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Thoughts on Strip Clubs

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Posted

... almost every performance involves some degree of "objectification". [...] The artistic performer is inevitably a

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Posted (edited)

However, I think that it only confirmed womens' roles to be limited to talking about men, looking for love and being focused on clothes and relationships.

It would be odd for a show titled "sex" to be about anything else. This is not a valid criticism.

If we only discuss the show as it relates to womens' sexuality and sex lives, then no, it wouldn't be. But we are discussing it as it relates to womens' empowerment ans social status, so it doesn't matter to me what the show is called, only what it means in whichever context I am discussing it in.

The womens' careers were used as a backdrop to their lifestyle, and it still left me with a sour feeling in the pit of my stomach because the writers maintained that there is no happiness for a single girl. Only in the movie did Samantha eventually break up with her boyfriend to focus on herself again,
That the show presented a counterpoint in Samantha to the prevailing notion that happiness is limited to having a man in one's life should be sufficient.

I don't find it sufficient because it felt like it was simply added as an after-thought and was unconvincing to me.

whilst all the others compromised themselves and their values in desperate attempts to get married or to "hook" a man.

This is not true. None of them compromised themselves. Charlotte didn't compromise in converting to Judaism in order to become kosher for a Jewish lawyer. Miranda didn't compromise her New York values by moving out to Brooklyn to raise a family with Steve. Samantha tried the single route after years of man-eating the bachelor field, but I'd hardly call that compromising her values. That leaves us Carrie. Did she compromise herself by marrying the guy that kept breaking her heart?

Yes, I think she compromised herself all along by desperately trying to change a man who didn't want to be married, by getting engaged to someone who did want her but then cheating on him, by sleeping around whilst actually not admitting that she wanted a relationship.

Miranda compromised herself by having a child she did not want. Charlotte did nothing but compromise herself until she met said Jewish lawyer, especially in her first marriage and the dozens of men before and in-between.

As I said before, I don't think it is real empowerment for women to have access to a formerly "male" lifestyle (ie. executive jobs and sleeping around), because the empowerment felt from this is an illusion as far as I'm concerned.

Maybe, but this is less of an argument and more of an assertion. Exactly what constitutes as "empowerment" for women in the first place? What lies beyond the traditional role of marriage and motherhood, and the modern lifestyle of independence and career?

Well, perhaps something that women can flesh out more once they remove themselves from having to follow only those two options and remove themselves from biological determinism as a deciding factor for how their life will pan out. Perhaps something that is beyond current or historical ideas of womanhood.

I think the fact that women may actually sit together and talk about men all day doesn't devalue what those older-gen feminists have to say. Rather, it shows how much they have been conditioned into thinking this defines their lives and self-worth.

Actually this is an issue of generation clash within feminism.

Well, yes, but as I said i don't consider open sexuality as empowerment feminism.

Edited by Hugo Holbling
Fixed tags.

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Posted

You make some good points, Hugo, and I think most people would agree with you. I might even agree, except for my naturally contentious nature. However, I still wonder if the distinction between the

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Posted

The truth is [...] it did seem degrading [...] it might have been snobbery about associating with the customers. I sometimes feel uncomfortable going into a Wal-mart -- because you see more fat, toothless, strange-looking people there than you see anywhere else. Nonetheless, I recognize that this is my problem, not that of the Wal-mart customers. I'm a snob. That might be my problem with strip clubs, too.

For all the talk about "The Gaze", or intra-gender power relations, or the objectification of women, there's a whiff of prudery about my own objections to strip clubs. It's not sexual prudery, either. It's a sort of personal pride mixed with class snobbery.

This so-called "whiff of prudery" seems essentially similar to the part of Stummel's revulsion pertaining to "enforced labour or human trafficking or drugs"; in both cases, the objection or distaste regards the sleazy environment rather that the performance itself. We can further isolate the performance from the sleazy environment by imagining a more upscale sort of club, maybe even one which caters solely to others of one's own "class". For that matter, we can go so far as to imagine strippers who contract for strictly private performances -- maybe even in the privacy of one's own home.

