In Taiwan, a way of honoring the dead is starting to take off (no pun intended) all over the country. Family members wishing to honor their deceased relatives and friends. They hire the funeral strippers! According to an AFP report, in some areas of Taiwan it is becoming very common for pole dancers and strippers to ply their trade during religious festivals to honor the “wandering spirits” that have recently passed (see video below). Women in bras and miniskirts dance to loud dance music and shake their bodies so the dead can be happy as they ascend towards the heavens.
This may be a new idea to those in the Western world but for Taiwan this craze is neither new nor unorthodox. Men, women and children all gather around to watch the funeral strippers get busy on stage.
A documentary by anthropologist Marc L. Moskowitz explains the phenomena in a film he released in 2011 called “Dancing for the Dead: Funeral Strippers in Taiwan.”
A synopsis of the film states:
“Funeral strippers work on Electric Flower Cars (EFC) which are trucks that have been converted to moving stages so that women can perform as the vehicles follow along with funerals or religious processions. EFC came to Taiwan’s public attention in 1980 when newspapers began covering the phenomenon of stripping at funerals. There is a great deal of debate about whether this should be allowed to continue. In Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, one often hears middle and upper class men complain about the harmful effects of this rural practice on public morality. In contrast, people in the industry see themselves as talented performers and fans of the practice say that it makes events more exciting.”
Moskowitz, in an interview with io9.com said:
“It’s not at all common for urbanites, but in rural settings, most people have seen these performances. Actual full stripping has gone underground because there were laws enacted against full nudity in the 1980s. Nonetheless, the documentarian noted that “almost everyone” he had spoken to for his film had said they had seen “full stripping.”
Taoist preist have said that funeral strippers have become a strong part of the culture in Taiwain because the gyrating naked bodies of women is a great way to appease the dead and the Gods that they are hoping to please and get into the after life.
How do you feel about the idea of Funeral Strippers performing at your funeral?
Click here to watch a performance of the funeral strippers at work (WARNING: NSFW)