A closer look: Why do some women CHOOSE to strip?

Posted: April 24, 2006 in Uncategorized

The question alone will thrust a percentage of you to think that I am justifying the alleged rape of the woman who worked as a stripper by Duke University lacrosse team members. If you want to go there with that foolish assumption, go ahead with it.

The fact is, women in this country who strip for a living do so because that is what they choose to do–just like men choose to go to strip clubs to watch them (supply/demand). There are no forces of race or class that bring these two groups together–just need. During this whole national debate regarding this Durham rape case, I’ve reached my fill of armchair activists that want to use poverty as a reason why this young woman was “driven” to strip in front of “white” men.


In an earlier post I mentioned that two reasons why women chose to strip is because the money is good and quick. There are also much deeper reasons that I was not ready to address until now.

Columnist Bonnie Fitzpatrick who writes for The Pendulum (a campus newspaper for Elon University) does a much better job addressing this particular issue than I at this point in her article entitled “Working at a strip club: Is it the best choice for making money?”. First, here is a brief description of Elon University for those who are not familiar with that institution:

Elon University is a private liberal arts university in Elon, North Carolina founded in 1889 by the Christian Church, which is now the United Church of Christ. Formerly known as Elon College, it became a university in 2001. Elon is sometimes referred to as the “Ivy League of the South”. The 575 acre (2.3 km²) campus features old oak trees, brick sidewalks, a fountain, and two lakes. Elon is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. (from: Wikipedia) 

Here are some excerpts of Fitzpatrick’s article:


“I will be the first to admit that I would love to have more money. I think any girl would say the same. But a rising trend at Elon that I cannot seem to understand is the number of girls working at strip clubs. I can sympathize with the desire to make money. But does any Elon student need money so bad that she would need to work at a strip club to get by?

I do not want to offend anyone who works in a strip club. I myself know a few girls who do. But at a university that costs as much as Elon and brings in as many middle and upper class families as it does, I question the real motives behind why an educated and, almost certainly, well-off young woman would want to work in a strip club. I don’t think that money is the only driving force.

Since this summer the number of girls I have known of working in strip clubs has risen tremendously. I cannot help but wonder why, since these same girls are driving new cars and sport the latest fashions. If it was money that was lacking, it seems reasonable that their parents could help them out if they could send them to Elon and buy them a nice car.

Now, for the most part, the girls who work at the strip clubs work as cocktail waitresses or at the door. But if they aren’t stripping, why not work in a regular bar or restaurant?

I know from talking with girls who work as cocktail waitresses at a local strip club that on a slow night they will make no more than a typical server at a place like Outback. But they have much more clean up duties after hours than a normal restaurant employee.”

“Most Elon girls are not single parents trying to raise a child on their own, or trying to support a drug habit. And, from what I see they really don’t lack confidence enough to feel they can only gain it by working in a provocative industry.

The only answer that I am left with is that our culture has allowed young women to express their sexuality so openly that it is no longer even surprising to see middle- and upper-class women working in an industry that used to be dominated by the drug addicts and the truly poor.” (click here to read the entire article)


  1. Brian says:

    Like the article and its attempt to look at the reality of the stripper and the felt necessity by some of these women to make such a choice. First off, I respect women as a balance to the male and female whole, but strippers kind of lose points with me no matter the reason they do it. I think it sucks that we have this idea of something like this being credible if you are poor are trying to get by in college. It seems that there is a more deeper moral issue here. As for what she mentioned about respect I think the most important respect level starts within ones self. Does American society teach self respect ? The all popular “image” who defines it ? I don’t really care whether people respect me or not if I respect myself first. I’m male but I think men especially black men have to wrestle with image and is this what I should do, is this how I should put myself out there. The bottom line is we live in a free country but at what point do we take responsibility and stop being led into treacherousness by the decisions we make behind money ?

