Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Verdict at the Vault: No More Strippers

Back in August, a new strip club opened in Chilliwack, BC. There used to be a club there called the Empress, but it closed a while back. So when the Vault opened, the exotic dance community celebrated. Dancers who worked there said it was a beautiful club, they were treated well, and they got one free meal a day (clubs rarely give their dancers perks like that).

Well, you'd think there was murder and mayhem going on in the Vault the way the mayor and city councillors started behaving, all uppity and like they're experts on the industry and such. I wrote an email to the mayor and he actually replied personally - twice. That made me grow on 'im a little, although I'm not much into country christian guys.

Here is the letter I sent to the editor of one of the Chilliwack rags:

MLA John Les speaks like an expert about the exotic dance industry when he
says: “it’s the height of exploitation of women” and “most strippers are
directly under the control of organized crime.” I suppose he’s spent many
years in front row to speak with such authority. Was that you “exploiting”
me during my seven years as an exotic dancer, John?

It amazes me
how people with no experience as exotic dancers – some of them men, no less –
spout inaccuracies about this industry. If you really care about
exploitation of women – stop closing down our safe workspaces.

Stripping was the best option for me when I was a single mom
paying for daycare, rent, and bills. It enabled me to put food on the
table after expenses. Never in seven years of stripping – including at the
old Empress – was I ever under the control of organized crime, direct or

A good leader would engage the communities impacted
before attempting to destroy their incomes. Strippers are women exploited
by the government each time one of our clubs is closed by them. Perhaps
they are the organized criminals he speaks of – stealing our livelihoods in the
name of morality.

Some of the industry discussion took place in The Naked Truth Forums. With us fighting for our rights, sending in letters of support, expressing our outrage loudly. And them, with their patronizing attitudes and judgmental accusations. Us and them. The exotic entertainment industry and the bible belt.

Is it any wonder we lost? The Vault no longer has strippers. But the city just might give Tony Lecce a rooftop patio.

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