“The first academic research project into lap dancing” has wrapped, and it seems to indicate that the popular trope of an options-less stripper who must take her clothes off to Motley Crue or starve may not be all that representative of real life- at least, for about a quarter of “exotic dancers.”
The study, conducted at the University of Leeds, involved dancers from the UK. 87% of the women involved reported having completed “further education,” while 25% of the women held undergraduate degrees. And when the reasons that spurred women into choosing to work as a stripper were examined, the results were as such:
Aspiring actresses, models and artists used exotic dancing as a career strategy which fitted alongside their other work, training or studies.
Unemployed new graduates – mainly with arts degrees – were also dancing because they could not find graduate jobs and found that lap dancing paid much better than bar work.
Salaries averaged between $37,000-$76,000 (£24,000-£48,000) per year, and 76.4% of participants reported being “happy or very happy” in their jobs. One author of the study, Dr. Teela Sanders, says that one of the main drawbacks for participants was remaining in the field for longer than is optimal because the income level was too high to turn down:
“These women are incredibly body confident. I think there is something of a generational cultural difference. These young women do not buy the line that they are being exploited, because they are the ones making the money out of a three-minute dance and a bit of a chat. You have got to have a certain way about you to do it. They say 80 per cent of the job is talking. These women do work hard for their money – you don’t just turn up and wiggle your bum.
“But there is an issue about whether these women become trapped in the job because of the money. I think people often stay longer than they want.”