  2. Saudia says:

    On issues like these I am the typical fence rider. On the one hand my morality tells me that shaking your butt for money is wrong. But then my capitalist side says shake what you mamma gave ya. I think some women especially feminist like to think these women are being abused or taken advantage of. I disagree. While clearly some women choose this path becuase of past abuse some choose it for the quick buck. And by the way if men didn’t want to see T&A then these clubs would close down.

  3. Brian says:

    I like my T and A in the comforts of my own home.

  4. plez... says:

    I am convinced that there is a lack of self-respect and a peculiar presence of self-hate associated with the stripper/prostitute industry. I lump the two together because a fair number of strippers I have had a chance to encounter were prostitutes as well. And their business lends itself to the prostitution of their dignity well before the sale of their bodies.

    There were strippers at my bachelor’s party and just about every bachelor party I’ve been to in the last 20 years! These young ladies were usually below average in the attractiveness scale, they were very rarely in good shape(most seem to be flabby), very few appeared to have any real skill at dancing, they carried themselves with a supreme lack of dignity, and felt their self-worth was found by shaking their mammaries or doing “wierd” things with their coochies! At my bachelor’s party, I spoke briefly with the young ladies and respectfully asked them to NOT touch me during their “show” (I had well over 60 guys at my party, so they had plenty of attention and made plenty of cash)!

    The risk of what allegedly happened with the Duke lacrosse team could’ve occurred at any number of events that I have attended where strippers were present. Each of these parties included large numbers of men, a few women, and usually LOTS of mind-numbing alcohol. I must say that in a number of instances, the girls’ “pimp” was also in attendance, but that person was usually more concerned with collecting the money (in the form of single dollar bills) that were thrown, tossed, and rubbed on the young women.

    The income from stripping is not that great, since the young ladies usually have to “pay” their “employer” to get away for the evening to strip at a private party AND I’m sure the “pimp” doesn’t work for free. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of these young ladies were high on drugs or have a drug habit to support.

    What would lead someone to such a life? I can’t say, but I’m sure that you will not find ONE stripper who is oozing with self-confidence and self-worth! I only pray that my daughter will never find herself in such dire straits that will drive her to participate in such a tawdry industry. Yuck!

  5. Saudia says:

    You condeem them but yet you still sit and watch. Even had them at your party. What does that say about you.

  6. plez... says:

    Saudia wrote: You condeem them but yet you still sit and watch. Even had them at your party. What does that say about you? [I added the question mark]

    I reply: I was offering my insight into why women may CHOOSE to strip. That’s a different issue as to why I would CHOOSE to sit and watch… start a post about that and maybe I’ll submit myself for your psychoanalysis. *SMILE*

  7. Shawna says:

    Women strip because men pay them well to do so.

    Men love sex and the women who sell it… i’s that simple.

  8. Duane says:

    And there is absoulutely no enjoyment on the part of women that do this kind of work? Its a two-way street here…and the THIS street, the main intersection in NEED and SATISFACTION.

  9. Michelle says:

    I used to strip, I think at the time you try to forget where and what you are doing for a job.The more alcohol you drink the easier it is then the next morning you look at all your money and you try to justify it but when it comes down to it you feel dirty and worthless.Still there is nothing wrong with it , it does help alot of people in a time of need, there is alot more married men there then wives would like to believe.

  10. Saudia says:

    I still remain on the fence. But if it makes you feel dirty why not go work at McDonalds or as a janitor.

