Vegan Strippers??
March 27, 2008 2:07 PM   Subscribe

No, I am not just trying to get your attention - there is a Vegan Strip club in Portland. Very much a clash of ethics for some, a great opportunity to 'spread the message' for others.

The article includes quotes from some of the well known names in the Vegan movement including Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Bob Torres, who wrote 'Vegan Freak'. Since the Hezbollah Tofu discussion created so much heat, try and keep it nice here people.
posted by Megami (89 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I blame bush.
posted by Eekacat at 2:12 PM on March 27, 2008


What's behind the meat curtains? I guess they'll never know.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:14 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Huh, the house gets 10% of the cost of VIP "dances"? Do those dances include "hummus"?
posted by orthogonality at 2:14 PM on March 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Interestingly enough, improbably named owner Johnny Diablo is currently trying to sell the sucker.
posted by cortex at 2:16 PM on March 27, 2008


"People eat at strip clubs?"

of course not...but they seem to be stripping at vegan restaurants.....
posted by HuronBob at 2:16 PM on March 27, 2008


I live in Portland, and this amuses me to no end. The opening line of the article is absolutely true; the number of vegans and stripclubs here borders on the ridiculous. I'm pretty sure that if all those vegan strippers biked to work the entire city would implode.
posted by Caduceus at 2:22 PM on March 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


People eat at strip clubs?

In Portland, yes. The Acropolis is legendary (at least locally) for their four dollar steaks. No, seriously.
posted by dersins at 2:22 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


proof that veganism leads to lax morals and the destruction of our children and society.

veganism must be criminalized
posted by Stynxno at 2:28 PM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's really just a step or two beyond the Lettuce Ladies, yes? I go see them once a year, when they hand out free hot dogs on Capitol Hill.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:29 PM on March 27, 2008


I work just a few blocks from this place.
Just a few months previous, it was a pirate-themed vegan restaurant. Even then we (my co-workers and I) would dare each other to go there.
I guess that wasn't working, so they changed to a vegan strip club. Now the dares have escalated.

Interestingly, not 30 minutes before this was posted, another co-worker mentioned that it now has a "for sale" sign out front.

Also, they were featured on a morning news show a couple months ago. Money quote? "We put the meat on the pole, not on the plate". I'll see if I can locate the video of that interview. It's well worth watching.
posted by mrnutty at 2:29 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


People eat at strip clubs?

One time when I had an office job right after college a co-worker asked me if I wanted to go to a strip club for lunch one Friday, because the woman with the Guiness Book of World Record's largest breasts would be performing. I said yes, because, well, how often do you get asked that question? So we went, and I had a cheeseburger (not bad), a Budweiser and watched a woman with breasts like oblong beach balls dance to AC/DC. I won an extra bucket of beer for answering a trivia question*, and I remember quite clearly sitting in the smoke and Angus Young vibrations, eating my burger and drinking my Budweiser and watching the giant breasts bounce and thinking to myself, "goddamn it, I live in America."

*Correct answer: Duran Duran, A View to a Kill
posted by Bookhouse at 2:30 PM on March 27, 2008 [37 favorites]


the article isn't really making this too coherent for me. what I gather from it is:

1. a vegan strip club opens, which means the overpriced food is vegan and the strippers don't wear animal products.

2. some feminists are unhappy about this, because they presumably are unhappy about the stripping regardless of the veganism, so not really a big story there.

3. some vegans are unhappy about this, because they presumably are unhappy about the stripping, not the veganism, but it isn't made especially clear why.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a cookbook author, is among those who believe such images twist the vegan message. “As a feminist, I’m not keen on the idea of using women’s bodies to sell veganism, and I’m not into the idea of using veganism to sell women’s bodies,” she said.

okay, as a feminsit she's not keen on the idea of using women's bodies to sell things. understood. but if she's not into the idea of using veganism to sell women's bodies, would she prefer they use meat? what precisely is the relationship that bothers her vegan side?

I guess what I'm getting at is, if I were a vegan I would think "strip clubs that serve meat and dairy = bad. strip clubs that serve vegan food = less bad, even if I still think it's bad." I mean, if I were about to get up in arms about something, (if I were a vegan, that is) it'd be the establishment that violates TWO of my principles, not the one that only violates one. mind you, I'm neither against strip clubs nor eating meat, so that could explain why this makes no sense to me.
posted by shmegegge at 2:34 PM on March 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Oh, please New York Times, continue to promote the old saw that all feminism is sex-negative, anti-speech feminism. If only feminists were not torn asunder by this whole vegetarian/vegan/omnivore division, all feminists everywhere would agree on everything all the time!
posted by Skwirl at 2:42 PM on March 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm all about the free-range strippers.
posted by browse at 2:43 PM on March 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


If anyone writing about this place had actually seen it or, eeek, gone inside, it'd be a non-issue. It's going to fail as a business and not because they're vegan---because it's a shitty idea, a shitty location, and rumor is the owner is a douche.

Ah---BlogtownPDX is reporting that it's for sale. Tooooo bad.
posted by hulahulagirl at 2:43 PM on March 27, 2008


Oregon law about liquor licenses requires that such establishments do a certain proportion of their business in food. There used to be a disco near where I worked that had really wonderful lunches at low prices -- and the reason was that in the evening no one wanted to eat, and they had to sell a certain amount of food in order to keep their liquor license.

I gather that it's not uncommon for strip joints which have liquor licenses to have excellent food at low prices, for much the same reason. But I'm not sure they're going to do enough business if their menu is vegan.

Of course, given that it's Portland, I could be wrong.
posted by Class Goat at 2:52 PM on March 27, 2008


mrnutty : Just a few months previous, it was a pirate-themed vegan restaurant.

It's sad watching owners spin their creative wheels trying desperately to find out what the hell it is that the public wants before they are forced out of business.

In this case the answer seems to be pretty obvious: people don't want to eat vegan food served to them by pirates, nor do they want to eat vegan food around strippers. What they obviously looking for is to eat regular food around pirate strippers (who could be vegans, I suppose).

