It wasn’t only the earning potential that led Elena to try lap-dancing – she now believes that she, and women in general, are socialised to see it as an inviting occupation. “I thought, well, I’m a sex object anyway, I might as well have it out on the table. It was as though I felt I couldn’t do anything else. Everywhere I look I’m being told that my main source of power is my sexual power, my body is the best thing I have to offer and so to use those things in your job is empowering. But sexual power isn’t power. It’s meaningless in the real world.”
Lap-dancing reinforced all Elena’s negative beliefs about herself and about men. “The men just see you as an object, not a person, and whether you are equally engaged in their desire is irrelevant. Increasingly, you learn to despise the men because of the way they perceive you. Lap-dancing is about creating a situation whereby the men feel they are doing you a favour – that’s the way the game is set up, so all the power is with the customer.” She believes that for men who visit lap-dancing clubs, enjoyment derives primarily from handing over the money, not from the dance itself.
Definitely worth reading the whole article. The Lilith Project’s report on the rise in sexual violence in Camden after the introduction of four strip clubs can be read here, and Object’s website is here.