Strippers Come Clean About What Society Just Doesn't Get About Their Profession

July 28th 2017

Ngozi Ahanotu

Pole dancing is a worldwide fitness trend, growing fast in the United States. The sexy workout is often promoted as empowering and a booster for self-confidence.

However, workers who pole dance for a living in strip clubs are still shamed by men and women, alike.

While celebrities appear to glorify strippers in music videos and online, 40 percent of strippers in a study from the University of Leeds admitted that customers were "rude or abusive" towards them.

On July 21, rapper Drake visited Houston, Texas, for his annual Houston Appreciation Week. The weekend event celebrating the Southern metropolis also featured a retirement ceremony for well-known strippers that have moved on to other work.

One dancer being recognized, Miliah Michel, tweeted Monday about the shaming and hurtful behavior she's encountered from someone she wouldn't name.

This isn't an uncommon sentiment, other women currently in or with a past in the adult entertainment industry have spoken out about the subject, too.

Blac Chyna once had a career as a stripper, and it's something that she's openly acknowledged. However, on July 5 she was shamed by her ex-boyfriend, Rob Kardashian, when he posted explicit nude photos of her on social media. Amber Rose, who is also a former stripper, often speaks out against shaming strippers and annually hosts her SlutWalk, which is an event meant to fight negative stereotypes against women.

At Rose's first-ever Slut Walk in 2015, she shared why the event was important to her, saying:

"Unfortunately, I was extremely slut-shamed. I was called ‘nothing but a stripper.’ I decided to have this Slut Walk for women who have been through shit. Even though I’m up here crying, I want to be the strong person that you guys can look up to, and know that I do all of this for you guys.”

ATTN: spoke with Foxxy, who has been a dancer since 2002 and works at an Atlanta, Georgia, strip club, to discuss how she began her career and what people really think about dancers.

“I am from Memphis, Tennessee. I initially came to Atlanta and visited a strip club on a night out. Growing up, I was taught the same misconceptions about strippers," she told ATTN:. "They are having sex to make money, not dancing. After meeting them and talking with them, I realized it was all about the dancing and I wanted in. People think that women who strip are ignorant and have no education or sense; however, most people who have negative things to say about strippers have never met one in the flesh.”

Foxxy has worked full-time at three clubs over the past 15 years, falling into the 6 percent of women who have been dancing 10 years or longer. She shared with ATTN: that likely because of the negative stereotypes associated with stripping, many people would be surprised to know the career paths most women she's met end up in after their stripping career.


A post shared by THE FOXX (@famousfoxxy) on

“I hate when they compare us to prostitutes, strippers don’t sell physical sex. We are regular people outside of this job. There are women that have gone on to do incredible things since leaving the club. Your nurse or judge was probably a stripper. I’ve worked with them,” she said.

Exotic dancers may continue to get a bad rap but as the popularity of pole fitness grows in the U.S. likely more people will realize that the act actually takes tremendous athletic skill. Originating from China, the sport initially began with male acrobats demonstrating their strength when climbing poles. India’s pole traditions introduced pole flipping and exhibits the precision, talent, stamina and speed to be a pole dancer. Exotic dancing, also know as stripping, took off decades later in the U.S. following the success of 1950s burlesque dancing.

"The lifts and tricks tone muscles, while high-intensity choreographed routines provide a cardio workout," The Guardian reported in regards to the physical benefits of pole dancing.

Foxxy sees her work as just that, a career path she decided to embark upon. She went on to explain that her family is very supportive of her, adding, "no matter what anyone says, I just see it as ‘they wish they had the confidence.’ I can’t worry about the negative stuff.” She believes society's perception of the career will likely change as new, young women enter the industry.

“At the end of the day, they can’t shame me because I am not ashamed of my job. That’s why women like Maliah and myself do what we do," she said. "It’s afforded us an opportunity to support ourselves without a traditional education."