Happy May Day, everybody! In May of 1886, the Haymarket affair happened in Chicagoland, with Louis Lingg being the most photogenic:
Although I am currently in the process of transitioning out of dancing, my heart will always be very connected to the strip club industry. One of the most common questions I get asked in the workplace by customers is: What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?
Let me tell you.
Becoming a stripper was the second best decision that I have ever made in my life. I have never regretted it, and never will. As an alternative to the poverty wages in many other industries available to me, stripping has given me enough money and free time to achieve almost all of my childhood dreams, the ability to pay for car repairs at a moment's notice, veterinarian bills for countless companion animal medical emergencies, the ability to visit all 48 of the connected United States, backpack in Western Europe, eat from the finest vegan menus on Earth, donate to causes I care about, spend months hiking along the Mississippi River, take Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes, learn how to choke out men with my bare hands. It has given me the free time to spend days and weeks reading and writing. Being a stripper has exposed me to the realities of labor organizing, be them tragedy or triumph. Being a stripper has taught me to be strong, stoic and graceful in the workplace while everyone around me wants me to fall apart. Being a stripper has taught me more about human psychology than one would ever learn in a classroom, and more about countering male domination than any women's studies degree ever could. It has taught me how misleading the media is. I've paid off my student loans from that useless English degree. I've maintained my algebra skills, as I divide hours by dollars by VIP booths and stage rotations, figuring out bills as I multiply twenties, adding in time constraints and deadlines. I've been exposed to all kinds of music that I may have never heard, and learned how powerful song lyrics can be. I've met people from all over the world and motivated them to admit their deepest secrets to me in their most candid of moments. I've been paid hundreds of dollars to remove soiled menstrual products from my body and give them to customers. I've learned to be not only shameless about my body, but proud. I've met countless washed up celebrities. I've learned how to spin very fast around a high metal pole, and had the privilege of watching other pole dancers with an artistic expertise more striking than any Mozart symphony or Michelangelo painting. I'll always be thankful for what stripping has done for me, a proletariat, within a late capitalist society. It was always the best option. Yeah, I've been pretty damned lucky, and I'm gonna miss it.
To the individuals who think it's funny or cool to shame someone simply for being a stripper-- it is because you are an astonishingly stupid person. If you are a woman who thinks you are better than a stripper, you can fuck off too. If you are a stripper who has ever experienced problems from people who do those things, just understand that the world is full of very stupid people. You are much smarter than them, and they can fuck off, no matter who they are.
This will probably be my last May Day as a stripper before joining an AFL-CIO organization. This is partially because I am being forced into an early stripper retirement from all of the blacklisting and harassment related to stripper labor rights. I have no rose-colored misconceptions about my new career choice. In all likelihood, I will make less money, work more hours and experience disrespect in ways that mirror my current occupation. Sadly, I know of no modern or desirable anarchist utopia that would save me from my current snafu or give me the standard of living that I am accustomed to. Most anarchists who I have met in life were not enjoyable company.
So much of being a stripper is about rebellion-- rebellion from submitting to misogynist slut shaming, rebellion from all the stigma, rebellion from being expected to submit to a man's requests for physical contact, rebellion from a traditional 9-5-- rebellion from the eight hour work day.
Often times in my adult life, I have had an eight hour work week. Sometimes in my adult life, I have eight hour work months.
Being pro-worker but anti-work, I'm going to sit this one out today folks, while enjoying my favorite take on work by Bob Black: