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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Testimony: Working at a strip club does not deserve a stigma


Photo By Cameron Hubbard

When someone asks the typical college student, “What did you do this summer?” the response is often, “I worked every day.” This will remain how students spend their summers because college is not cheap. Most working students may have jobs on campus, internships over the summer, a job at a local movie theater, or serve at a restaurant. However, I spent three-and-a-half months of my summer working at a strip club.
The average student makes about $11-12 an hour. Every summer before this one, I would be included in this range, even as a server at a high-end steakhouse, where I worked for two years to save up for school.
However, I wanted to make so much more with far less hassle. I had often seen on Twitter or heard of how much money girls can make waitressing or dancing at clubs. While the idea was slightly out of my comfort zone at the time, I applied at the very start of summer. I was hired the same day I walked in. Come to find out, this was the best decision I could have made for myself.
Being a college student and working at a strip club is not uncommon. In fact, one in three strippers are students working to pay for their tuition. I worked as a waitress for two months before moving to private dancing. In the time I worked at the club, I made over triple the amount of any previous summer working as a server.
At no point in my life have I ever seen so much money. When movies or music videos feature people throwing money in the air at clubs as if it grows on trees, that really happens. When you are up on stage, you can be showered with bills.
There is a vast difference between waitressing at a club and serving at a restaurant. When I served at a steakhouse, I dreaded going in for shifts. The money was okay, but the patrons were terrible and the service industry is not easy. At the club, while I still had to serve customers, it was as if all I had to do was bat an eye and I would get a $200 tip on a $50 tab.
Men vied for my attention and time and threw money at me when I gave it to them. They begged to buy me drinks and tipped me for everything. It was empowering knowing what I had and using it to my advantage. There is nothing wrong with this type of work, especially given the large sums of money I was procuring.
I developed relationships with customers; people would come in just to see me. The longer I was there, the larger my customer base became. One man would come in about three times a week to see me and spend around $1,500 every time. Rarely did I have a bad shift; on average, I would make an upwards of $400 a night. Against what I was making at the restaurant before, I now earned about $50 an hour at the club. The job was so much fun and I felt great about myself, physically and mentally, while simultaneously securing a small fortune.
Given, there are ups and downs to every situation. It was not all fun and games. Women that work at strip clubs have to constantly put up with harassment and creeps. I had to grow thick skin quick in order to get through some nights without throwing a drink on someone.
There is such a stigma surrounding women that work at strip clubs, be it dancing or waitressing. However, people are quick to forget that it is just a job. It is not degrading or exploiting. I have not hit rock bottom because I chose to spend my summer doing this.For whatever reason, patrons of strip clubs, in my experience, feel entitled to the women around them. Men would get angry when drunk and take out their sexual frustrations or recent rejections on women they deemed “less than.” They figured we were obligated to do and say what they pleased. These guys were usually kicked out before the night was over, and with good reason.
I was lucky enough to work with great managers that doubled as security. They took the extra step to protect us if something were to go wrong. Fights were not uncommon between dancers over the slightest conflicts or customers who would tussle in drunken stupors. Regardless, I was never against going into work. I enjoyed what I was doing, as did my wallet.
Waitressing and dancing have made me more confident in who I am and how I look. Stripping can be an outlet for the expression of beauty, self-love and sexuality.
Now, I no longer have to freak out when I see the price of my textbooks this semester and I can treat myself in a way I was unable to before. Society needs to stop shaming women who choose to strip or work in this kind of environment because, in the end, it’s our choice.
– Bayley Bogus is a journalism junior

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  • Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Follender

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