  11. Carly says:

    I am working as a stripper now, but it wasn’t really by my choice (I know everyone will say it HAD to be, but you don’t know the circumstances behind it). I started as a waitress at a strip club because I was saving for a car while going to college. No I’m not supporting my way through college, but while taking a full 15 hr courseload each semester, balancing my time between classes, and studying, it was a lot easier to find time to study, only having to work 3 days a week, and making a lot more money than working a 5 day week at McD’s. Then came the day when a man, a pimp and I didn’t realize it at the time, started buying me a couple drinks, and I eventually was talked into trying the stripper ‘carreer’. That night, I drunkenly agreed to go see his other girl who was supposed to teach me to walk in heals, and went back with hit to his apartment. I practiced a bit, then went to sleep, waking up the next day realizing what the fuck I had done. But now it is a bit too late to go back. After I went to sleep he took my money that I’d made that night and what little I had saved previously that I only brought to exchange my 20’s for hundreds and had been planning to take back to my dorm, totalling about $900. He ‘holds’ our money and he decides what to do with it. He has threatened me that if I leave he has a number of people who can take care of me, if I turn him in, they’d do the same. He still allows me to go to school and says that this is a way of building my ‘street smarts’, preparing me for graduation so I’ll be able to stand up to people though he is breaking me down in the process. I realize I have no real feelings it seems anymore ane it feels as if he’s broken my soul. I don’t dare defy or question anything he says or he’ll hit me or scream at me for hours. I just feel so empty and I don’t know what to do. I am in my dorm at this moment in time, only because I have a research paper due tomorrow, though I can hardly even concentrate to do it. I am only 19 and I feel I’ve already flushed my life down the drain. The worst part is I see this girl, my ‘House Wife’ (and we call him Daddy, D in public) and she blindly follows everything he says. I’ve tried to tell her something in confidence, only to have him come to me and question me about it later, and I realize that by staying here much longer, this will be me in the future…

  12. ergo says:

    I like the last post about the McDonald’s or Janitor. I met a stripper once, who was nothing but class and intelligence. I gave her a little bit of money while she was up on the stage (my last one, I swear), and after she was done, she came over to chat. She invited me up to the bar, and started to buy me drinks. Seriously, this has never happened to me before, but I started to chat with her, and found out that she was an IT professional, who only worked there occasionally, to fulfill her own perversion. She said that since her last long term relationship, she doesn’t date much, since alot of guys don’t even notice her in her role at work, or think that she is unapproachable. Men seem to change in the environment of the club, and the girls become the aggressive one…forcing themselves to talk to guys. The guys make believe that the girl is truly interested, and in some cases they may be, I mean they probably go to the available guy that is the least intimidating, or better looking, or maybe they just see an opportunity. Anyway, she was right, I probably wouldn’t have approached this woman in “real-life”, since I would have been intimidated or worried about getting shot down. Besides, I’ve seen it time and again, a beautiful woman with an older, or uglier man than you would assume she’d be with — but woman aren’t as visually stimulated as men — they value other things. Maybe, since their clothes are already off, it forces the guy to really listen — which probably turns us on even more– when we actually listen to the girl. Even if whatever she’s saying could be a complete lie — she can be whoever she wants to be, and feel sexy to boot.

    God I love research.

  13. rayray says:

    My feel on the whole thing is if someone wants to work in a strip club may she be stripping or bartending or cocktailing it is her choice. I personally work as a cocktail in a strip club let me tell you I have a regular full time job and working one night a week cocktailing makes me more money then in one week at my job. I dont let the men touch me or talk down to me. I am not ugly or pathetic. Actually I was chosen as 1st runner up at the Mrs. Wyoming America beauty pageant a few years ago. I am married I have been for 10 years. We have 3 children. I am from a upper middle class family. I have two great parents who are still married and support my decisions 100%. To discuss the strippers they are all wonderful women. They are just out to make money. Good money. So if you think everyone who does this type of work is looking to fulfill something that they may be lacking your wrong. We do it because we love it we love the money.

  14. Sky says:

    I feal like sometimes dancing is what I have to do because my back is up against the wall and there is nothing else. I’t’s hard to find a job and when I do find a job they either don’t pay well or if they do pay well, they don’t give me any hours so,it’s like being between a rock and a hard place.It feals like slavery too because of all the work I do for the little pay. I’m tired of working hard then when I get paid, I still don’t have enough money to live off. I’m in school right now to be a paralegal and I will graduate in a year and ten months. I regret not finishing school years ago. I’m twenty eight now. I just need gainful employment so I can have money to live until I graduate and find a job.

