Friday, 21 November 2014

East London Stripper Collective

One of the criminal things that has happened to strippers in the UK has been the fact that the 'left' has criminalised them while the 'right' has corporatized them.
Outside of sheer prejudice, one of their problems is legal language (this should be of interest to any Critical Thinking student) as to how you might define their work. Defining strippers as 'sex workers' is highly contentious with many strippers; and I've just come from their latest meeting where it was suggested 'sexy work' might be much better, and I agree, but I don't think that's going to happen. Legally, girls and boys who take they clothes off in performance are now ranked under an act that deals with sex trafficking and paedophilia thanks, amongst others, to Harriet Harman (Policing and Crime Act 2009) and this is clearly incorrect, but the mass of middling conformists can't see it any other way (and never ask the dancers themselves because that might be just a little bit challenging).
While it looks like this society is more open (read soft, insipid, whining, silly, juvenile) to me (and all the pub strippers I know) it's becoming more closed. The East London Stripper Collective articulated this with absolute force yesterday evening, and I wish my own students could have made such presentations of such intellectual power.
So I am faced with the fact that empirically speaking strippers as a group are now the most intelligent critical thinkers I know.
Photo: Julie Cook

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