Safety Measures for Strippers
Images: The Uncensored Stripper
Words: Chase Kelly
Amidst all the glamorization and stigmatization of strip clubs, sometimes what gets glossed over are the the dangers of stripping, or more accurately, the violence that sometimes burdens strippers and the vice industry in general. A few weeks ago nine people were shot on Bourbon Street a few blocks from where I work. Last week one person was stabbed and 6 people were murdered overnight. In 2010 there was a shooting INSIDE a club I worked at, and a few years before that there was a drive by at my club in Connecticut. I’ve seen entertainers decked in the face by grown men, subsequent stabbings, and heard more dancers confess to leaving the club with customers and then being raped or drugged than I’d like to really remember.
Some of us work in small suburban areas, but due to our desire for community and anonymity and to access a larger clientele, many strippers choose to live in cities, and with that comes violence, especially against women. This is absolutely not to say there isn't anything to watch out for in the 'burbs. Lots of dangerous people don't understand that we are, in fact, also people, and no matter where you are when a person becomes dehumanized, they become a target for violence and anger.
Despite the risks, most of us are still dancing, because we are either blind to the possibility of it happening at our club/to us or because we have consciously decided that it’s a risk we are willing to take. With the rise of strip club culture, more and more young women are getting into the industry. It’s our duty to be aware of the dangers that do lurk around and do what we can to keep ourselves safe and how to stay away from the drama. More safety tips here.
- Once he’s wasted, it’s time to stop feeding him shots! There’s multiple reasons you don’t want your customers that drunk, one being for safety’s sake. Get him tipsy enough to loosen up and have fun but don’t make him regret his decision to come to your place of business by getting him fall down drunk and essentially robbing him. People are volatile and unpredictable, and sometimes you’re trapped in a room for an hour with him!
- Skip Fight Night: I hate fight night at the strip club. While I’ve never seen anything truly atrocious happen on fight night, in my experience guys are more aggressive when they’re encouraged to be.
- Don’t get involved with pimps, drug dealers, gang bangers. Bad boys with tattoos are super hot, and I’m sure that super sexy coke dealer with all that cash is really boosting your hustler mentality up, but still, sometimes you need to use discretion. That's not the life you need to carve out for yourself. If you work at a club that lets ex convicts, biker gangs, drug dealers hang out at them, either dress yourself up and upgrade your club or if that’s not possible, learn self defense and carry pepper spray and a taser (not a knife).
- ALWAYS CARRY YOUR ID. God forbid you got caught in the crossfires of a violent thing, please have your ID so that they can identify you and get in touch with your people. Please. Add an ICE number to your phone so your family can be contacted if you are unable to contact them.
- Don’t link up with that man who promises to turn you into a multi-thousandaire: It’s almost impossible to believe but stripper pimps are actually a thing, but they are and nice girls are getting suckered. They also don't call themselves pimps, they manipulate you into thinking you're in a relationship with them. You don’t need a pimp or a “boyfriend” to teach you how to make money. You’re a big girl, you can do it yourself. I will help you. Don’t work at places that let these scumbags hang out, they’re probably paying the club to hang there and that means you’re being 1) trafficked 2) hustled. Don’t get into all that!
- People are pretty impressionable, you know, and pretty women can sell almost any concept, which is why we are on billboards and magazines and car ads and everything else. The dudes you’re dancing for hear you out, and if your music is all “bang bang” people will think that’s cool/what your club is about; you’ll be perpetuating the glamorization of violence at strip clubs and in the world. When the DJ says no hard rap music or no sad drug addiction music, hear him out. Southern rap is my favorite music to listen to and dance to, so I understand when girls are pissed about it, but just like I don’t think it’s appropriate to dance to music that sounds like Satan is about to rip through the speakers, I don’t think it’s great to dance to guns and percocet music. Be sweet and sexy so our environment can stay safe and lucrative. Who really cares about what you dance to on stage anyway? You’re here for the money not to have your own personal dance party.
- Always get a walk to your car from a staff member. If one isn't available, opt for a fellow dancer, but not a customer. Never ever leave the club with a customer for your own safety. You CANNOT tell psychos from ordinary people; they are master manipulators. There is almost always someone willing to give you a walk for $5, though, so dole out a couple singles and stay safe.
- Be aware. Keep your eyes open. Don’t get so wasted that you don’t know what’s going on. Always be ready to run into the dressing room should anything bad happen. Check your car before you get in and watch your back for people following you. Carry mace. Take self defense classes. Do not rely on management to keep you safe; do it yourself. Take your personal safety personally.
- Don't drink and drive. You're not just risking your life.