


I hate it when I miss good threads over the weekend.

Stripping is like professional sports. You make a boat load of cash but you are out of a job when you turn 30.

Nope. You can strip far beyond 30. How are the 30+ year olds you know treating themselves? Maybe they should stop smoking and getting those tans. Tell them to invest in some Oil of Olay or something. ;) I know many 30+ year olds I would not mind at all naked.

Not that prostitutes would need pimps either if the profession was legal, safe, and unionized.

A tangent on this subject: most of the strippers I know don't want prostitution legalized because they are certain a legitimate industry would undermine their ability to sell less (not having sex, giving hand or blow jobs, etc) at a premium.

Chasuk, none of the strippers I know ever resorting to fucking customers. It's all anecdotal evidence. It's just I won't be using mine to try to characterize the whole industry and all those who participate in it. Even if there were some study that showed a majority of strippers do have sex with the clientele, it still would be the choice of the girl, and not inherent in the trade. And a choice to have sex with clientele is potentially illegal and certainly against club policy.

The club or clubs you frequented would probably never show up on my friends' tour lists. Clubs that are populated by girls like that are likely run poorly. If you want to consistently make $500 a night you don't do it by working shitty clubs; you just get zits on your ass and a whole lot of attitude from the girls. And though you may have known girls at that club who made 500+ a night, from the sound of it, they probably had to do more than strip.

And 500 to 1K a night is not exclusive to big city clubs. Many clubs in the vast unpopulated West can produce that kind of income, regardless of bust size. You just have to do the work to find them.

It degrades the person doing it...

If a girl feels degraded, she's probably doing it wrong. I don't understand why some people can't accept that a girl might like to get naked on stage for men throwing money at them. And it's not just about money, it's about freedom. It just so happens that the freedom store only accepts cash.
posted by effwerd at 6:18 AM on January 17, 2005


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