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Strippers, pole dancers, lap dancers, there are numerous names for ladies who dance in gentlemen’s clubs. Hanging half naked off a pole while being ogled by pissed up men with their hands in their pockets trying to hide their erection. Then in the private areas off the main club the girls treat paying customers to an intimate dance, unashamedly writhing their naked bodies against strangers for cash. Women who choose stripping as their profession are not looked upon very highly, the majority of people question the morality of such a profession and afford little respect to the Manchester escorts who do it. A recent documentary series entitled ‘strippers’ gave a revealing insight into the lives of women who turn to lap dancing to make a living. The series was based around strip clubs in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh and gave us a chance to meet the club owners, bouncers and men who frequent the clubs, giving us a no holds barred look at the world of lap dancing and the clubs they work in. The documentary explores the ways in which the dancers handle the stigma attached to the profession and the impact on their lives. Episode three of the series was based in Aberdeen, Scotland’s wealthiest city. Aberdeen is home to Europe’s oil industry and has the most millionaires per square mile outside of London. The episode followed the lives of four dancers, two lived and worked in Aberdeen and two were childhood friends who travelled the world dancing in clubs. Danni and Xena are traveling strippers both in their early twenties, it was instantly apparent that these women were very smart, business savvy and enjoyed stripping. They commented that they are ‘slowly stripping our way around the world’. The girls saw it as business opportunity and travelled to cities such as Dubai and L.A, making huge amounts of money along the way. They saw the job as an opportunity to put themselves into the future that they want. When asked if they thought they were being exploited, the girls said they believed it was a case of mutual exploitation. They commented that they were fully in control of what they did and made huge sums of money from stripping, money that would be difficult to achieve in any other profession and lived a very comfortable life as a result, ‘are we being exploited?’ they asked, ‘or is it the men’s wallets being exploited?’. Danni was studying for her MA in art and had paid her university fees through stripping, she used stripping as way to fund her studies and with one in four girls using stripping to fund their degrees she is one of many. Both commented that they did not intend to strip for the rest of their lives, but for the time being enjoyed the job and the lifestyle it provided, but when the day comes that they stop enjoying it, they will stop.
One of the clubs in this episode was Aberdeen’s top lap dancing club, Private eye. Vicky is nineteen and has been a stripper since she was eighteen, she came into the industry through an abusive ex-boyfriend, whom she has since split from, but she still works as a stripper. She described the job as an escape from her past, she said she can be who she wants to be when she is dancing and can make the men she dances for believe that person is real. Although, she was very keen to stress she did not enjoy stripping and it was just a way for her to make money. In order to get through evenings at the club she drank heavily and during the documentary this resulted in her being sacked, and we were left with a clip of Vicky leaving the club crying uncontrollably in a drunken stupor. You really felt for Vicky, she was a young girl who was lost and in need of guidance and we are left wondering what the future would hold for her. It gave us an insight into the harsh realities that sometimes come with being a stripper. Another Manchester escorts at the club was Lily who was the polar opposite to Vicky, she was one of the clubs top dancers and took her job very seriously, Lily had always wanted to be a stripper and came across as very levelled headed and had a clear idea of where her life was going. Lily was using lap dancing as way to get into glamour modelling and admitted stripping was not a profession she wanted to be in for more than a couple of years. She dreamt of being a glamour model as a young girl and against all objection from her family was determined to achieve her goal. All of the girls in the programme admitted that they were given a lot of abuse for being strippers and were constantly looked down upon by friends and family, and asked when they would get a proper job. When thought about rationally these girls work five evenings a week for around a thousand pounds and it gives them countless opportunities. Society can often be too quick to judge and this series showed us that that the majority of women in the industry are ambitious and motivated and use it as a way further their careers outside of stripping. But it also showed us, being a stripper is not an easy job and you have to be thick skinned in order to do it and come out the other end unscathed. Manchester esocrts
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