I'm like some kind of marketing genius or something. Someone give me money.
posted by quin at 2:59 PM on March 27, 2008


I'm curious, if the strippers aren't made of meat...what are they made of?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:00 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


And, she said, men have told her that it works. “We’ve gotten a lot of men eating vegetarian, if not vegan.”

Oh my...how adding just two "S"'s to the types of people can totally make this article more enjoyable.
posted by fijiwriter at 3:01 PM on March 27, 2008


hmm, weird, just last night mrs. acid freaking was telling me she read in this week's WW that the club was for sale because it did a lot better business than the owner expected. i'm looking for that on the WW site, but can't find it yet...
posted by acid freaking on the kitty at 3:10 PM on March 27, 2008


hmm, ok, never mind about that. i'll have to chastise mrs. acid freaking accordingly.
posted by acid freaking on the kitty at 3:11 PM on March 27, 2008


Portland has more strip clubs per capita than Las Vegas.
posted by gottabefunky at 3:12 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Casa Diablo's MySpace page, curiously, doesn't mention that it's vegan. I thought that was the point of it... Can't say I'm surprised at its failing, though -- that's a hell of a miserable location.
posted by mumkin at 3:14 PM on March 27, 2008


People eat at strip clubs?

Hell, there's a freaking "Legs and Eggs" late-night buffet at a strip-club here in Dallas (SFW)
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:17 PM on March 27, 2008


As a vegan who likes nekkid people, I'm all in favor of this. Doesn't sound like it's going to be around too long, though. Based on my one visit to Portland, I'd probably recommend Union Jack's instead.
posted by kyrademon at 3:24 PM on March 27, 2008


Are the strippers vegansexuals?
posted by iviken at 3:41 PM on March 27, 2008


Presumably this is where Bill O'Reilly gets his "falafel".
posted by The Bellman at 3:55 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ahem *Union Jack's* cough
posted by ZaneJ. at 3:56 PM on March 27, 2008


okay, as a feminsit she's not keen on the idea of using women's bodies to sell things. understood. but if she's not into the idea of using veganism to sell women's bodies, would she prefer they use meat? what precisely is the relationship that bothers her vegan side?

The issue is not that they're using veganism to sell women's bodies, it is that they're using veganism to excuse the selling of women's bodies. Your question assumes that the business is placing primacy on the food, which I doubt is true of any strip club. Rather, the visage of food ethics seems to be present so that folks can demean women with a bit less guilt. It is a means by which one can crudely affirm one's masculinity and yet remain sanctimonious (It's just good fun! And I'm eating vegan! I really am a good guy!). Dehumanizing women for the sake of humanizing animals is offensive and unproductive. It's the same reason why many feminists get so worked up over PETA advertisements. I really wish this post had been a bit more fleshed out with more documentation of the use of women's bodies around various food issues; it's a growing and interesting phenomenon and there's a lot to be said about the intersections of food and gender.
posted by youarenothere at 4:23 PM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also, some think of vegetarianism/veganism as a feminist issue. See Carol Adams' The Sexual Politics of Meat and The Pornography of Meat.
posted by youarenothere at 4:23 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Have you ever noticed the skin on a long-term vegan? It gets so----translucent. Can't imagine how it would look under strip club lights.
posted by sourwookie at 4:25 PM on March 27, 2008


I guess what I'm getting at is, if I were a vegan I would think "strip clubs that serve meat and dairy = bad. strip clubs that serve vegan food = less bad, even if I still think it's bad." I mean, if I were about to get up in arms about something, (if I were a vegan, that is) it'd be the establishment that violates TWO of my principles, not the one that only violates one. mind you, I'm neither against strip clubs nor eating meat, so that could explain why this makes no sense to me.

A lot of progressives like to believe that they're part of One Big Movement — that the feminists and the vegans and the anti-racists and the localvores and the unionists and the Wal-Mart haters and the medical marijuana advocates and the free-Tibeters are all in it together.

When a guy hires naked women to sell vegan food, it reveals the weakness of the coalition. Turns out second-wave feminism and veganism are two different movements. Not everyone who belongs to one belongs to both. Sometimes they're at cross purposes. Oops.

(These are the same people whose heads explode when labor unions oppose immigration, or when some Buddhists say you shouldn't smoke pot. I guess it's what happens when you try to view the world through a binary filter — your head explodes a lot.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:26 PM on March 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


"Missy Suicide, a founder of the Suicide Girls, a Web site whose hundreds of alt-girl models post erotic pictures of themselves, has been a vegetarian since she was 6. She views her group’s participation in peta2’s “Ink, Not Mink” anti-fur campaign as both pro-animal and pro-woman. “We’re redefining beauty,” she said. “These aren’t the types of girls you’d see in most mainstream media as being beautiful.”

Bullshit. These girls are exactly the same ones who show up in Barely Legal and Hustler. I remember doing an article about the Suicide Girls (and Burning Angel and a couple of others who I think are all dead now) back when they first surfaced, and there's this terminal fucking pretense about how, like, these girls are totally fucking alternative to the mainstream, man. Yeah, they're alternative, like Puddle Of Mudd.

And an anecdote about food at strip clubs: Every year when I worked at Current, our little alt-monthly, the most sought perquisite was an invite to the lunches that the strip clubs threw annually. The Playhouse, particularly, was known for its emphasis on game, from partridge to woodchuck; Deja Vu tended toward catering with a lot of fancy, flashy table layouts.

I have to say that I never, because as a vegetarian, it was much more worthwhile to barter my invites with co-workers so that I could have their beer-fest tokens.
posted by klangklangston at 4:33 PM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


youarenothere writes "The issue is not that they're using veganism to sell women's bodies, it is that they're using veganism to excuse the selling of women's bodies."

Well, considering that they were originally a vegan restaurant with a pirate theme, I'd say the primary product is vegan food and/or veganism, at least from the owner's perspective.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:39 PM on March 27, 2008


nebulawindphone writes "A lot of progressives like to believe ..."

