Defining yourself as something other than a stripper

Chase Kelly —  October 25, 2012 — 7 Comments

No matter what your job is in our economy driven society, it defines you-so when you become a stripper (or sex worker), that means something pretty serious.  Everyone asks you what you do, and every time, you have to agonize over what to say, or choose to just blurt it out and take the social consequence (Read So, what do you do?).  The worst part isn’t the strangers, though.  It’s your friends, and sometimes even your family.  The feeling of being a novelty to the people you love is really hard.  I remember a conversation I had with an escort friend, in which she said she felt like a girl we both knew kept her around to be able to say, “This is my escort friend, ____.”

People have a bizarre curiosity when it comes to what we do for a living.  It can make it really hard to feel cared about when you have a job like ours, the only people who understand are other girls who do what you do, which makes you feel crazy, because then all of your friends are strippers, and what does that say about you?!  Being a social outcast is something that NO ONE wants to be, especially people who have never really felt “normal,” like us.  Finding a balance between your identities can seem almost impossible sometimes.  I have googled obsessively to figure out how to keep my professional and personal life separate, but like everything else, the results were aimed towards young professionals in an office setting.  Being that we are a fringe tribe of people, most “stuff” won’t apply to us.  We need to create it ourselves and embrace that we are a little bizarre, a little different, and beautifully unique.  That’s what Survive the Club is.

So, all of your friends who “get you” are strippers, big deal!  Strippers need to stop beating themselves up for liking each other.  Somewhere along the way we were told, “Strippers are junkies and liars and thieves, and they will fuck you over, steal your customers, steal your boyfriend, and kick your dog,” and, “women never get along.”  Despite being women and strippers OURSELVES, we still assign these qualities to others, thinking that we are the only ones who are cut from a different mold.  This kind of “strippers suck” (or “sex workers suck”) (or “women suck!”) attitude just adds to our own self loathing and keeps us divided, and keeps us from making progress!  I don’t know whose idea it was to make strong minded, empowered women hate each other, but it’s a bad idea.  We, more than anyone else, need a little love.  Maybe no one else can see it, but we can recognize in each other that strength and independence are born out of hardship and loss.  More than anyone, we deserve a little tenderness, and there is no reason not to give it to one another.  Of course, avoid the girls who are life sucking leeches.  In this industry you need to learn who those girls are and recognize them (and be mature enough not to talk shit, just to ignore them!) and who can help you become the woman you want to be.  This is a job that lacks mentorship, and that sucks.  I would have done things SO MUCH differently if I had someone I could ask questions to, bounce ideas off of, and adjust my behavior to not repeat their mistakes.

Outside of work, explain to your friends that you don’t really want to talk to much about it.  Tell them not to ask how much money you make, ask them not to probe about your customers and how they act.  Encourage your family and civilian friends to treat you the same way they did before, do your best to act the same way you did before, and tell them that you’ll let them read your memoir after you write it.  When you need to vent, know that there is a community here for you to do that to.  You can email me anytime with your thoughts, concerns, questions, or ramblings and I promise to respond.  Keep hobbies outside of work that you love, whether it’s learning a new language, going to school, making jewelry, painting, yoga, WHATEVER, but something else that has a community that you practice with.  I am a loner, so many of my hobbies are “on my own” hobbies, but I have learned that the community ones really keep me much more grounded in reality.  Thank you, girls, for being part of my community.  I am SO lucky to have you.

xx

Chase

**featured image by Lee Jinju

Chase Kelly

Posts

Founder of SurvivetheClub.com. I have been dancing for 9 years and have been working in clubs and the adult industry in general for 14. Survive the Club is my passion project and I have faith in our community. Looking to increase the odds of EVERY sex workers' personal and financial success.

7 responses to Defining yourself as something other than a stripper

  1. 

    I’d way rather be friends with strippers! Whenever I go to LA parties all people talk about is what celebrity they’re working with and talking shit about people that aren’t there. Strippers are way more interesting. We compare who’s had the strangest fetish customer (mine was armpits), whether we should stay with 8 in heels or go back to 7, and comparing new pole tricks. I’d way rather talk about that. Then I go make jam to keep myself sane.

    • 

      Ohh, I met a girl who had a customer who had a sneezing fetish! She actually snorted pepper for money!!! I had a customer once who liked leftovers dumped into his pants. He wore a diaper! What theeee fuuuuck, Fiona? Also, anyone reading this, support my friend Fiona! platformsandpoles.com

  2. 

    I just ran across your website today and I am very impressed. The issues you expose need to be addressed to society. Thank you for being the one to do so.

    I wish someone would have told me how to recognize that connecting with people who enjoy the same activities as myself, besides stripping, would keep me sane and improve my income.

    Being a novelty in our society(sometimes even in our own family) is an interesting experience. I am not sure anyone ever gets used to it all the way? However, the coping mechanisms we choose define us!

    xoxo
    Zi-Fi

  3. 

    Love this post and it’s so true. We are a “fringe” culture that society doesn’t understand how to behave around (super annoying btw). And yes: hobbies, hobbies, hobbies!

    • 

      I KNOW! I loooooove hobbies, so much so that I have started building jobs out of them. I sell dance clothes, I write (this blog and the book), and I style for fashion photos. I NEED to be busy in the day or dancing becomes my whole life and I am even more stigmatized.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. You Are Not a Whore No Matter What Anyone Says About It. « www.SurviveTheClub.com//A STRIPPER BLOG - January 13, 2014

    […] you are a stripper and you’re having a hard time with your identity, you can figure it out.  You can determine what is going to define you.  Instead of going shopping for your 100th pair of cheeky panties, you can make a plan to […]

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