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The Tasteful Nude The Tasteful Nude

Social Media and Endangered Anonymity in the Strip Club

Social Media and Endangered Anonymity in the Strip Club: Hair and Makeup by Emma Parkes

Hair and Makeup by Emma Parkes

Welcome to The Tasteful Nude, in which stripper, comedian and writer Kasey Koop gives us a point-blank look at life onstage and backstage in L.A.’s strip club scene. Check back every Thursday afternoon for more.

Choosing to become a stripper comes with the hefty follow-up decision of whether to out yourself on social media. Is it better to stay the course of anonymity, shielding yourself against the scrutiny of strangers and employers, or to increase your earning power using the self-promotional muscle of social media? For me, the final push was seeing a girl casually tweet her transition into stripping as if she had just taken a job at a library. I also found the Instagram accounts of dancers who had foregone anonymity for the fruits of personal branding. As a comic, I felt obligated to be open about my job and share my truth; that’s what good comedy is based in. Then again, I’d dedicated my life to my truth, which had dragged me to Los Angeles and through grueling open mics and now had me undressing for money. Didn’t my truth need a nap?

Inspired by dancers whose fans bought them lingerie, I became a social-media stripper. Not all girls have the freedom to blow their cover, though, which is getting harder to protect with the abundance of technologies that document our every move. Let’s look at the constraints of social media as a self-promoting stripper.


INSTAHAM
In social media’s reign, Instagram handles have replaced phone number requests. Who needs human connection when you can have fans? It’s also a convenient way to slide into my DMs with such eloquent professions as, “Your feet r pretty.” My IG is mainly personal, but some strippers’ pages are devoted to their stage personae, advertising their schedules alongside pole dancing videos and hot pictures. One girl I work with has branded herself so well online that she works almost entirely by appointment: She only leaves the locker room to perform onstage when fans come to see her. Strip clubs have gotten on board by promoting their dancers with sexy photos. Followers don’t necessarily equal dollars, but they can add to the venue’s overall hype.

But this goes beyond the strip club. As much as “Instagram models” are lampooned for being conceited, many of them are keenly taking advantage of social media’s DIY power, which cuts out the gatekeepers who dictate beauty standards. Thanks to Instagram, exotic dancers and Suicide Girls are gaining followings to rival runway models. Some strippers, like Alice “Malice” Mcmunn, are on their way to becoming household names. Fame aside, profit can come in the form of strangers purchasing the girl items off her Amazon Wish List or companies paying her to advertise their products. What might seem like a trite call for attention pays off, at the very least, in more strip club customers—and more fat stacks for us.

SEND NUDES
While Instagram suspends users for posting female nipples (apparently they have a “no cooties” nudity policy), Twitter and Snapchat are full nude outlets. But why would strippers freely flash the flesh they charge to reveal in person? Part of the reason is that we tend to be exhibitionists who get a kick out of upsetting the flow of society with our butts. Hell, I want my funeral to be open casket and my corpse to be naked! The other part is promotional. Imagine if you could meet and play with your favorite porn stars—the riches in your spank bank. Making our bodies viewable online doesn’t provide the tactile satisfaction of a lap dance but can rev men up for it. Snapchat also takes followers inside more private stripper moments like locker room silliness, creating a sense of intimacy and a stronger fan base.

PRIVACY
It’s exhausting getting interrogated about my real name by customers trying to outsmart the situation they’ve put themselves in. The age of the social media stripper can make us forget why pseudonyms exist, which is for our safety. A guy once told me, teary-eyed, that his mom dying the night we met signified our destiny together. If that’s not frightening enough, consider the fact that sex workers face some of the highest violence and murder rates, all because our lives are seen as less valuable. I’ve thrown my double-life to the wayside for the fame and glory of being a public slut, but many have to save face for potential careers that won’t hire an ex-sex worker. Who knows what kind of havoc she would wreak? What if she mistakes her cubical for a champagne room?

During my freshman year of college, my classmates found a nude video of our student teacher online and played it on their laptops in class to humiliate her. She was let go shortly thereafter. That’ll teach her to acquire the means to afford higher education!

LOGGING OFF
Finally, a word of advice to all you strip club patrons. These days, staying under the radar isn’t as easy as hanging “No Photos” signs around the club—so as much as you want to look like a baller by documenting your night at the strip club, put your phone away. Some of us have the luxury of choosing to be cyber starlets, but you could get a girl fired from her day job by posting footage of her dancing. Your Snapchats might get her disowned or even hurt; a colleague moved states to escape her strip club stalker. The anonymity of stripping might seem outdated in the era of social media, but then so does firing a woman for exercising her sexuality.

We have a lot of catching up to do.


Find more installments of the Tasteful Nude here.

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