Objectification, Sexification and Strip Clubs

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long time now, but I’ve never been able to get it down the way I wanted. Here goes nothing.

Two things for the back story: 1) Anyone who reads here regularly knows that I am opposed to the objectification of women and that I believe that the over-sexualization of women is a negative trend in our society. 2) Steve and I went to a strip club together in Ottawa last September.

Here’s the surprising thing: the strip club didn’t offend me. Like, at all. I mean, it was kind of fun. I had long been curious about what they were actually like as opposed to what you see on tv (conclusion: pretty much the same), but was also curious about what my reaction would be. Would I feel uncomfortable? Sorry for the girls? Embarrassed? Scornful?

While I was a little uncomfortable at first (helloooooo vaginas!), once that went away, I started thinking about it. And Steve and I talked about it a lot too.

In a vacuum, there was nothing “wrong” with what those women were doing. I think that, as a society, we are afraid of our sexuality. Of all sexuality. It’s why we slut-shame and it’s why we hate on players and it’s why we force ourselves into monagamy. I’m not saying these things don’t apply to me, obviously monogamy works for me and my relationship and I don’t want anything else. But maybe the problem with strippers is how everyone else perceives them.

Maybe women get into stripping for the wrong reasons. Maybe they have issues with self-worth or abuse in their past or have alcohol/drug abuse problems, I don’t know. But, at the end of the day, what I asked myself, and what I’ve been asking myself since, is Why are we so afraid of vaginas?

It can be hard to trust that your partner will want to come home to you if you start comparing yourself to smooth vaginas on a stage, or hot co-workers, or old flames, even if your partner is trust worthy, if you’re living in a shell of fear. And I relate to that so much, because it often feels that I lack a true and pure belief in my own beauty and sexuality. And of course it’s uncomfortable to think about your partner fantasizing about other women while they masturbate or (worse) having sex with you, but from a purely logical point, fantasy doesn’t really affect reality, so long as your relationship is loving and supportive and the lines of communication are open.

I’m not saying that everyone should spend their lunch hours at a strip club, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t feel a sting of jealousy if Steve had a strip club habit. I don’t have any conclusion here, except to say that I had a completely different reaction than I expected. And that while it was kind of fun, the drinks were way to expensive to go on a regular basis.

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