I think one thing that makes strip clubs embarrassing is not the NATURE of the performance, but the QUALITY of the performance [...] lousy belly dancers are almost as embarrassing as strippers. But it

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Posted

Perhaps my biggest gripe with strip clubs is the baseness, the reductionism involved. Not necessarily the reduction of the human being to an object to be manipulated instead of a subject to be listened to or involved with in reciprocal communication, though this could be a gripe I imagine, but the reduction of the art of dancing to a commodity- it's a matter of fungibility.

Dancing has been seen as a method of communication with the divine, indeed, scripture speaks of David "dancing before the Lord;" when Nietzsche stated "I would only believe in a God who knew how to dance," I cannot, for the life of me, imagine it was a kind of dancing on par with what one would witness at your local strip club.

I see the Sufi Whirling Dervishes participating in their holy dance, I see the Buddhist Lotus dance, I see the Baka dancers of Cameroon, and I see beauty; sometimes one can even catch a glimpse, be on the receiving end of the communication of the incommunicable experience of the divine spoken of by the mystic. I cannot imagine the joy, the power associated in the actual participation of these holy dances....

And then we come to the strip club.....good God, what can one even say? I imagine to the one who has experienced the communication involved with spiritual or religious dancing, or the actual dance itself, visiting a strip club would be of such a paltry nature as to elicit hardly a response at all.

You can see the dancing of which I speak beautifully highlighted in the following video:

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Posted

Obviously most strip clubs don't offer good dancing. However, there are plenty of profane dancers that probably offer better art than most sacred dancing. Fred Astaire and Rudloph Nureyev, to name two. I like your video, though DcD.

As far as the "objectification" of people (mainly women) is concerned, I think that fits into my theory. A performer is "objectified" if the performance is lousy, but people watch anyway. "How can we know the dancer from the dance?" asked Yeats in "Among School Children". When the dance is a worthy, artistic effort, the dancer is a worthy, talented performer (instead of an object).

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BDS, the real issue for me does not revolve around the dancing itself, but it does revolve around dancing insofar as dancing is a mechanism, a means of expression, celebration, and for the religious/spiritual dancers, the mutual participation in being, the participation in divine love. I am quite sure that there are many "profane" dancers that can provide for us a better feast for the eyes, and are more skilled at the dance itself, but may lack the intensity and authenticity to be found in the sacred dance.

I see dancing largely as a celebration, and so I ask myself when seeing any dance, what is being celebrated here?

I can certainly see the erotic dance on the part of a female as a celebration of her femininity, her 'divine essence,' if she happens to fall into such a camp, as opposed to the constructivists/post-structuralists, and either way, a celebration of her beauty, a beauty that is voluntarily shared with another. I do find it hard to imagine any of these things being embodied in your local strip club though......what I see as probably being more reflective of reality in such a setting, is a celebration of mediocrity, of fungibility, of a cheap, base pornographic sexuality as opposed to an erotic sensuality.

The difference between the two? Erotic sensuality is full of the promise to fulfill desire, of teasing in a prolonged manner, of mystery, and the "payoff," the bringing of the promise to fulfillment has an element of unpremeditatedness about it, whereas your more pornographic sexuality is heavily structured with little room for "play," short on promise, and lacking in mystery, all is revealed only too quickly and too promiscuously....

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BDS, the real issue for me does not revolve around the dancing itself, but it does revolve around dancing insofar as dancing is a mechanism, a means of expression, celebration, and for the religious/spiritual dancers, the mutual participation in being, the participation in divine love. I am quite sure that there are many "profane" dancers that can provide for us a better feast for the eyes, and are more skilled at the dance itself, but may lack the intensity and authenticity to be found in the sacred dance.

If, as Yeats suggests, it's difficult to distinguish "the dancer from the dance", the unreligiously inspired professional may seem to "participate in divine love" more than the untalented religious fanatic. In our own culture, singing (not dance) is the most common musical expression of religion. But I'm not sure that great Gospel Singers are "participating in divine love" any more than great secular singers -- they are performing an artisitic task for which they are well trained. In any event, the motives of the performer are irrelevant to the observer. Doubtless gospel singer sometimes engender in the audience a "participation in divine love" -- but the goal of all artistic performance is to engender in observers a participation in some sort of dramatic, emotional event -- and I don't know why divine love should be superior to profane love (the subject of most non-gospel songs).

"Intensity" (or an attempt to portray it) is common in Gospel music -- but why do you insist on "authenticity"? How do you know how "authentic" the feelings of the performer are? It the stripper actually wants to have sex with everyone in the audience, does that make her performance more "authentic", and thus somehow superior?

