Thank you Random Things Tours for the chance to read and review The Ethical Stripper by Stacey Clare! I also have to thank Anne for her patience with me; I mixed up my dates!
When we see J-Lo playing a character in full stripper get- up, demonstrating outside her local city hall with a placard proclaiming SEX WORK IS WORK and demanding employment rights in her workplace, perhaps then we’ll know the conversation has moved on.
I feel like whoever picked out the cover for this well researched and incredibly well written book did the author dirty. The cover makes you feel like you’re about to read something like Bridget Jones Dairy; not a work of nonfiction that contains a lot of information and really focuses on harm reduction and on educating the reader on how the discourse around sex workers (this book focuses on strippers) negatively impacts them and results in terrible policies.
Sex workers who enjoy high levels of privilege and consent may often identify with sex positivity to leverage further bene- fits and freedoms – which is how we arrive at the term ‘happy hooker’. The sex-positive movement may celebrate sex work as an enlightening and meaningful activity, but this can be confusing if the lived experience of other sex workers is less than positive. There isn’t much room for sex-positivity for sur- vival sex workers, for instance.
I really appreciate that the author does mention her own relative privilege in this industry, and doesn’t talk about experiences that she knows aren’t hers to talk about. However, the experiences of women of colour, those doing survival sex work, etc are at least mentioned, to remind us that there is more we need to learn about.
Once again the term ‘objectification’ crops up as a patronizing platitude without any discussion of how the word is being used.
Objectification really comes up in the book. While everyone seems to focus on how women are being objectified by sex work, no one actually includes any sex workers in conversations relating to changes needed that would help them. Even when they are included, their opinions are brushed aside, as though they don’t know any better. All of which also sounds like objectification.
I always say that the more I like a book, the more poorly my review is written. This is a great book, and Stacey Clare knows how to write really well; to keep you interested while presenting a lot of information. I genuinely recommend this book!
Do keep in mind that this does centre around the laws in the UK, and so if you want to focus ok other countries, you might need a different source. However, Stacey Clare’s book is a great way to understand the general debates and discourse!
Weird Picsart Thing
So there I am trying to put together an edit for this post! I search for Stripper in picsart when looking for stickers and this is what I get:
Now, normally I wouldn’t care but this is what happened next:
Yeah, we get stickers for strip!
And then there are ways to bypass stripper on picsart!
Yeah guys, just type strippe r instead of stripper
Blurb for The Ethical Stripper
Forget everything you’ve heard about strippers: this book is an antidote to stigma, shame and stereotyping.
How can a feminist also be a stripper? Is stripping sex work? What makes sex work “ethical”?
In this powerful book, Stacey Clare, a stripper with over a decade of experience, takes a detailed look at the sex industry – the reality of the work as well as the history of licensing and regulation, feminist themes surrounding sex work, and stigma. Bringing her personal knowledge of the industry to bear, she offers an unapologetic critique and searing indictment of exploitation and raises the rights of sex workers to the top of the agenda.
The Ethical Stripper rejects notions of victimhood, challenges stigma and shame, and unpacks decades of confusion and contradictions. It’s about the sex-work community’s fight for safety and self-determination, and it challenges you to think twice about every newspaper article, documentary and film you have seen about stripping and sex work.
The Ethical Stripper takes a comprehensive look at sex work, balancing the lived experience of the author with an examination of the different legal frameworks for sex work around the world.
About Stacey Clare
Stacey Clare is a stripper, performance artist, writer, activist and care worker. She grew up in northern England and began working as a stripper in Scotland aged twenty-two, while on a gap year from her Fine Art degree at Glasgow School of Art. She has worked all over the UK, Paris and Australia. Stacey cofounded the East London Strippers Collective as a concerted effort to unite dancers around common grievances about their own industry, including the poor representation of strippers in the media. She lives in London and Scotland and divides her time between running a life- drawing class (with strippers as models), theatre projects, working part-time in care, activism and writing.
Stacey is not only a prominent voice for sex workers’ rights in the media, but she is also a comedian and performed Ask A Stripper, the sold-out at the Edinburgh Fringe. @ethicalstripper
Stacey Clare’s 2015 TedX Talk, ‘The Ethical Stripper’, has had 105k views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZQkIw1MH3