Outing

Angry Stripper got (sort of) outed today.  Outed isn’t actually the right word since she has part of her real name on her twitter, but I doubt she expected anyone to go to the lengths this guy went to to publicise a fact that really didn’t need publicizing. This article is my favourite:

“BREAKING: Woman Holds Down Two Jobs”

I’ll just quote from the end:

The fact that Connelly would try to act like there isn’t an element of slut-shaming in what he’s doing is just plain laughable. Strippers titillate. It’s their job. As a result, regardless of whether they sleep with zero or one hundred people, they’re going to be seen as “sluts” or loose women or what-have-you because of the nature of their job. I find it hard to believe that Connelly doesn’t realize that stripping comes with stigma, because without that stigma, it would never have occurred to him to write this piece in the first place, because nobody would give a fuck if she worked as a baker or photographer or landscaper to make extra cash.

How do I know that what Connelly doing is straight-up slut-shaming? Because there’s a way to write the “It’s interesting that you hold down these two jobs” story, and that way is to: contact the person doing the two jobs, set up some time to interview them, find out what their daily life is like, talk with their employers, explore the reasons why someone might do these two jobs, figure out what it means to be This Person one minute and Another Person the next minute, etc.  That’s how you write the “this is an interesting juxtaposition” story. That’s what you do if you find it personally or anthropologically interesting that someone leads what seem to you to be two separate lives.

However, if what you want to to do is write gotcha journalism that serves the sole purpose of giving you the opportunity to publicly look down your nose at a woman you kind of want to maybe lose her job because you don’t approve of the way she’s chosen to live her life? I can’t tell you how to do that, but I think Richard Connelly probably could.

Angry Stripper (Tressler) seems to have taken about the same efforts to preserve her anonymity as I have.  Which is to say, none.  Because it’s just a job, and it says nothing about her intelligence or competence. It’s not news.

This isn’t the kind of thing you expect from professional, mature adults.  I mean, it’s something I expect from certain customers, creeps with obvious bad boundaries and no lives, hobbies, or jobs consuming their energies and interests.  Kat nailed it when she called it customer behaviour in the comments section on the original article, I’d link to it but I can’t put myself through wading that shit again, even though most of the comments are intelligent and positive.

It made me pause.  Because I don’t expect this kind of behavior, it’s why I’ve done relatively little to hide this blog and regularly tweet about the club under my real name. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed–although that time a few weeks ago when a former coworker from the clinic where I had my first on-the-books internship recognized me while I was naked onstage was less than ideal, for sure. But I wouldn’t want my family finding out through something like that article.

My dad called yesterday; it’s been a few months since we last talked and he’s been ignoring my emails, so I started to worry that he’d googled me and figured out that I’m a stripper. We talked, he either doesn’t know or doesn’t care. The conversation was fine.

I told him back when I first started dancing; I was 19 and full of revolutionary zeal and third-wave feminist fire.  I read a lot of zines, listened to riot grrrl and had a crush on Teresa Dulce (which, more on that later); I fully believed that the sex worker revolution was going to come along any day now.  We were going to change the world, unionise, justice and health insurance for all. So no, I was not going to keep my mouth shut and let my father think I was working at Rite Aid or whatever 19-yr-old high school dropouts do.  Out and proud.  He was not thrilled.

A lot of things have happened since then: I took part in a notably unsuccessful and depressing attempt to unionise a strip club, I got a drug and alcohol problem fed by the fact that I felt like the smartest and most glamorous 20 yr old girl in the world, who was having adventures, I got depressed, I got sober, I got a dog, I got a girlfriend.  Not totally in that order but mostly.  I can’t remember where along the line I told him I quit dancing–maybe when I actually quit, more likely we just stopped talking about it when I got my first on-the-books internship (the obtainment of which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  To go from under the table work for years, having no obvious job skills or experience to looking for a day job was terrifying and disheartening) and I actually kept dancing for two years after that because the internship (at a really amazing non-profit low income clinic and youth shelter) did not pay enough to live off of. Unsurprisingly.

And since I started dancing again a little less than a year ago, quitting my last nanny job in December, it hasn’t really come up. I don’t think it will come up until he comes to visit–my lifestyle isn’t really something you fund on a nanny’s salary.  I live alone in a one bedroom apartment furnished with vintage Danish modern furniture, I pay my rent and car insurance on time, I write 20 page papers, I have leisurely mornings with my dog over coffee and I garden.  It’s super awesome.  It’s going to look a little shady. I’m not sure what he’ll say when it finally comes out. His reaction will be coloured by the memory of my 19-yr-old hijinks for sure, but also by the totally different place I’m in now.  I have options now.

I’m gambling (safely, I think) that the grad and doctoral programs I’m applying to could give a shit.  There have been notable out sex worker academics in my field and similar ones, and I don’t think any of my current professors would be deterred from giving me letters of recommendation should they find out–although I don’t plan on telling them because it’s none of their business and has no bearing on my work–

Anyway.

All of which highlights the fact that this guy is a total, total douchebag, I’m glad I don’t live in Houston, and I’m glad that I don’t (to my knowledge) know anyone who’s in a position (& willing) to do something like this to me.

And I hope this doesn’t affect Tressler’s life in any way.

*eta, Angry Stripper has apparently been made private.  A not unexpected but still totally shitty outcome of that asshole’s stupid, poorly written, poorly thought-out, shameful attempt to discredit her, using her livelihood as an excuse.  Fuck offfff.

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