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BDS wrote:

If, as Yeats suggests, it's difficult to distinguish "the dancer from the dance", the unreligiously inspired professional may seem to "participate in divine love" more than the untalented religious fanatic.

I do not think it is the level of talent regarding dancing capabilities that renders a dance a participation in some kind of divine love or experience of the holy, rather what it is that is intended to be celebrated or affirmed.

The physicality of the holy dance can be seen as an attempt to give form to the spiritual. This was always a problem with dualism: explaining the interaction between the two worlds, Descartes struggled immensely with this. Perhaps in such a dance, the mystery is solved.......there is, or seems to be, a certain receptivity involved with the sacred dance, and maybe this is what accounts for its often 'unprofessional' appearance, as if the movements of the dancer are not wholly those of the dancer. In another thread, I commented on Sartre's 'being in itself,' and 'being for itself' and how we long for a synthesization of the two, a way for the tension between them, ultimate freedom and ultimate necessity, to collapse; one member asked if there was a solution to this "bifurcated being," perhaps such a solution is to be found in the sacred dance- though here, I would imagine, it must be participated in and not passively viewed, it is only in this way that one could ultimately separate appearance (what if a "profane" dancer just fakes a sacred dance?) from reality.

I cannot help but think that the motives of the dancer are of importance to the observer. Of course, motives are notoriously difficult to ascertain, we are a species that has this marvelous and horrendous capability for hiding intention, but often such lies do have a way of manifesting themselves in communication, and dance is a method of communication- in vocal intonation, body language, eye movement. Perhaps I accredit myself with more perceptiveness than I am capable of, or maybe I'm gullible, but there is a purity that seems to shine through the participants of the various 'holy' dances, no falseness of motive, whereas the stripper must constantly hide the fact that she, (assuming the stripper is a she) every bit as much as her 'customer,' views her customer as an object to be manipulated, and the customer hides this from himself as well, for if he admitted to himself in all its fullness, the truth of the reality that she only performs this or that particular move of attempted or actual sexual seduction or an outright pornographic dance move, he would certainly have no occasion for feelings of empowerment.

BDS wrote:

Doubtless gospel singer sometimes engender in the audience a "participation in divine love" -- but the goal of all artistic performance is to engender in observers a participation in some sort of dramatic, emotional event -- and I don't know why divine love should be superior to profane love

Perhaps there is no difference between 'sacred love' and 'divine love' because it may be that all 'love' is divine in nature. Of course, this opens the question as to what we mean by, most importantly, 'love,' but also the sacred (divine) and the profane. Someone needs to start a thread, very simple, titled On Love, and asking, what do we mean when we use the word love, what is love, what are the, supposing there are, different kinds of love? But whatever love may prove to be, I imagine one could start coming to grips with the term by way of negation: whatever you may find at your local strip club is the antithesis of love. I believe love has something to do with the mutual loss of the self and rediscovery of self in another, and has something to do with freedom, the relationship between the stripper and the customer only continues as long as the element of control/manipulation is present, there is no freedom involved, both are bound to each other in slavery: I give it dollar, it dances for me, and conversely, I dance for it, it gives me dollar.

BDS wrote:

"Intensity" (or an attempt to portray it) is common in Gospel music -- but why do you insist on "authenticity"? How do you know how "authentic" the feelings of the performer are? It the stripper actually wants to have sex with everyone in the audience, does that make her performance more "authentic", and thus somehow superior?

These are fair questions, and have given me cause for reflection, hopefully some of that reflection will makes its way here.....

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Posted

If we only discuss the show as it relates to womens' sexuality and sex lives, then no, it wouldn't be. But we are discussing it as it relates to womens' empowerment ans social status, so it doesn't matter to me what the show is called, only what it means in whichever context I am discussing it in.

it

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Posted

BDS wrote:
If, as Yeats suggests, it's difficult to distinguish "the dancer from the dance", the unreligiously inspired professional may seem to "participate in divine love" more than the untalented religious fanatic.

I do not think it is the level of talent regarding dancing capabilities that renders a dance a participation in some kind of divine love or experience of the holy, rather what it is that is intended to be celebrated or affirmed.

