Satisfaction Guaranteed

Apparently researchers found that "the vast majority of dancers reported high rates of job satisfaction. The main attraction of the work was the flexibility it offered to combine different work options and studying." One professional stripper said she welcomed the opportunity "to be self-employed, to not have a boss and to work as much or as little as you want." She also described her job in positive terms, as follows: "I get to choose my own music, my own clothes and perform my own show."

The headline that one in four dancers is a graduate is surely a non-story. Is anyone in the real world actually shocked by this? I was only surprised it is not three out of four. A degree just offers more material for exploitation: the virtuoso performer is required to add value by shaking her academic tassles, expected (recalling Annabel Chong's anecdote quoted in Nina Power's One-Dimensional Woman) to do her Foucault routine, while the customer gets off on convincing himself that he is engaged in an enlightened partnership (remember, the woman is supposedly 'her own boss') rather than an old-fashioned power-wank.

The myth articulated through this language of bodily and economic flexibility, that the university-educated freelance sexual labourer is somehow automatically liberated from male oppression, is illustrative of a culture of unfreedom and unquestioning positivity. Academia becomes a backroom of the hospitality industry, training up a steady supply of ultra-compliant and indebted female students ready to meet the demands of rich lecherous men. Presumably the next step will be to formalise this 'transferable skill' by including lap dancing modules on degree courses...

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