Stripping Across America

(11/25/13)  Let’s get this out of the way right up front:  We love strippers!  There.  We said it.  We love the people.  We love the artistic glamour.  We love the exotic beauty.  Having covered the stripping lifestyle extensively throughout Fallen Angel’s Dirty Dancer series, we believe we have a pretty well-informed view of what actually goes on both inside and out, so if any of what follows comes off as a bit bias, oh well.  That’s just how it goes sometimes.

Yes, we love strippers, but we fully recognize that not everyone shares the love.  Indeed, there are some perfectly reasonable arguments against ecdysiastical pursuits and, in any rational debate, these do need to be part of the conversation on the topic.  However, with one camp firmly promoting the art, entertainment and self-reliance aspects and the other entrenched in beliefs of exploitation, subjugation and deviancy, the opposing forces will no doubt repel each other for all eternity.  When a country like Iceland of all places bans stripping, you know you’ve reached a critical mass in terms of digging in on a subject. So, let’s just get past all of the rhetoric and see what’s this and thus in the profession these days.

Generally speaking (as there’s no universal set of parameters defining the culture of stripping), the basic numbers look like this:

-As you might imagine, over 90% are female.  However, it’s interesting to note that percentage is down a few points from census statistics reported following the 2000 survey as more males are now entering the sector.

-A little more than 10% have less than a year of experience, with a median age of about 24.  The bulk, more than 50%, have been performing for 1-5 years while about 20% have up to nine years of experience.  About 15% have over 10 years invested in the industry.

-The number of clubs in the U.S. with some form of stripping: Over 4,000.

-The annual revenue of strip clubs in the U.S. as of 2012: Over $3 billion.

Without a doubt, stripping is big business–with big opportunities for those truly committed to their craft.  Many a student loan has been paid off and professional careers launched from the profits of exotic dancing.  This is even more impressive when you consider that tip rates haven’t kept up with inflation; generally remaining the same over the past 30 years.  In any event, while haters are going to no doubt hate, today’s trends show that they’re having little to no effect in slowing down this niche industry.

Though there is a wide range of forms (mostly due to confusing legalities which, in many cases, vary from town to town), the most common aspect we’ve found is that the people who work in this industry genuinely enjoy what they do and take immense pride in it.  Sure, there are some who are just in it for the money (much like any other kind of job), but most will tell you that the money is less of a motivation than the more self-actualizing factors.  In essence, they feel empowered through the work they’ve chosen and, like any other artist, tremendously fulfilled through the appreciation they receive for their performance.  Most would certainly prefer to do without the negative judgments and intolerant stigmas, of course, but oh well. 

That’s just how it goes sometimes.

Sources:  U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor