I love strip clubs.

I am from Atlanta. I can tell you without hesitation that strip clubs boost Atlanta’s economy. Stripping is an art form. Have you seen the way dancers contort their bodies and perform on stage? It’s not too much different from an Alvin Ailey performance. More entertaining than The Nutcracker for sure.

In this week’s social media news, a stripper dropped two stories from a pole and landed face first, cracking her teeth and jaw. Sis didn’t miss a beat though. She got on her knees and twerked like she didn’t see bits of her teeth on the floor in front of her. I saw the video and thought she died until she got up and threw her ass in a circle. That’s the type of dedication that employers want their employees to have.

But at what cost? Strip clubs make a lot of money. Any business that exploits a woman’s sexuality does well. There is a reason prostitution is lucrative in Vegas. There’s a reason droves of men flock to strip clubs in Miami and Atlanta, sex sells. Actually, vagina sells. No one would care about sex industries if it were men who were exploited. No disrespect to religion, but men aren’t exactly lining up at churches throwing mounds of dollar bills on the altar.

No judgements here, grown ups should be able to participate in whatever legal and consensual activities they choose. In the year 2020, I don’t understand why there hasn’t been more of a push to unionize strippers. If coal mine jobs in West Virginia can unionize, then surely an eight billion-dollar industry like stripping could do the same. There’s no reason a dancer falls two stories on a pole and needs surgery but doesn’t have health benefits to cover her medical costs. GoFundMe is not a viable health insurance policy and women shouldn’t have to depend on it to meet their basic health needs.

A union could do a lot of good in an industry where mostly men exploit women’s sexuality to get rich, it would level the playing field. Strippers aren’t afforded health benefits, pregnancy leave, 401Ks, and other employee entitlements that have improved the working conditions and lives of employees. Treating strippers as contractors circumvents basic employee rights they should be entitled to but aren’t. Labeling strippers as contractors dehumanizes women and denying them basic employee rights  diminishes the responsibility of their employer to treat them in a humane way. It’s easy to judge women in sex work but that shouldn’t absolve employers from doing the right thing. This problem is wide-spread. The music industry owes strippers a check. There are thousands of artists, like Cardi B and Kanye West, who wouldn’t be where they are if their music didn’t pop at Magic City or King of Diamonds first. A Union could make them cut the check. Nelly and Luda wouldn’t have their biggest hits if it weren’t for strippers. BET Uncut wouldn’t be a thing without strippers. Atlanta and Miami night life wouldn’t be what it is without the sex industry.

It’s time for the #MeToo movement to protect all women. It’s time for women’s lib to be a bold statement for all women and not just women who society acknowledges as worthy. It’s time for women to demand more. There are strippers who work on their craft and are consummate professionals in their field. How they make their money has no bearing on how society treats them and the level of protection they get. Unions aren’t just for white men anymore. It’s 2020 and everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.

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