Maybe it's because I'd been reading a stripper's blog before I found out about this book, or maybe it was because I'd been having something of a winning streak when it came to picking out nonfiction, but this book left me cold in the end.
About half of the book is the writer's own memoir of her time performing in a peep show (which isn't quite the same as stripping), and the rest consists of mini-biographies of some of her co-workers, along with a couple of very short chapters about the author working in a couple of strip clubs. The book starts off with the part focused on the author- which may not be a problem for some readers, but I found the author very unsympathetic ("My adoring college boyfriend bought a house with me! My parents were kind enough to give me money for it! OMG I HATE THEM ALL FOR TYING ME DOWN. Wait, responsibility for your own decisions? That's a thing?"), both in the beginning chapters and the later chapters where she returns to stripping to do a little sociological research.
I loved the chapters where she brought in the very different perspectives of the women she worked with, though, and between that and the quality of the writing (just descriptive enough, without getting prudish and close-mouthed or going into shock-value territory) I did get a reasonable amount of enjoyment out of the book.
i read this for a class, and ended up really enjoying it.
From Publishers Weekly:
The term "feminist stripper" may be ironic, but it's "not an oxymoron," journalist Eaves explains, as she looks back on her own experiences working naked. In 1996, Eaves was in serious debt, dreaming of graduate school but unable to make house payments with her boyfriend, whom she no longer wanted to marry. She could keep working temp jobs or try stripping, which she knew paid more, although she didn't know what to think about it. Had these women "found a sort of freedom" she lacked? Peep show dancing was a revelation; it gave her control, as it was her body that had the power to give men the sexual release they desperately craved. While this sexual power was "exhilarating," it left Eaves somewhat "disappointed," confirming some of her low expectations of men. Given that most of the male (and a few female) lovers of the various strippers in this book found it impossible not to resent their partner's work, relationship strains emerge as one of the few real hazards of this apparently lucrative occupation. True, Eaves draws mostly on the experience of working at Seattle's Lusty Lady, a women-run business with better politics than the average sleazy strip joint, but her point remains: if stripping is a dangerous occupation for women, it's not the customers who're the threat, it's what it does to a woman's head. Eaves manages to avoid moralizing in favor of reportage, and despite the title's ominous promise, keeps the philosophizing to a minimum. BOMC, QPB, Venus and Inbook alternate selections.
Interesting book exploring the world of exotic dancers in a non-judgmental way. Motivations, behaviors, etc. Exploitative vs empowering.