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Strip Clubs and Objectification

(32 Posts)
Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm Sun 23-Feb-14 20:18:08

Okay, I am posting this in relationships as I respect the advice and opinions from a number of posters on here, however I may move to feminism if people think it is more appropriate.

Anyway leading on from some other threads from posters who are understandably upset that their DH/DP had a lapdance in a strip club, there have been lots of discussion around the objectification of women. Putting aside personal relationship boundaries and the massive problems with people trafficking and other things within the sex industry, I want to ask a questions around the objectification discussion.

Now my exH (lovely guy, we split up under v amicable circumstances and not related to this incident) went on a stag do and had a private dance. I wasn't at all bothered (because I was bored of him and didn't care what he did, but that is another story), and as we were good friends we chatted about how his night went. Anyway he seemed more excited about the fact that he chatted to the stripper for ages and she told him all about how she was doing a degree and had just come back from 18 months travelling in Australia and NZ and was saving to go again (hence the job). He told me all about her (i.e. the travelling and stuff), and it was relevant as we were planning to take a year out to go to Australia. Anyway he said whilst they were talking she kept asking if he was ready to go upstairs (of course she did, she is on commission!). Anyway so after a bit he went and had a dance then came back and chatted a bit more. Apparently the club was dead and only there party was in there (so ratio of 5 men to about 20 women!).

So my question is, does that mean he objectified women? I completely understand the argument about it, but lets say his story is true. He clearly was really interested in her as a person and he didn't even tell me how big her boobs were. He did tell me her name though! We had a very open sort of relationship so he would have/could have said that she was really hot and she had the best tits ever if he wanted, he knew I wouldn't been upset.

Thoughts please???

Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm Sun 23-Feb-14 20:20:35

p.s. I am not so naive to think he didn't fancy the pants off the stripper (literally)and really really want the dance. I just wonder if he was objectifying or not and if therefore it is possible to go to a stripclub and not objectify women.

NoArmaniNoPunani Sun 23-Feb-14 20:23:27

My friend who used to lap dance has told me that engaging men in conversation is the best way to earn money. She got commission for all the drinks she got the men to buy so she'd be engaging them in conversation as much as she could and encouraging them to buy expensive champagne.
I don't think the lap dancer was talking to your ex because she found him interesting, she was doing it for the money.

Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm Sun 23-Feb-14 20:26:32

Oh of course, I am not under any illusions as to the lapdancers motives. More that ExH could have just gone off, had a dance or more, with several of the girls (he had loadsa money) and not bothered to chat. I appreciate he could have been lying to me, but just interested in the objectification point.

NoArmaniNoPunani Sun 23-Feb-14 20:31:01

If a pretty woman starts talking to a bloke, he's not likely to tell her to go away is he? Whether he views her as an interesting person or just a hot body

Wrapdress Sun 23-Feb-14 20:41:06

Sounds like he was humanizing her, not objectifying her.

Logg1e Sun 23-Feb-14 20:44:43

If he wasn't objectifying women, would he have gone in to the strip club? Why not meet a person in a pub or at work and talk about their travelling?

Logg1e Sun 23-Feb-14 20:45:13

(And I'm genuinely asking that and thinking out loud, not making a rhetorical point).

Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm Sun 23-Feb-14 20:45:35

Yes thank you wrapdress, that is what I think (although obviously she shouldn't need humanising, what with actually being a human, but I know what you mean). I am new to feminism and really feel like I have had my eyes opened to how brainwashed we are as a society to accept the whole 'boys will be boys' thing. But this situation does seem to be different.

Thanks Armarni - I understand what you are saying, just wondered why he bothered to talk to her, when he could have just paid and used her body. Unless he viewed her as a human and not just an object.

Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm Sun 23-Feb-14 20:46:56

Yes Logg1e, he obviously objectifies to think it was okay to go. It was his first time, and when he got there maybe he realised they were real people? Sorry probably overthinking, just find it all interesting.

Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm Sun 23-Feb-14 20:48:41

He was on a stag do. It wasn't planned, or his choice. Yes he could have met someone just in a bar, but as open as we were we weren't 'that open' so I guess he thought that would cross a line, but for us the stripclub didn't (I think differently now!).

sydlexic Sun 23-Feb-14 20:52:34

He was trying to make himself feel better by saying that he talked to her and his money was improving her life, then he looked at her tits. Definitely objectification.

Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm Sun 23-Feb-14 20:54:13

Sorry Logg1e, just reread your 1st post. Yes he could have talked so anyone (sorry I thought you meant sex and chat with anyone!). I just think he went to the strip club with no thought about it. In the way that millions of people eat Kentucky chicken and put no thought into the cruelty of battery farming. (not saying that it is right, just that, maybe, that's how it is).
I bet the majority of those Kentucky eaters would say they are animal lovers or at least would never hurt an animal. Yes, deffo overthinking!

Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm Sun 23-Feb-14 20:55:50

Ah yes, thank you sydlexic, see what you mean. He knew it was wrong and so tried to make it seem better to himself. Ah, who knew he was so complex.

HelenHen Sun 23-Feb-14 20:55:52

It's not exactly black and white! The industry as a whole is not exactly healthy but I have a friend who is a lap dancer and certainly human. I've also been to a couple of lapdancing clubs (I used to work in a male industry and nights out often ended up there. I kinda felt like I was making a point by not going home and turning down the free drink still on offer. I also kinda enjoyed the fact that it made some lads a bit uncomfortable that I was there). However, it was quite the eye opener to see the change in many of the lovely middle aged happily married men that I worked with shudder

I think I'm a lot more ok with them than dh though. I made it clear before his stag that if his friends made him go and have a dance I would not be bothered at all. But he made it pretty clear that he certainly would.

I've become less ok with it though the past couple of years. I think the sex industry is becoming too mainstream and acceptable and is forcing its way into our every day lives via pop culture in particular.

In my opinion, anyone who facilitates and funds this industry is indeed objectifying women.

NoArmaniNoPunani Sun 23-Feb-14 20:59:53

Thanks Armarni - I understand what you are saying, just wondered why he bothered to talk to her, when he could have just paid and used her body. Unless he viewed her as a human and not just an object

Not quite the same situation but one of the most common services escorts are asked for is a 'girlfriend' type service - conversation, dinner, cuddles etc as well as sex. There is a big section of men who use sexual services who don't just want the sex.

Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm Sun 23-Feb-14 21:05:26

Armarni - it is interesting. I struggle to understand men who use sex services, because I cant understand how anyone would want to have sex with someone who must be revolted by them but is driven by money, and just acting interested. Where is their self respect?

But then I learnt about misogyny and the power thingy and now I just don't know what to think!

Thank you everyone for your comments.

ExH interestingly had 2 friends who were strippers and ended up going out with one of them for a short while (he didn't meet them at strip clubs, he wasn't a 'customer'). So he clearly didn't think they were seedy or just for sex and sleaze but not good enough to take home to mum (as he did!).

hermionepotter Sun 23-Feb-14 21:17:49

Interesting - maybe there's a grey area - objectifying her sexuality but also seeing her as a person - dunno. Some men obviously date women who work in these type of jobs and are able to be comfortable with that side of them, presumably not seeing them as an object in this way?
Men are conditioned to an extent I reckon to see women as sex objects as that's the society we live in. Some may have the ability to rise above that and not go to those places even on rare stag do etc but some maybe feel pressured to go but could be otherwise decent guys?
I know that's a controversial view on MN and I don't agree with those type of clubs FWIW

NoArmaniNoPunani Sun 23-Feb-14 21:21:00

There is also a section of misogynist men who wouldn't set foot in a lap dancing club because they believe the women in there are 'dirty slags'. Just because they don't go doesn't mean they have a high opinion of women.

Logg1e Sun 23-Feb-14 21:25:10

I think we're all conditioned to objectify women. The more I become aware of it, the more I can't believe just how insidious it is. I can't believe how much I just accepted it and condoned it.

JoinYourPlayfellows Sun 23-Feb-14 21:30:53

sydlexic has it.

Men who like paying women to perform humiliating sexual antics for them often like to know things about the goods they are purchasing.

Makes for a more rounded experience.

Allows them to feel more powerful and even a bit benevolent.

Blistory Sun 23-Feb-14 21:32:27

He had a dance with her ?

So he talked to her, was interested in her life and then still paid her to dance for him ? Isn't that worse ? That he had the opportunity to realise that she was a person in her own right and he could then still switch off and use her simply to satisfy his needs.

Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm Sun 23-Feb-14 21:36:52

Ok yes I see that Join and Blistory.

I suppose I guess I just saw her as having the power. I imagined him sat there with a massive hard on, desperate for more, and her teasing him, and then going off with some other guy while he was left all frustrated. See how my respect for him was at a zero.

I think that says more about how I viewed by ExH, than how he views women/strippers.

ageofgrandillusion Sun 23-Feb-14 21:37:49

Like somebody above so rightly said - he was humanising her. Men - most men - dont shag objects.

Thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm Sun 23-Feb-14 21:43:45

Yes, I don't know that he did switch off and objectify with her. I think he felt a connection with her and under the influence of alcohol and the false environment felt like it was mutual. (idiot!).I mean I guess the girls pretend they want to dance for the guys, and say stuff like, ooh I really wanna dance for you, I am getting all wet for you etc etc (again, idiot men).

Bless him, he really was a nice, kind guy, really. And I don't like to think bad of him, but all this feminist stuff really makes me despair at society.

I feel like Rita. From Educating Rita, when she is in the pub and realises she doesn't fit in anymore, and loves her family but can't uneducated herself. Except that I see that is 99% of people I know now....

Ooh its hard seeing both sides of an discussion, especially when you feel strongly about one side.

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