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Values, Norms, Power Struggles, and Hierarchy Among Women Working as Club Strippers in Israel: A Qualitative Perspective

Abstract

This qualitative study analyzes the attitudes of 11 women who work as club strippers in an attempt to discern the characteristics of the subculture of Israeli strip clubs as viewed in real time. A thematic analysis of individual interviews indicated the existence of a women’s strip club subculture in Israel. This is typified by ongoing efforts to reduce mental and emotional stress, deceit, ambivalence, and power struggles, as articulated in the intense consumption of alcohol, relationships between strippers and their peers, and strippers’ sexual and non-sexual relations with club owners and clients. The study concludes that this subculture serves as a platform for generating and designing social systems and achieving various needs and desires unfulfilled in general society; however, it simultaneously weakens the woman stripper who lacks the necessary pragmatic instruments to preserve her fundamental human and occupational rights.

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  1. Reflection by the third author: The third author of this paper is the head of HaLev 24/7 and has previous acquaintance with strip clubs and their workers, which led her to take some of the issues emerging from the interviews for granted. Her prior knowledge and familiarity with some of the interviewees contributed to a fluent and authentic conversation based on trust, which also enabled her to conduct repeated interviews as required. That said, with two of the interviewees, she sometimes felt embarrassed by the fact that she knew them and the people they were talking about, which led her to conduct the interviews in a more formal and purposeful manner. In addition, she did not always feel comfortable presenting herself in her professional role, since her position regarding the legal status of stripping in Israel is clearly and explicitly negative. She was therefore concerned that the workers would identify that, judge her, and be deterred from talking freely. She nonetheless always presented her professional position and never kept it a secret. Despite her long familiarity with the world of strip clubs, she was fascinated and intrigued by the interviews with the strippers, who shed a new and unfamiliar light on the behind-the-scenes workings.

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Correspondence to Tomer Einat.

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Einat, T., Yaron-Antar, A. & Nardimon, S. Values, Norms, Power Struggles, and Hierarchy Among Women Working as Club Strippers in Israel: A Qualitative Perspective. Sexuality & Culture 26, 913–931 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-021-09924-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-021-09924-8

Keywords

  • Women
  • Club strippers
  • Subculture
  • Ambivalence
  • Power