Blah, blah, blah. That was a complete tangent.

This: "if I were a vegan I would think 'strip clubs that serve meat and dairy = bad. strip clubs that serve vegan food = less bad, even if I still think it's bad.'" ... has nothing to do with "progressive" politics. The idea is, wouldn't the "least worst" option still be better than the worst? In one place, they serve non-vegan food. In another, they serve vegan food. All other qualities aside, wouldn't the vegan place be preferable to a non-vegan one?
posted by krinklyfig at 4:45 PM on March 27, 2008


krinklyfig writes "All other qualities aside, wouldn't the vegan place be preferable to a non-vegan one?"

... to a vegan, that is. I'm an omnivore, personally.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:46 PM on March 27, 2008


Well, considering that they were originally a vegan restaurant with a pirate theme, I'd say the primary product is vegan food and/or veganism, at least from the owner's perspective."

To echo the above, the problem is that he didn't open a pirate-themed strip club.

Man, a Pirates/Robots/Ninjas/Dinosaurs strip club would be enough to get me into a strip club again for the first time in, like, 10 years.

Unfortunately, aside from the totally deranged "Adventure Sex" Hustler special that we just put out, very few venues exist to further the fetishization of irony.
posted by klangklangston at 4:48 PM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


As to what I like to eat, um, er, hmm-de-dum... what was the question again?
posted by Class Goat at 4:50 PM on March 27, 2008


Video here: Customers find all skin, no meat, at vegan strip club.

Note that the strippers aren't vegan.

Note that Johnny Diablo seems like a real douchebag, or, as Twisty Faster puts it,
a guy who’s quoted as saying “we put the meat on the pole, not on the plate” is no heroic activist; he’s just another fucking pimp with a smirky angle.

Insert screed on how objectification of women inconsistent with refusal to objectify animals; still haven't done all my dialectics on whether it goes vice versa, too.
posted by felix grundy at 4:52 PM on March 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


felix grundy writes "Note that Johnny Diablo seems like a real douchebag"

Where does a guy like that get the idea to open a pirate themed vegan restaurant? That seems so incongruous with his personality. Maybe it was a lark, just to see if he can make some money off some goofball concept.

I have to agree with klangklangston that a pirate themed strip club is probably the right combination.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:58 PM on March 27, 2008


some think of vegetarianism/veganism as a feminist issue

You have got to be fucking kidding me. Really? Really?
posted by dersins at 4:59 PM on March 27, 2008


You know, I used to think Dear Leader Mathowie was unimpeachable, but now I wonder if he won't be caught at this joint, his inevitable resignation leading jessamyn and cortex to a struggle for control of the site.

Or maybe living in New York is warping my mind.
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:05 PM on March 27, 2008


"some think of vegetarianism/veganism as a feminist issue

You have got to be fucking kidding me. Really? Really?
"

It makes sense on some level, if the lens is one of economic exploitation. They're the same ones for whom Marxism is the cause of their vegetarianism.
posted by klangklangston at 5:12 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


But... the strippers...

They're Made Out of Meat!
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:34 PM on March 27, 2008


"I remember quite clearly sitting in the smoke and Angus Young vibrations, eating my burger and drinking my Budweiser and watching the giant breasts bounce and thinking to myself, "goddamn it, I live in America."

Now, I love America, 'bout near as much as I love my 'tang and beer (read: a lot), but sitting in a brothel in Europe, lungs full of hashish and a kidney full of Stella Artois, it's really easy to think, y'know, I'm really glad I'm not in America right now.
posted by John of Michigan at 6:25 PM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


the fetishization of irony.

Oooh, I love that phrase. I'm totally stealing it. If I ever write anything again other than comments at MeFi.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:09 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I can get a lap dance from this babe I'm heading for Portland right now this minute. Do you think maybe?
posted by jfuller at 7:19 PM on March 27, 2008


"some think of vegetarianism/veganism as a feminist issue

You have got to be fucking kidding me. Really? Really?"

It makes sense on some level, if the lens is one of economic exploitation. They're the same ones for whom Marxism is the cause of their vegetarianism.



I'd be shocked if women in the distant past didn't trade sex for animal meat without a modicum of coercion involved.

You're a man who wants sex? You better have something to offer a woman - and if doesn't appear to great genes, it better be a great bank account or a least a great sense of humor. People who don't think women control sex are misguided. Women who are exploited for sex tend to have other issues, only a portion of which can properly be blamed on men.
posted by crowman at 7:23 PM on March 27, 2008


Opportunism knows no bounds. And that's all this is.

Interesting points, youarenothere, and I admit to not being all that cognisant of the theoretical connection between animal liberation and feminism, but I feel in that PETA case of the pregnant woman in the cage, it's slightly off the mark (note: I am not a close observer of PETA campaigns and so am looking at this with fresh eyes - I don't have an image bank of PETA campaigns exploiting women in my head to compare this to).

As much as I loathe PETA's tactics, methinks their point in choosing a pregnant woman for that cage stunt was a combination of factors: 1) a pregnant person in a cage is a powerful symbol, as being pregnant warrants an extra amount of care if the life they're making is to continue; and 2) it's really hard to get a man pregnant. To me, that was the core of the message, rather than just a "girl in cage".

If it were non-expecting women in cages (as they have no doubt done), then perhaps there would be a stronger argument for it being detrimental to feminism; after all, it seems to me they're saying ''women are vulnerable - just look at those soft bodies in hard cages - animals are no different!". It's more like a free BDSM show, rather than a campaign of shock and awe, and I agree it does denigrate women - and further reinforce negative stereotypes about their role in society & sexuality - in order to bolster their objectives regarding animal liberation.

And therein lies a tip for those who like to thing of things in simplistic dichotomies of liberal vs. conservative: my cause is not your cause.