The beauty had of a profane dance - a beauty which very much depends upon the talent and developed skills of the dancer - can most definitely produce "a participation in some kind of [...] experience of the holy". But, then, the reason for this might be more related to the Is God Irrelevant? thread, and maybe I'll get around to taking up that reason in that other thread when I get back in town.

Michael

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Posted

Camp wrote:

I fail to see how the obsession about men is disempowering.

One of the complaints of feminism of all kinds seems to be that men have illegitimately defined women- their gender roles, place in society and levels of participation therein, family roles, sexual roles, etc. I am not sure what exactly the connection between identity and power is, but I would think that a valid concern regarding women, as those featured in Sex in the City, who "obsess" about men, run the risk of being a kind of "second handler," relationally, by their very obsession, being defined by men instead of self defining.

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I am not sure what exactly the connection between identity and power is, but I would think that a valid concern regarding women, as those featured in Sex in the City, who "obsess" about men, run the risk of being a kind of "second handler," relationally, by their very obsession, being defined by men instead of self defining.

If you watched the show you would notice the women talk about their relations with men, not the men themselves. Their discussions about men is dramatically different than the women in say, Jane Austen's novels. One is about their relationships, the other is about the men themselves. The four girls obsess about what their guys did or failed to do in their relationships. The Austen women talk about who their men are, what they do, who they're related to, who they saw, etc.. One defines themselves by their relationships, the other defines themselves by their men. It's easy to lump them both together.

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There

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Posted (edited)

[

it’s like complaining that the Sopranos does not accurately represent the lives of middle-aged Italian-americans. It doesn’t, because it shouldn’t have to. Neither should Sex & the city. It’s about rich & white New York women and their relationships. But more importantly, it does address many issues: illness, infertility, divorce, bereavement, ageing, motherhood, sexual discrimination. There’s a glitzy veneer, but there’s more to the show than the hook of the shoes and fashion and glamour. I fail to see how the obsession about men is disempowering. That instead acknowledges the reality of women today who experience the difficulty in establishing their own identities while dealing with men at work and at home. The unsaid message here is that a strong girl can’t want a husband. :nono:

Now hang on! Samantha, as the successful and hard-driving, inherently independent PR who worships sex instead of love, being in a relationship and not really working in LA, was unconvincing in the first place. That the writers returned the character to her roots was consistent to the logic of her character. Perhaps the timing was lousy and all-too-convenient? :noidea:

I’ll admit that Carrie’s relationship with Mr. Big had masochistic elements in it, but then again, that’s more indicative of reality than some impossible ideal. It’s true that none of these women are perfect models for truly free women. But neither has feminism offered any. :banghead:

Not quite correct. She changed her mind at the abortion clinic at the last minute. Watch that episode again. :slap:

Wait a minute. How do you define “compromise?” Have sex outside of marriage? Is having a masculine lifestyle inherently compromising in itself? Am I compromising myself every time I have premarital sex? Why or why not? Suppose a woman does not hold to those values – for she has her own set of values – is she compromising herself regardless? :shock:

Then why are you criticizing a show for failing to reach an unrealized ideal if you can’t spell out what empowerment is?

Well, yes, but as I said i don't consider open sexuality as empowerment feminism.

I know, and you have said as much throughout this thread. But third-wave feminists disagree. Why are they wrong? I’m less interested in who believes in what than the reasoning behind their beliefs.

You know what, you are right in a couple of points. And the thing is, that criticism of the show was sort of a thought on the side, I don't feel offended by it (even if it may seem that way) or thought that it was a terrible show or expected it to offer a sensational new ideal for women. Of course it depicted the possible reality of rich, white NY women, I don't know if it does. But at the same time I don't see why it is always hailed as the revolutionary new kind of feminist tv some people make it out to be.

Yes, it portrays the struggles of fairly independent modern women to "have it all", but just because it portrayed reality in some sense doesn't make it groundbreaking or empowering.

Charlotte didn't compromise herself by having premarital sex, I thought she compromised her values with almost every guy she dated by trying desperately to fit into whatever mould she had to in order to marry him. She put up with all sorts of things in order to marry her first husband (and had doubts just before the ceremony), but constantly tried to keep up appearances. Again, that could just be the depiction of what women do all over the world, but it's not feminist to me.

