Why Strippers Triumph Over Media Stereotypes of Sex Workers
There’s no denying that sex work is heavily stigmatized. Strippers and other sex workers are seen as the product of a broken system with oftentimes poor or nonexistent job prospects. Yet as the stigma slowly dissipates, the stripper industry is making a much-needed shift in how it confronts the unfounded belief that these individuals are victims and exist on the margins of society. Here’s why strippers triumph over media stereotypes in today’s culture.
Notable Strippers Leading the Dance Revolution
The most well-known strippers to emerge in recent years are Rihanna, Cardi B, and Amber Rose. All of them have helped to propel the stripper culture by challenging negative stereotypes and speaking out about their experiences as independent and powerful artists who are respected for their work.
Cardi B is particularly known for being vocal about her former life as a stripper. In her interviews, she has proudly shared her success at the club. Similarly, Rihanna has used her art to celebrate her past as a stripper. She has openly talked about her experiences and encouraged other women to, “take control of their bodies and their lives.”
Protests and Grassroots Movements
These notable figures in pop culture have helped propel a movement to normalize sex work. Recently, strippers, dancers, and entertainers have come together to create grassroots movements which are challenging the all-too-common stigmatization of sex workers.
Take, for instance, the hashtag, #stripperlivesmatter. It cropped up online in response to harsher laws and more aggressive policing tactics that target sex-work institutions. It quickly gained traction on social media, and prompted protests in cities around the United States.
This hashtag and other online communities are leading the way for strippers. For far too long they have been seen as objects of scorn and pity. But these campaigns create a much-needed safe space for strippers, allowing them to stand up for their rights and share their stories.
Development of ‘Stripper Lit’
The stripper culture has flared up and continues to grow into new and exciting directions. The popularization and development of ‘stripper lit’, or books about the experience of being a stripper, has helped stripped grow and expand as a niche market.
These books celebrate the experiences and work of strippers, and offer a unique glimpse at the emotion and humanity behind the work. This is especially important as it provides an avenue where strippers can tell their stories, allowing society to better understand the realities of working in the industry, from the struggles to the successes.
The Future of Strippers in Media
As media continues to be a pervasive influence in our modern lives, sex workers as a whole and strippers in particular, have begun to garner more positive attention. Movies such as ‘Hustlers’ leverage Hollywood’s influence and help to shape society’s perception of the industry.
In addition, streaming sites such as Netflix have dedicated platforms that are devoted to showcasing stories from sex workers. From ‘Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On’ to ‘Sex, Explained’, these documentaries address sex work and its implications in a genuine way.
What’s certain is that the fight against stigma is far from over. But progress is being made in the form of major stars, powerful organizations, and a solidarity of sex workers who all together are propelling stripper culture into a brighter future.