And klang - right on re. the myth of the 'alternative' regarding sexuality...whatever you think of the movie Juno, that scene where she's talking about "every jock wants the quiet nerdy goth girl" is on the money. When every surf/skate shop is postering pierced people and handing out spiked wristbands by the dozen, you need to re-calibrate what you think of as 'mainstream' and 'alternate'. I wonder what the future holds.
posted by cosmonik at 7:56 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I count myself among the very few people to have actually eaten there when it was a pirate-themed vegan restaurant. Even though we were the only people in the restaurant during peak dinner hours, service was extremely slow, the staff was poorly-trained, the food was terrible, and the owner was very clearly a creep. That said, the interior pirate decor was actually kinda neat and they gave the kids decent-quality pirate toys. Everything else was miserable, so we never went back. (Not to mention, it was way out in the boonies. Way out.)
posted by waxpancake at 8:09 PM on March 27, 2008


"You're a man who wants sex? You better have something to offer a woman - and if doesn't appear to great genes, it better be a great bank account or a least a great sense of humor. People who don't think women control sex are misguided. Women who are exploited for sex tend to have other issues, only a portion of which can properly be blamed on men."

Why frame this as a gender issue? I mean, if you open it up, every interaction can be framed as a trade of mutual interests, but to also toss in the lazy sexist canard about women controlling sex and to try to distance responsibility from men seems to be taking a lot of moderately true statements and working them into a needlessly bitter and sexist comment.
posted by klangklangston at 8:10 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


waxpancake I have also had the misfortune of trying out the vegan pirate fare.

I went with a troop of cooworkers there for lunch. My office as at the Montgomery Park building not too far away...we were celebrating a contractor's liberation from their current line of work and we thought "vegan pirates? Wacky!"

The only thing good about the restaurant was the extra large beer mugs. They had shitty pirate decor (think mannequin with a pirate outfit and posters for pirates of the Caribbean III) and the worst kind of vegan/vegetarian food ever -- simulated meat.

There are so many ways to prepare a delicious meat-free dish -- I can't understand why you'd waste the time to make fake burgers and fries. Anyone who likes burgers and fries will, without fail, feel cheated.

Additionally, Portland has so many strip clubs catering to all walks of stripper seekers and do so without PC apologetics this whole move just makes no sense.

Upthread? Pirate Strippers? Now you're on to something.
posted by device55 at 8:44 PM on March 27, 2008


"People who don't think women control sex are misguided. Women who are exploited for sex tend to have other issues, only a portion of which can properly be blamed on men."

Women "control" sex to the extent that generally men tend to want more sex and/or more sex with random strangers. It's pure supply and demand.

But women who are exploited for sex tend to be exploited by men, at least the way I understand sexual exploitation. Not sure how else it would occur.
posted by bravelittletoaster at 8:45 PM on March 27, 2008


Unless you mean that women who "allow" themselves to be exploited already have low self-esteem, or are brainwashed by years of bimbo video games into thinking they are just meat, so they might as well play the script which is written just for them. No, that still sounds like sexual exploitation to me -- or more like the way a pedophile grooms a child.
posted by bravelittletoaster at 8:52 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


A lot of progressives like to believe that they're part of One Big Movement — that the feminists and the vegans and the anti-racists and the localvores and the unionists and the Wal-Mart haters and the medical marijuana advocates and the free-Tibeters are all in it together.

Exactly. Years ago I a co-worker and I were telling an out-of-town colleague amusing stories about our ill-mannered, racist, misogynistic, illegal-handgun-toting, Reagan-adoring vice-president, who was the orneriest member of the venerable old guard at our even more venerable organization. When we got around to how he missed a board meeting because he got his wallet stolen from the male prostitute he'd picked up the night before, I swear you could see her head explode. "You mean he's gay? How is that possible?"

Not that I think running a strip club necessarily means you're a jerk, but you can be very concerned about the well being of animals and still be a jerk.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:33 PM on March 27, 2008


A lot of progressives like to believe that they're part of One Big Movement — that the feminists and the vegans and the anti-racists and the localvores and the unionists and the Wal-Mart haters and the medical marijuana advocates and the free-Tibeters are all in it together.

Amen to that. The year of the big anti-war protests in the UK, I was going to weekly meetings at the Manchester Buddhist Centre. One of the members was a 'professional protester' - he was the member of an animal-rights organisation and his life's mission was to picket shops (in a non-violent manner) that used fur and such. Nice guy. Anyhoo, another woman there started talking to him about the big protest last month, wasn't it great etc. etc. as though he had been there. When he pointed out he hadn't taken part in the protest, she was shocked - she could not reconcile how someone who was pro-animal rights and pretty much made it his life's mission to protest on their behalf had not marched in the anti-war demo. His reasoning was he was not sure the invasion of Iraq and the overthrowing of Saddam was a bad idea (this was 2003), so he wasn't going to march 'just for the experience of it'.

Moral of the story - morals and ethics are complicated things people. I am a vegan. Doesn't mean I am an animal lover. A friend of mine at work is a rabid capitalist right-winger, and proud of it, yet he hates racists and anti-immigrant advocates, with a passion. We all have our own compasses.

As an afterward - when the same woman mentioned above found out that I, seemingly nice person who attended a Buddhist centre, was married to a member of the military, her head nearly exploded.
posted by Megami at 9:54 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is getting into some weird territory.

I wouldn't say women are sexually exploited only by men; rather, it is the sexual drive of men which makes others see it as profitable to exploit women. The actual exploitation takes place at the hands of profit-oriented entities, involving both men and women.
posted by cosmonik at 11:56 PM on March 27, 2008


Why frame this as a gender issue? I mean, if you open it up, every interaction can be framed as a trade of mutual interests, but to also toss in the lazy sexist canard about women controlling sex and to try to distance responsibility from men seems to be taking a lot of moderately true statements and working them into a needlessly bitter and sexist comment.

Well, others brought up the feminist/vegan angle... I didn't. I didn't mean to sound bitter, I guess I was feeling a little cranky when I wrote that. And I want to be clear that if I do sound bitter, it's most certainly not because I lack good genes and a good sense of humour, the bank account part, well, never mind. :)
posted by crowman at 5:03 AM on March 28, 2008


Women who are exploited for sex tend to have other issues, only a portion of which can properly be blamed on men.

