The picture painted by the researchers, Teela Sanders and Kate Hardy of the University of Leeds, indicates that, contrary to popular opinion that exotic dancers are uneducated and poor, one in four dancers has a postsecondary degree and took home an average £232 ($357) per shift. Most have annual incomes between £24,000 ($37,000) and £48,000 ($74,000).
But it’s not all fun and games. From The Indepedent:
However, the researchers also found dancers’ welfare was often disregarded. They called for better regulation to improve dancers’ safety and security, including the banning of private booths in clubs, arguing that women could be in danger when alone with customers or that standards could be lowered by women offering more than was allowed in dances. Dancers were also open to financial exploitation by the clubs who could impose charges and fines.
As an especial blow to me, The Independent included a case study of “Amber,” a former financial journalist who now makes £40,000 ($61,700) per year as a stripper. “I think it’s everyone’s dream to be self-employed, to not have a boss and to work as much or as little as you want,” she said. “In journalism, it didn’t matter how many hours of overtime I put in, I still got paid the same. Now I can work really hard one week and earn good money, and then I can have a week when I don’t work so hard and don’t earn so much.”
Bonus! The Independent is dubbing it “[t]he first academic research project into lap dancing.” But what about:
- Pole Position: Migrant British women producing ‘selves’ through lap dancing work [Feminist Review, 2006]
- Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus? [Evolution and Human Behavior, 2007]
- `Empowerment’ and the Pole: A Discursive Investigation of the Reinvention of Pole Dancing as a Recreational Activity [Feminism and Psychology, 2009]
- Retailing and the regulatory state: a case study of lap dancing clubs in the UK [International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 2003]
- Dancing Across Borders: ‘Exotic Dancers,’ Trafficking, and Canadian Immigration Policy [International Migration Review, 2003]
- Exotic Dancing and Health [Women & Health, 2000]
- Managing the Stigma of Dancing: A Decade Later [Deviant Behavior, 2003]
- Sexworkers and Dope: An Ethnography of Heroin Using Lap Dancers in New York City [Addiction Research & Theory, 1998]
And, extra bonus meta-academic research:
- Thinking Critically About Strip Club Research [Sexualities, 2007]