I think that many people would have a premeditated answer to this question. Often seen as a desperate and soulless industry, I met with a girl who had dedicated herself to a life of stripping and was surprised by some of her brutally honest views on the topic.
Beth, 27, has spent the last 8 years of her life as a stripper and now works for Peach Strippers in London. When we met, my first question was based around why she started doing what she does, and unsurprisingly her answer was financially orientated.
‘When I was 19 I was both cash and time poor due to spending the majority of my time studying. Becoming a stripper was something that offered financial returns unlike any other job I’d had before and equally importantly… quickly’
This promise of quick and easy money is something that seems to be a trend in the stripping world, and I could understand why these promises could attract young girls like Beth into the industry. However, what I didn’t understand was that if stripping lived up to its dark and shady reputation, why would girls like Beth still be taking their clothes off 8 years down the line.
‘I enjoy my job, and I think that’s because I’m good at what I do. There’s no better feeling than going to a stag do or birthday party and being the main event for the evening and making sure everyone has a memorable night…. Not in an arrogant way, but it is always nice to be appreciated for what you do’
This enjoyment of her job was something that I genuinely hadn’t expected when we met. Almost like an egotistical sense of thriving off of the attention. I found this view hard to empathise with. I’d been bought up in a culture geared towards stripping as being degrading so it was difficult to see how Beth had developed this attitude, so I asked if she had always had these view.
‘I had begun by only performing because I needed to. I needed the money, and it was an easy way for me to get it. Honestly, I remember my first few shows feeling quite awkward and I felt out of my depth. I’d imagined that it’s the same with most new jobs though, so persevered and grew with confidence as I got more experience. It was only when I’d finished studying that I had considered stripping as a full time career. I moved to London and began working with Peach Strippers and things took off from there. I had more time on my hands & was more experienced than ever before.’
I was blown away by her honesty, and also the fact that I could relate!! I remember starting jobs that I felt out of place in, and appreciated her situation. From our brief meeting I can genuinely say that my views on strippers and stripping as a career changed. If people are happy and comfortable with their choice of lifestyle, who are we to say otherwise.