Usually those issues include poverty, substance abuse, and/or mental illness. I guess it's a stretch to say that poverty can be blamed on men but in this country as well as others the sex trade (as opposed to women deciding to become sex workers on their own, totally different intentions, not entirely distinguishable end result) is overwhelmingly male dominated at what you'd call "management" level and to even imply otherwise is completely misunderstanding the nature of the problem of sexual exploitation as opposed to just sex industry workers individually.
posted by jessamyn at 5:53 AM on March 28, 2008


Such a beautiful cross coastal romance. Portland stirs up the pot of creative nonsense and New York will report it into significance.
posted by iamck at 6:11 AM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


A fork in the road just passed.

To make it clear, in my comments above I wasn't referring to sexual exploitation within the sex trade; rather, I was referring to the exploitation of the female sex in broader culture. I should have been more careful in a thread about strippers, but was still stuck in the context of what youarenothere had talked about, re. PETA & the caged pregnant woman.

To hop back on the rails of this thread: jessamyn, not quite sure what you mean by "...the sex trade (as opposed to women deciding to become sex workers on their own)" - are you distinguishing between some form of forced pimping vs. more entrepreneurial-type "independent" escorts? Which category would you say a (vegan or no) stripper fits into? As you rightly point out, it probably doesn't make a difference to the end result either way. However I don't think it's the male domination of sex trade management that brings women into the business; I suspect it's more of a push on the supply side (due to factors mentioned such as abuse, poverty, perceptions of self-worth). Then there are those girls that just think it's cool to be a stripper.

Re. crowman, you seem at once to speak of "women who are exploited for sex tend to have other issues", yet in your original comment seemed to allude more to women exploiting their own sex(uality) and man's weakness for such, to gain materially (re. the "sleeping with men for meat" example).
posted by cosmonik at 6:53 AM on March 28, 2008


"Then there are those girls that just think it's cool to be a stripper."

lol Ya, if they're groomed from birth to think being meat is cool.
posted by bravelittletoaster at 7:40 AM on March 28, 2008


The issue is not that they're using veganism to sell women's bodies, it is that they're using veganism to excuse the selling of women's bodies.

Really? Because the quote I included in my comment says precisely the opposite. Are you trying to tell me what the original speaker ACTUALLY intended to say?

Outside of that, what gives you the impression the veganism is supposed to excuse the stripping, and isn't it possible that you're simply assigning motivations to the establishment owner based on your biases? In the article, the guy sounded to me like he didn't think either veganism or stripping needed much excusing. I'm only guessing, but it seems far more likely to me that he just thought there were vegans out there who'd pay to see strippers in a joint where they could actually eat the food. He is, after all, a vegan for over 20 years himself.

our question assumes that the business is placing primacy on the food,

no it doesn't.

Rather, the visage of food ethics seems to be present so that folks can demean women with a bit less guilt.

The demeaning of women is a feminist issue, not a vegan issue, hence my not understanding where the veganism comes in. How would vegan food make someone who doesn't like strippers go to a strip club? Who would ever think that vegan food would get people who object to stripping to go to a strip club? do you REALLY think that's the idea behind this place? that seems really far fetched to me.

Also, some think of vegetarianism/veganism as a feminist issue.

I know. But if you examine the controversy surrounding the Skinny Bitch books mentioned in the linked article, you'll see that one side of that controversy is the idea that Vegetarianism being more widespread among women is a result of sexism, not a reaction to it. The idea is that vegetarianism and veganism make women skinny, the socially indoctrinated form of beauty in too many peoples' minds, so that's why they're more likely to adopt the lifestyle.

As I said, the veganism thing doesn't make sense as something to object to. A person is perfectly capable of objecting to stripping regardless of the food the place serves.

If I had to guess, I'd say it's more along the lines of what nebulawindphone was saying, with maybe a little something extra. I'd guess that vegans are so protective of their lifestyle that they don't want it involved with anything they don't like. It's nebulawindphone's binary filter, in other words. "How dare you eat vegan food while you're ogling these women! That means I have something in common with you! I'm appalled and therefore I object to the food this place serves!"

I really wish this post had been a bit more fleshed out with more documentation of the use of women's bodies around various food issues; it's a growing and interesting phenomenon and there's a lot to be said about the intersections of food and gender.

Yeah, perhaps it could have used some more substance. There really is a lot out there about food and sexism issues. There's also a lot out there about sex work and sexism, not all of it objecting to sex work.
posted by shmegegge at 8:07 AM on March 28, 2008


if they're groomed from birth to think being meat is cool

Not at all - some just do it for the attention, seeing some sort of glamour in it, perhaps tried burlesque or other 'legitimate' forms of dance but it wasn't enough, whatever. There's a myriad reasons one may choose it as a profession, and not all are because the girl is brainwashed.

For my part, I feel little else but pity when observing the average strip club employee, but they're not all victims.
posted by cosmonik at 8:13 AM on March 28, 2008


All I wanted was a hamburger.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:51 AM on March 28, 2008




Oh, not to pick on you Cosmonik, but if there was no demand, then the supply would dry up pretty quickly. The exploitation comes in because the demand is greater then the supply and in order to satisfy this demand our culture grooms it's members from birth to think of female sexuality as a commodity.

This grooming is what I mean if I were to use the phrase "victim mentality" in this context -- is that what you mean by that phrase? I've wondered if there could really be non-exploitative porn, stripping, prostitution, etc, in a culture (not necessarily the one we're in) and I think it could be possible. But you can only have a truly free choice in the absence of grooming.

Also, I've been wondering how to have these conversations without placing men in a defensive space where they feel as if they are being attacked. Metafilter men may not feel this way, but I know many other men do, and I don't know how to get beyond that. It would be most helpful to have that kind of discussion or imput, as generally no inter-relationship problems are ever solved as long as one party is feeling defensive (and responds accordingly).