  15. Beth says:

    I like to dance and thought about it at one time then remembered someone telling me that between dances the poles are wiped down with alcohol; the smell of alcohol, not the drink although was it Betty Ford who drank rubbing alcohol in desperate times? Another turn off to me was the thought of seeing, dealing, pretending to guys that were nasty looking, dirty, skanky, fat, certainly not for $1 as not even for well, maybe if I could wear a mask, the blind stripper? I think about a pole in my bedroom for my own entertaining purposes with my man/friend/husband, as he would be the determining factor for my decision. We could use real money or funny money, like monopoly, so we would both win, win-win negotiation, and still have respect in the morning. I feel and think that relationships should not be the same old thing, but keep life interesting, both willing and wanting the relationship to work then both have to work to keep it fun, interesting and not boring; but then again if someone is a cheater, liar and abuser then it doesn’t matter since actions speak louder than words. I find that people can justify anything, anyway, any lies, any words, to do what the want to do no matter how good that other person is, being honest not just saying what words sound good, as a person can be the best person and if that other person wants to cheat or do whatever, they will find a reason, excuse, justify, blame the other so to feel they have the right, they are not treated good, they are this or that, whatever, but it all comes down to how I want to live my life and the other wants to live theirs but not to play games with a heart, mind and soul is selfish and wouldn’t want that done to them; the old karma, reap what you sow and etc etc. As I will not settle just to have someone but can have cake, ice cream and a dish with two spoons then dance it off or dance first then double our pleasure? Just think the strippers may make a lot of money but I am sure worth more than $1 – if you are lucky maybe $5 crack whores get more than that to make money; just think how many men can spend $10 on a strip of 10 tickets to not even leave with a stuffed animal for their girl as it is all a show like the carnival; all clowns, make up and escape from reality as make sure you wiped your pole down before leaving or you will be facing more than reality as either the door hits your pole or your pole hits real life rality of home.

    Do these men tell there spouses where they go as they are proud or do they lie as they know they are doing something wrong and a real man who is proud to say they are going to the strip club so then their daughters think it is ok because daddy goes?

  16. jay says:

    Because of our situation inwhich I felt I was enabling my X-Girlfriend, I asked her to leave. She has returned to stripping instead of doing what she “really” thinks she wants to do which is write. I have read her writing and she is talented and has written a screen play and talks about the re-write; however, once again she is back into the strip clubs, prostitution and drugs.

  17. Jod says:

    my roommate is a stripper i feel bad for her i wish she would get out of it. it’s a terriable life no self-esteem your body is like a used piece of furniture. I wish i could help her but she’s to far gone it’s sad to watch.

  18. Rebecca says:

    I am very grateful to hear many of these comments. Rayray, I have true respect for you. I once was a stripper and did it with much respect. I was not usually fully nude. My bottom was covered. I preferred that over full nudity because it was very degrating to get $1 for showing a part of myself I fully was proud of. I can get more than a $1 from any man I have became friends with, without showing myself.

    When stripping, I “so called” befriended a pimp who wanted me to work for him. I told him I was making the decision to go back to college and he explained how “his girls” did not need to go to college. He ment nothing but I found myself throughout college wanting to prove to him that I am a better person through college.

    After I graduated, I realized it was more important to prove to myself I did it. I DID IT…. Unfortunity, I find it hard now not to seek the industry out once again since I lack the finances coming out of college. I have applied at a few strip clubs to become a waitress, and am to start soon, but still question if this is fitting to my professional standards being that I have a Business degree in Marketing. I am raging war with myself internally to do or not to do this. I struggle and am finding it difficult to place my Faith in letting go of what I have known to be a lucrative industry and become the self-respecting women that I have been raised to be. It is a daily struggle when I am faced with easy money or know that a better life is out there that I must have far more patience for.

    I respect all opinions & comments above. It is important to me knowing whether entering back into such industry, even as a waitress, will hurt my chances of any professional opportunities in my future. I also fear that it will hurt my opportunties in finding a respectful man, if I decided to return on the short term decision.


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