However, I do not understand why my lack of alternatives would disqualify me from critisizing something, like a show. I have no children and couldn't tell you the first thing about child rearing, but I still believe that hitting a child to teach it a lesson is wrong and futile in terms of teaching them.

Similarly, I don't have a detailed utopian outline for a brave new EQUAL world, but I have a feeling that what we have now isn't it. I can't tell you what there could be apart from women who are empowered because they are allowed to be like men, or other forms/waves of feminism, because I am a product of my upbringing and education and environment. I can't imagine yet what it would be like to not grow up with the gender expectations I grew up with, what it would be like to be judged independently of my gender and appearance etc., and I magine it is similar for most of us.

Until I can remove myself from this more, until the next generation grows up with more awareness in regards to biological determinism and gender, I can't tell you what would make a truly empowered woman, because my answer would be too vague and based on the limited idea of gender I am a product of.

Call it a cop-out if you will, but I can't make up an answer I don't have. I just don't think it means other ideas can't be critisized.

Edited by Stummel

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Camp wrote:
I fail to see how the obsession about men is disempowering.

One of the complaints of feminism of all kinds seems to be that men have illegitimately defined women- their gender roles, place in society and levels of participation therein, family roles, sexual roles, etc. I am not sure what exactly the connection between identity and power is, but I would think that a valid concern regarding women, as those featured in Sex in the City, who "obsess" about men, run the risk of being a kind of "second handler," relationally, by their very obsession, being defined by men instead of self defining.

I am not sure what exactly the connection between identity and power is, but I would think that a valid concern regarding women, as those featured in Sex in the City[/i'], who "obsess" about men, run the risk of being a kind of "second handler," relationally, by their very obsession, being defined by men instead of self defining.

If you watched the show you would notice the women talk about their relations with men, not the men themselves. Their discussions about men is dramatically different than the women in say, Jane Austen's novels. One is about their relationships, the other is about the men themselves. The four girls obsess about what their guys did or failed to do in their relationships. The Austen women talk about who their men are, what they do, who they're related to, who they saw, etc.. One defines themselves by their relationships, the other defines themselves by their men. It's easy to lump them both together.

I'm with DeadCanDance on this one. It is not whether it is about the men itself or the relationships, because in both instances it is still not about the women. The conversations are still defined by men, even if it isn't the men's fault or intention. In one episode Miranda actually acknowledges this and leaves the table, but nothing changed. And yes, it maybe depicts reality, but it's not empowering.

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To Michael and BDS, sorry I haven't replied to your posts yet. :)

I find it difficult because I don't put stripping in the same performance category as belly dancing or nude ballet. To me the purpose is entirely different, but Hugo made a much better attempt at explaining it than I could.

Also, I don't think my opposition has to do with the sleaziness of some strip clubs or class issues - I have been to a really exclusive strip club once and didn't find it more artistic or less degrading there - if anything the wealth of the clientele made it more off-putting and highlighted that the strippers were a commodity to be consumed. Maybe it has to do with not only degradation of women but commodification of sex in general, which I guess makes it less a women's issue and more a general issue. Perhaps the fact that it is more often women stripping and men watching makes it a feminist issue. But I have read your posts with interest regardless of my silence so far.

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The purpose of stripping and most other dancing is different -- just as the purpose of pornographic literature is different from the purpose of War and Peace. However, both pornography and War and Peace are forms of literature, and its interesting to compare and contrast them from that perspective.

(I was going to say "Ulysses" instead of War and Peace, but that might get confusing.)

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The purpose of stripping and most other dancing is different -- just as the purpose of pornographic literature is different from the purpose of War and Peace. However, both pornography and War and Peace are forms of literature, and its interesting to compare and contrast them from that perspective.

(I was going to say "Ulysses" instead of War and Peace, but that might get confusing.)

That is true. I just meant that I don't feel I can explain the degradation of women through strip clubs whilst looking at it as an art form.

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I'm running out of time to finish reading this thread, but I wanted to get my own two cents in because topics of this sort matter greatly to me in my own personal opinion.

First, Camp - I got your back. I think Sex and the City was a great show. It was entertaining and funny, and does fit in a certain niche in the history of feminism. To me, the show has never been about women who were empowered because they lived like men. It was more about women who lived like men but were STILL NOT empowered, and their struggle to understand why. Throughout the course of the show, the women tried different things and had different experiences that all seemed aimed at them understanding their own sexuality as women - trying to determine the nature under the nurture, and just how much nuture (provided from society) they were willing to accept.