Most feminists take the position that the problem is "outside" or "those other men but not you". It's interesting that in discussions of racism more people don't seem to have a problem admitting that they may have an unexamine racial bias.
posted by bravelittletoaster at 9:01 AM on March 28, 2008


Perhaps it is demand-driven, but that doesn't mean the demand-side has forced/coerced/given no choice to the supply side. And I'd argue that human sexuality in general is commodified, just that the degree to which it is made so differs between male and female.

You seem to suggest all porn, stripping and prostitution requires some form on exploitation (presumably of women). What of men in porn? What of gay porn? What of that made purely by females all the way up the chain? Are they necessarily conditioned from birth? Or rather do they just enjoy open displays of sexual conduct?

It's disingenuous to suggest women are incapable of desiring involvement in the sex trade outside of male exploitation. That's up there with the 'women don't desire sex' myth. Such gives the exploiters far too much credit. Women, as humans, are a somewhat diverse bunch, and it's nigh impossible to assign all motivation for engaging in the sex trade as stemming solely from "issues" and/or "exploitation", which was my point above.

Interesting point about not putting men on the defensive. I think many are able to (conveniently!) separate themselves from those they see as exploitative. The 'those men are not you' approach seems more a social contrivance for the sake of civil conversation.
posted by cosmonik at 9:24 AM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I remember doing an article about the Suicide Girls (and Burning Angel and a couple of others who I think are all dead now) back when they first surfaced,

I thought burning angel became a hardcore video company, now, yeah? Are they dead? Am I completely misremembering?
posted by shmegegge at 9:25 AM on March 28, 2008


I find the idea of this completely awesome. I like quorn AND boobs, what's the big deal?
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:14 AM on March 28, 2008


Wait... quorn may not be vegan. But I like the idea of eating something not artery-clogging at lunch and getting to look at a hot girl just like anybody else.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:15 AM on March 28, 2008


Quorn is not vegan as I found out on my honeymoon.
posted by mincus at 10:30 AM on March 28, 2008


No, insanely, Quorn™ contains egg (and a competitor, Veat™ contains whey, I believe). It baffles me that companies don't go just that much further, to find a binding agent or whatever that would make the product acceptably vegan. I mean, really, why limit your market when you're 95% of the way there?
posted by mumkin at 10:31 AM on March 28, 2008


I'm not denying that women have a choice, but I am saying that when the choice is groomed from birth, it cannot be a free choice. That is what some people don't like to hear, they want to believe that the sex worker is not coerced in any way, and by partaking of what the sex worker offers, they themselves are blameless. But it doesn't work that way. Buyers of sex work can only be blameless if society does not groom women from birth to think of themselves as meat.

Men in sex work are a little different, as the dynamics are not the same. Although I could imagine a situation where a little boy is groomed from a young age within his own family to think of himself that way.

I'm trying not to place blame, but it is difficult to not sound as if that is the intention. Feminists usually blame "culture", entirely ignoring that it is actual living breathing individuals who ultimately decide how they are going to react to outside influences.
posted by bravelittletoaster at 11:17 AM on March 28, 2008


bravelittletoaster: lol Ya, if they're groomed from birth to think being meat is cool.

That's awfully personal.

When someone doesn't make precisely the same choices you would make, it doesn't automatically follow that they've acted under duress, hypnosis, lesser ideals, or in defiance of your own cherished personal gods and ethos.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:35 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I'm not denying that women have a choice, but I am saying that when the choice is groomed from birth, it cannot be a free choice. That is what some people don't like to hear, they want to believe that the sex worker is not coerced in any way, and by partaking of what the sex worker offers, they themselves are blameless. But it doesn't work that way. Buyers of sex work can only be blameless if society does not groom women from birth to think of themselves as meat."

That's getting too close to the rather paternalistic "false consciousness" view for my tastes.

There are certainly women in porn (I can't believe that I first typed that as pr0n without thinking) who are exploited, and who are primarily catering to desires that are pretty obviously not their own. There are also more than a few women who know what they're doing, enjoy what they're doing, and get paid well for what they're doing. The problem is that this is a fairly small and self-selecting pool that, through the reach of mass media, gets assigned normative weight. The problem isn't these women being groomed per se, because some of them are pretty canny regarding the industry and their roles (that is to say, this isn't something they're doing unaware, which is what the "groomed" unconscious thesis would require), but that other women who aren't interested in doing this are held up as somehow deficient or wrong because they don't conform to the image of women as being into this.

And yeah, there's still a lot of fucked up misogyny, etc. in the sex industries, including guys who like to feel like they're exploiting women in order to get off, and women who under-estimate their agency and intellectual depth, but you're kind of spouting a reductive second-wave argument that's been rejected by more than a generation of feminists.
posted by klangklangston at 11:46 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought burning angel became a hardcore video company, now, yeah? Are they dead? Am I completely misremembering?

They're still around, mostly because Joanna Angel is still getting paid lots of money to put out incredibly poorly-lit pornography, generally with terrible direction and a philosophical confusion of gonzo abuse for punk ethics.

She's someone who I think picked up the wrong message from feminism and sought to prove that a woman can exploit women (and herself) just as well as any man.

Contrast her with Nina Hartley, who has a genuine affection for the folks she works with, is professional, mentors younger women on how to not get ripped off and how to maintain their assets (not just physically) and genuinely enjoys the fucking that she does, and the difference is pretty stark.

And it's folks like Nina Hartley that give the lie to the idea that all women are exploited or are victims of this false consciousness—she knows what she's doing, she enjoys what she's doing, and she's not at all stupid.

It's that last point that I think is the most salient, just from what I've seen around this business: Stupid men exploit stupid women. The more intelligent (which doesn't necessarily correlate with talent, unfortunately) the people are, the less exploitation seems to happen.
posted by klangklangston at 11:54 AM on March 28, 2008


huh. that is an interesting view of Joanna Angel. not the poorly lit porn part, the exploitation part. I always imagined her stuff was just a bunch of friends screwing around. I suppose that's the idea, though, is to make it look like that. that's a damn shame.
posted by shmegegge at 12:09 PM on March 28, 2008


"When someone doesn't make precisely the same choices you would make, it doesn't automatically follow that they've acted under duress, hypnosis, lesser ideals, or in defiance of your own cherished personal gods and ethos."

