Premises associated with commercial sex—including brothels, striptease clubs, sex cinemas, and sex shops—have increasingly been accepted as legitimate land uses, albeit ones whose location needs to be controlled because of assumed ‘negative externalities’. However, the planning and licensing regulations excluding such premises from areas of residential land use are often predicated on assumptions of nuisance that have not been empirically substantiated. Accordingly, this paper reports on a survey of those living close to sex industry premises in New South Wales, Australia. The results suggest that although some residents have strong moral objections to sex premises, in general residents note few negative impacts on local amenity or quality of life, with distance from a premise being a poor predictor of residents’ experiences of nuisance. These findings are considered in relation to the literatures on sexuality and space given regulation which ultimately appears to reproduce heteronormative moralities rather than respond to genuine environmental nuisances.
The visibility of striptease (‘lap dancing’) as a workplace and site of consumption has grown significantly over the past 15 years in the UK. This article draws on the first large scale study of stripping work in the UK, exploring original empirical data to examine why women continue to seek work in an industry that is profoundly precarious and often highly exploitative. It suggests that rather than either a ‘career’ or a ‘dead end’ job, many women use lap dancing strategically to create alternative futures of work, employment and education. It is argued that precarious forms of employment such as lap dancing can be instrumentalized through agentic strategies by some workers, in order to achieve longer term security and to develop opportunities outside the sex industry. As such, it is averred that engagement in the industry should instead be understood in a wider political economy of work and employment and the social wage.
For the last two years, the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women (COSW) has been hearing testimony from former and current dancers about the current working conditions of strip clubs. There has been a tremendous amount of disagreement between former and current dancers about the working conditions of strip clubs. While the majority of current dancers state conditions in the strip clubs are fine, some former dancers say that risk for sexual assault, HIV/STI transmission, illegal stage fees imposed by strip clubs and coerced prostitution are primary health concerns for dancers. In an attempt to discover if the claims of former dancers are applicable to current dancers, a health assessment was conducted with current exotic dancers. Thirteen women (13) were interviewed using a structured survey with key qualitative questions. Results revealed that the majority of dancers did not think risk of HIV/STI transmission, fear of sexual assault or the existence of private booths are a work related health risk. Nearly half of the sample thought that stage fees were or might be a work related health risks. The lack of healthcare, the shoes that dancers wear, standing on their feet all day, the number of shifts dancers work a week, not making enough money, cleanliness and location of the club, customer harassment, and being treated badly by other people because of what they do were reported as work related health risk by the majority of exotic dancers in this sample.
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Crystal A Jackson (2011). Revealing contemporary constructions of femininity: Expression and sexuality in strip club legislation, Sexualities 14(3) 354–369. DOI: 10.1177/1363460711400964
This case study of Las Vegas strip club business laws explores the construction of feminine sexuality in legal discourse. Grounding textual analysis in contemporary sexuality theories, the article explores expression-based regulations that construct erotic dance as detrimental to social welfare and health, and other laws that normalize erotic dance labor as the sale of desire. I argue that expression-based ordinances stigmatize public displays of women’s (semi-) nude bodies and construct workers’ sexuality as potentially dangerous and uncontrollable. Alternatively, laws that classify erotic dance as labor construct femininity as fluid and work appropriate, regulating the work(er), not the erotic dancer as a person.
This article tries in a preliminary manner to establish links between sexual labour, the negotiations of everyday life and the reproduction of social relations. The context for this interrogation is the recent ban in 2005 on dancing in beer bars in the Indian city of Mumbai; the attempts by the state to legitimise its action amidst a range of national and international rhetoric on sexual labour, and the voices of women who were disenfranchised due to the state ban. Women’s interrogation of their role in sexual labour and their struggle for dignity and respect in the domain of work is discussed in the light of the negative discourse weighing against them, while also bringing in historical and contemporary accounts of other forms of ‘stigmatised’ labour. The attempt is to understand how notions of dignity and respectability are intertwined with shifts in gender, caste, class locations and the struggles of social movements. Significant in this discussion are various examples of how women choose to ‘move away’ in their constant search for livelihoods and survival. The article is an attempt to illuminate how an expanded notion of social reproduction could recognise labours of different kinds with the voices of those embodying these labours having a say in how justice and entitlements should devolve.