In regards to strip clubs and degradation, I think it was Kant who made this distinction, but I'm a novice philosophy student, so I may be completely incorrect about everything I'm about to say. ^_^ Here goes:

There are two different ways we can approach a human being: as a means (an object) or an end (a subject). A great argument for waiting for marriage to have sex is that only in marriage can you be completely certain that your partner cares about you as a person - a subject and an ends - and that the sex act is not reducing you to a simple object - a more elaborate form of masturbation, if you will.

When you cease to be considered as a subject - a human being with your own needs, desires and interests - and are reduced a simple object - as important as a table lamp or "pocket pussy" (please forgive my language) - you have been degraded. You no longer hold the status of person. You are merely thing.

In this way, I argue that stripping is degrading to the stripper. When I watch a balet, I appreciate the beautiful performance put in front of me by the dancers. I admire the skill and control with which the dancers move their bodies, and how wonderfully the dancers seem to blend into the music. Above all, I appreciate the skill and hard work (bloody balet toes is an image that has haunted me from my childhood) that they put into reaching this exact moment of their performance. In short, I do not forget that the dancers are human. The money that passes from me to the performers is an admission of my appreciation for thier hard work to such an extent that I am willing to simply watch the glory and beauty which they are able to experience. When I pay them, I am paying a human being.

Strippers, however, do not retain their personhood during the execution of their dance. In the minds of their audience, they become an object of sexual arousal. Who they are doesn't matter. The inner person doesn't matter. What matters is only that the audience be aroused by this physical thing that is dancing in front of them. And when a patron pays for attending the show, the payment makes the stripper the object of the business transaction, not the subject. One might as well be paying for a meal at a nice resteraunt - where the stripper is the meal.

Indeed, at most strip clubs, if you pay $20 for a lap dance, $18 will go to the club and only $2 to the stripper. She is not getting paid for her performance. Someone else is getting paid for her performance. She is merely the object that belongs to the club, and the club will maintain her with the $2 the way one would spare money to purchase more meat for more meals.

In conclusion, stripping degrads the stripper because it objectifies the stripper and strips (pardon the pun) that individual of his or her personhood.

When I was getting married, I made it explicitly clear that I didn't want any strippers at my bachelorette party. As far as I see it, the point of watching a strip is sexual arousal, and I cannot be turned on by someone who has been reduced to a mere object. More importantly, I do not understand why anyone would want to be turned on by anyone / thing other than the subject of their sexual interest.

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First, Camp - I got your back. I think Sex and the City was a great show. It was entertaining and funny, and does fit in a certain niche in the history of feminism. To me, the show has never been about women who were empowered because they lived like men. It was more about women who lived like men but were STILL NOT empowered, and their struggle to understand why. Throughout the course of the show, the women tried different things and had different experiences that all seemed aimed at them understanding their own sexuality as women - trying to determine the nature under the nurture, and just how much nuture (provided from society) they were willing to accept.

Very interesting point and I never thought of it that way! Thank you.

There are two different ways we can approach a human being: as a means (an object) or an end (a subject). A great argument for waiting for marriage to have sex is that only in marriage can you be completely certain that your partner cares about you as a person - a subject and an ends - and that the sex act is not reducing you to a simple object - a more elaborate form of masturbation, if you will.

When you cease to be considered as a subject - a human being with your own needs, desires and interests - and are reduced a simple object - as important as a table lamp or "pocket pussy" (please forgive my language) - you have been degraded. You no longer hold the status of person. You are merely thing.

I don't really understand how marriage magically turns one into a subject as opposed an object? Ideally, people only marry out of true love and respect etc., but realistically there are thousands of marriages where this isn't the case, where there is not much mutual respect or equal empowerment, possibly even abuse of some sort. People marry for all sorts of reasons, and I wouldn't say that the status of a person automatically increases through marriage in their partner's eyes.

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I don't really understand how marriage magically turns one into a subject as opposed an object? Ideally, people only marry out of true love and respect etc., but realistically there are thousands of marriages where this isn't the case, where there is not much mutual respect or equal empowerment, possibly even abuse of some sort. People marry for all sorts of reasons, and I wouldn't say that the status of a person automatically increases through marriage in their partner's eyes.