"you're kind of spouting a reductive second-wave argument that's been rejected by more than a generation of feminists."


And when someone's idea makes you too uncomfortable, accuse them of some random thing.

Do not, under any circumstances, refute the original claim that society grooms females to be meat.
posted by bravelittletoaster at 4:02 PM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


"but that other women who aren't interested in doing this are held up as somehow deficient or wrong because they don't conform to the image of women as being into this. "

Another word to describe that would be "grooming". Which is kinda the point.
posted by bravelittletoaster at 4:20 PM on March 28, 2008


And when someone's idea makes you too uncomfortable, accuse them of some random thing.

Do not, under any circumstances, refute the original claim that society grooms females to be meat.


Uh… Second Wave Feminism, Third Wave Feminism and Sex positivity.

Normally, I think that wikipedia articles are too thin, especially for something with as much literature and academic discourse as modern feminism, but since you didn't seem to have any idea what second- and third-wave feminism were in the context of discussing strippers and 'groom[ing] females to be meat,' I thought this was a little bit better than just sending you to some Kathleen Hanna mp3s.

Another word to describe that would be "grooming". Which is kinda the point.

Except that you were denying agency and reducing a complex issue to a bit of sloganeering, which was kinda my point.

I got your point.

You missed mine.
posted by klangklangston at 4:49 PM on March 28, 2008


Man, that's unnecessarily combative.

I think the main difference between bravelittletoaster's view and mine is that I tend to assign a great deal more weight to the role of the individual in their own development, whereas toaster seems entirely stuck on social theories of why people become who they are and want what they want.

My problem with that is: if women are "groomed" from the beginning to think of themselves as meat, men are equally groomed to think of women as meat, and to behave in a manner that they've been told is how one appeals to meat. You're negating desire as a factor altogether, as you're essentially saying all parties merely 'want' based on what they've been told they want. This I do not buy.

In which case a gender-based approach to the whole thing is not necessarily useful (as was said by klang upthread, long ago).
posted by cosmonik at 6:15 PM on March 28, 2008


Toaster, your hypothesis appears to be that all women in sex work would agree with the proposition that "women are meat," since it apparently underlies their choice of the profession. To be fair, stating that this is overreaching, stereotyped, or that B does not automatically follow from A, is not "accusing you of some random thing." If I'm "uncomfortable" with anything, it's with unsupported, blanket speculation stated as fact. Why aren't you?

Do not, under any circumstances, refute the original claim that society grooms females to be meat.

It's not his job to refute your claims, it's yours to support them. Your contribution thusfar appears to circular reasoning:

1 Why do some women "think it's cool" to become strippers?
2 Because "they're groomed from birth to think being meat is cool."
3 How do we know that these women think that "being meat is cool?"
4 Because these women think it's cool to become strippers.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:06 PM on March 28, 2008


I thought the only reason men go to strip clubs is to see the beef patty. At least that's what Tracy Morgan said on Howard Stern.
posted by HotPatatta at 8:16 PM on March 28, 2008


I read the above comments which were directed at me, but I couldn't figure out what anyone's point was -- other then no one wanted to refute the original claim that females are groomed from birth to be meat. Perhaps you don't like the word "meat" and while you're entitled to feel that way, it does get the general point across.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see some diaper company roll out a line of diapers with the words "I'm future MEAT!" and people will laugh and buy them. And that's the problem. How about we make a line of diapers for black kids and put "I"m a NIGGER!" on it? Just because something has to do with sex or sexuality, does not automatically render it healthy or even neutral.

It's unfortunate but some people do not always see a problem even when it is right in front of them. Or they resort to denials, excuses or justifications why the thing isn't so awful, so they can avoid or postpone dealing with it. So yes, it is possible for people to have a "false consciousness". It has happened on a scale large and small throughout history. "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it." ~Upton Sinclair

No Cosmonik, I am not saying women have no choice, I am saying that choice is a product of their environment. Free will + environment is not a truly free choice. The environment mitigates and influences that choice. "Choice" is on a continuum; it's not either/or. And when the environment grooms a female to think of herself as meat, it becomes more difficult for that female to think of herself as not-meat. It is an uphill battle.

Last but not least, kid ichorous. Sorry, your thing makes no sense. It is a gross misapplication of the stated assertion. It is as follows:

1. Females are groomed from birth as meat by society.

There is nothing after, because prostitutes are female and are included in the original assertion. You are welcome to prove that females are not groomed from birth as meat by society, if you wish.
posted by bravelittletoaster at 9:26 PM on March 28, 2008


Just because something has to do with sex or sexuality, does not automatically render it healthy or even neutral.

Quite. Aren't you in fact pushing the opposite viewpoint with equal absolutism? That by choosing sexual commerce, there must be something 'unhealthy' in the woman's decision-making process? Rather than accepting that (whether we see their choice as 'right' or not) they see some appeal to the lifestyle of stripping, or dancing, or whatever, and wish to pursue it?

Free will + environment is not a truly free choice.

Okay, so you're saying there's no such thing as truly free choice. For anyone. My point is if you're saying that, you have to recognise similar conditioning on men as well - you can't discount that both genders receive such. It's socialisation at its most basic, which is why I wonder why people continue to make out as if it's a) the only cause of a particular behaviour; or b) the sole provenance of a single demographic.

"Choice" is on a continuum

...yet it seems to be you who's saying that whatever makes a female choose the sex industry is only a product of environment, and cannot be merely because a woman chooses to 'of her own free will' (insofar as any human can ever have free will)? Am I representing your views correctly here?

