I worked alongside fierce women paying off mortgages and masters degrees, raising children and starting charities. I could choose my hours, take time off and still have a job to come back to. My parents paid my rent, my Kentucky Fried Chicken and my living expenses. Often it was worse than the work itself, where I could, by and large, control my exploitation and maintain my boundaries and self-worth. Looking back, that possibility, coupled with the superficiality of the work and its instant reward, meant I never had to go deep and figure out what I truly valued. And still I told myself it was my choice. Additionally, what I did for work on weekends was seen as the sum total of who I was.
Averie. Age: 32.
No other profession I knew paid women significantly more than men.
Nola. Age: 20.
As a stripper I've spent two decades naked, and this is what I learnt
The goal of making money became an end in itself. And I did choose stripping, again and again. The constant judgment, often from people who had never been inside a strip club, left me excluded from normal life.