Unfortunately, I'm not the right person to continue this debate with - I agree with you compeletly. That's why I called it "an argument" rather than argued it myself. The point of stating it all was to illustrate the difference between "object" and "subject." If you can understand what the argument is trying to say, then you can understand the concept of objectifying someone.

On a side note, (after I already said I wasn't going to argue it, lol), that particular argument doesn't imply that "the status of a person automatically increases through marriage." Ideally, your personhood is respected before you enter into a marriage - the marriage is simply the final, public statement of that respect. After marriage (ideally), you can be 100% certain that you are respected as a person by this individual, so after sex, you don't lay awake thinking, "Does (s)he really care about me? Or did (s)he say so just because (s)he wanted to enjoy my body?"

Tying back into the stripper discussion, the above question isn't even a question in the strippers' mind, because it is so obvious: "No, (s)he doesn't care about me and only wanted to enjoy my body."

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Posted

Interestingly enough, and this goes out in particular to Camp and Hugo, both avid fans of American Psycho, I was surprised and even a little excited to see that Bateman exemplified, and came to admit an agreement with the conclusion that I drew in the Pornography: I See Thou No Longer thread that the attraction to pornography is often, or at least in his case, grounded in fear, and that pornography is an attempt at anxiety reduction.

Among other anxieties associated with the reciprocal relationships between subject-subject, a great one is the fear that if the other is admitted as a subject, one runs the risk of being seen as an object in that subject's eyes. Objectification of the other is often preemptive, as an object cannot reduce oneself to an object. In this regard, there is an element of risk involved; the risk of the loss of one's personhood, and also the risk of rejection in the subject-subject relationship. In pornography, there is no risk of rejection.

Bateman could never have sex with another person; this is made clear in the narrative (78):

"Though physically Patricia is appealing and I wouldn't mind having sex with her body, the idea of treating her gently, of being a kind date".........

Later in the novel, as Bateman retreats more and more into himself, and finds communication with others increasingly difficult, he says (264):

"Plus I'm beginning to think that pornography is so much less complicated than actual sex, and because of this complication, so much more pleasurable."

More pleasurable in conjunction with the objectification involved, the less risk for complication, the greater the pleasure derived; this is the most defining characteristic of the sadist, who, of course, is afraid of life. Thus my conclusion in the other thread that "pornography is death."

To the extent that stripping, the kind one would likely find at your local strip club, is pornography, I would think it, to all involved, the destroyer of being, the great transformer of men into ghosts only half alive.....

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Posted

There sure is a lot of pity in this thread for the men who attend strip clubs. Is there anyone here who offers a different opinion? I know, earlier, someone said they did not know a single man who boasted about going to strip clubs, but knew men who went. My experience is the opposite. Most men I've known who attend strip clubs are not ashamed about the habit at all (and it is a habit with them) and will not hesitate to describe in detail the adventures they have had there.

Is there anyone from the latter crowd here tonight? Because it's a point of view that I think would add some dynamic to this thread and make the discussion a little more deep and a little less one-sided. Or am I jumping too quickly to the conclusion that those who have spoken thus far are in agreeance that strip clubs are "bad"?

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Posted

Oh i don't think it's entirely bad and should be outlawed. There are questionable elements, of course, such as the ties to slave trade or child prostitution, and unnecessary social pressures, but that is not enough to ban stripping. Moral outrage is not enough either.

I have no problems talking about the last time I went to a strip joint - probably not in mixed company though, out of respect, but with other guys who aren't hypocritical prudes.

Here's what I posted on the objectification of women in another thread:

Just recently I had a discussion about the objectification of women with this neomarxist. She claimed that the division of labor was the cause of women oppression, i.e., objectification because women were relegated to being in itself tasks (physical/animal duties of raising crops or giving birth) while men got to perform "being for itself" tasks (mental/human duties). Once the economic structure changes, everyone becomes equal subjects, and objectification disappears.

I argued that oppression exists irrespective of economics, whether society is a capitalist or a socialist one. Women are likely to remain as Other in either society because the roots of oppression lies in ontology.

Moreover, modern roles of women - marriage and motherhood - objectify them just as much as exploitative sex roles (prostitution, pornography, etc). The overcoming of immanence (the social limits of women) requires the (re)transformation of women from Other to subjects.

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