And if you're tempted to answer "well nobody has free will", then don't you see it's fairly pointless to bring it up in the context of exploitation, which I imagine requires some element of intent?
posted by cosmonik at 10:21 PM on March 28, 2008


Women I know who have taken their clothes off for money include my girlfriend, my best friend, and several close friends. Some of them have also sold sex for money. All of them are educated, feminist, and made a conscious choice after consideration of the implications. (Incidentally, several of them are vegan, and I know at least some have read "The Sexual Politics of Meat" and similar works.)

It would be silly to deny that there are people who are forced into stripping, porn, or prostitution because of economic considerations or outright slavery. It would also be silly to deny that there are inequities in modern culture caused by the fact that men are often viewed as purchaser of sex and women are often viewed as sexual commodities, and that this can screw with people's perceptions and influence their decisions.

But to tell the women I know in sex work that they have essentially been brainwashed is also silly. They know what they're doing, why they're doing it, and what the broader implications are. To say that they are acting without agency is insulting and demeaning.

If you don't want to patronize strip joints because you can't tell who is being forced into it and who is not, that's a fine choice and I applaud it. If you don't want to patronize strip joints because you think every stripper there is by definition a brainwashed fool, you are just being condescending.
posted by kyrademon at 5:12 PM on March 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Aren't you in fact pushing the opposite viewpoint with equal absolutism? That by choosing sexual commerce, there must be something 'unhealthy' in the woman's decision-making process? Rather than accepting that (whether we see their choice as 'right' or not) they see some appeal to the lifestyle of stripping, or dancing, or whatever, and wish to pursue it?"

You're trying to use the argument that "I like it therefore it must be okay" and of course you realize that's a lousy argument for anything -- except when it comes to doing something which has no other basis on which to stand. Personally, I don't think sex work has to be unhealthy, but in our current cultural environment it can hardly be anything but. There's probably exceptions, but as Klang mentioned they're most likely rare.

Besides that, what is wrong with "pushing absolutism" (I don't think I am, but for the sake of argument) when that is exactly what the yay-porn crowd pushes all day long? According to them, liberation MUST equal titilation and pornografication, and anyone who disagrees with them is vehemently scorned as a "prude" or worse. Do you take the same offense with them over their tactics? Why not?

Pardon me, but I am quite suspicious of people who demand more for themselves then that which they grant to others. My suspicion is compounded further when they continually confuse justification with reason.

"yet it seems to be you who's saying that whatever makes a female choose the sex industry is only a product of environment, and cannot be merely because a woman chooses to 'of her own free will' (insofar as any human can ever have free will)? Am I representing your views correctly here?"

It's not an either/or proposition. There aren't two boxes marked "pick free will" or "pick environment". It's an intersection of two inter-related things, at least in my opinion. It's impossible or almost impossible to step outside the environment in which one is indocrinated.

I apologize if I come across as condescending; the topic of ongoing sexism leaves me quite cold. Why on earth would a reasonable person expect anything else? Oh, and of course men are eminently fantabulous in general and are also productss of cultural grooming -- it's just that men receive a benefit to ongoing sexism which I decline to pretend is non-existent or consequence free.
posted by bravelittletoaster at 7:45 PM on March 29, 2008


Apologies for the length but I found much of what you said either logically objectionable or off the mark entirely.

You're trying to use the argument that "I like it therefore it must be okay" and of course you realize that's a lousy argument for anything -- except when it comes to doing something which has no other basis on which to stand.

Actually, I don't realise this. "I like it therefore it must be okay" is the basis of most decisions made by humans. Remember, we are talking about the sex worker using this logic (fallable or not), not I. So I am not using that argument - they are. I have never said sex workers are paradigms of logical thinking. Yet they can like something just because they like it, same as anyone, without men having told them what to think. Your suggestion demeans the female as an individual - and on this topic kyrademon's comment upthread speaks the truth. If you're worried about the 'benefits from ongoing sexism' that men continue to reap, add this one to your list: the belief by people such as yourself that men have the power to control or influence the decision-making mechanism of every woman.

our current cultural environment

What on earth is 'our' current cultural environment? What do you presume to know about my culture that makes that kind of call even possible?

Do you take the same offense with them over their tactics? Why not?

Your immediate asking of 'why not' makes it seem you assume affirmative to the first question. Incorrect. I assure you I do take exception over that kind of absolutism too, because it rejects realities about the sex industry. For some reason you seem to think I am either a part of, or defending, or apologising for the 'yay-porn' crowd. I'm not. So please desist. I've made it abundantly clear in my comments above that there are many circumstances in which environmental factors - including male domination of what equals 'sexy' - CAN influence a female's decision about involvement in the sex trade. I am arguing against the suggestion that they MUST. So I am not being absolutist, and your 'why not?' is a wild shot that missed.

You've argued 'they're absolutist, so what's wrong with me being absolutist?' (paraphrased) - in itself a problematic statement ("they do it so why can't I?"). I give no quarter to their absolutism, nor yours. They are not here trying to defend their position. You are. Are you able to?

It's an intersection of two inter-related things, at least in my opinion.

And in my opinion, if you'd care to read it in the above comments I made. I believe a person can want to be in the sex industry regardless of upbringing, culture, environment you appear to be saying just because environment *can* influence the decision it follows that it *must*, or at least in the vast majority. That's what I am taking issue with.

the topic of ongoing sexism leaves me quite cold

On the contrary, you've heated up quite adequately to the subject.

...it's just that men receive a benefit to ongoing sexism which I decline to pretend is non-existent or consequence free.

Not a single person in this thread has denied that, nor asked you to pretend anything. If you're looking for a place where you're going to be the sole bastion of feminist thought and defend against a yay-porn crowd, you're really in the wrong community.
posted by cosmonik at 10:47 PM on March 29, 2008


That sign was interesting, I didn't realise vegans eschewed silk and wool. How far down the food chain do those who worry about killing caterpillars go? Do they avoid treating head lice? Forgo treated water because it kills thousands of microorganisms per litre? Try to avoid killing bacteria?
posted by Mitheral at 2:43 PM on April 2, 2008


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