The sex industry is defined through pornography (videos and magazines), prostitution, sex trade and even exotic dance clubs (a.k.a. strip clubs). There are lots of stereotypes and negative connotations that are brought upon this community and industry, whether they are true or not. There are always stories that show the other side of industry, the sides that don’t get much light shined in them in the media and go unnoticed.
The exotic dance industry is one of the most stereotyped professions. Yet, there are many girls who dance to pay of college, support their families, or dance because they do truly enjoy it. Bambi, 21, (who’s real name was requested to not be used) is a dancer at Deja Vu in Saginaw and has danced for the past two years to support her way through two colleges, Delta Community College and Dorsey’s Technical School. She is 1 out 3 dancers to fit this description. Bambi studies massage therapy at Dorsey’s and she is finishing her Associate’s degree at Delta. When Bambi returned to school after the summer her job wouldn’t hire her back, so in search of money and trying not to ask her parents for much when they couldn’t really afford to, her roommate suggested she waitress at Deja Vu. Within a few months Bambi started dancing and has continued to dance, mainly working the night shifts (3rd shift) because it does not conflict with school. Bambi has grown a lot since her time as an exotic dancer and has found a new side of herself from dance.
“The best thing I like is that when I get on stage I just listen to my music and dance, getting a work out while doing it,” Bambi explained.
Bambi does not wish to continue dancing past her time in college, but she is glad that she made the choice to dance to help support herself.
Outside of Bambi’s story, a lot of students (male and female, ages 18-23), were surveyed and their opinions of the exotic dance industry fit with the stereotypes Bambi said she once believed herself.
There is more that meets the eye to everyone’s choice for profession or job. Even some of Bambi’s classmates did not know or realize that she was a dancer till the end of the school year and it took them by surprise.
“There is always that saying never judge a book by its cover and you never know what people are going through to get what they want,” said Bambi.
Study the rules (yes there are rules), learn about the culture, and meet the people. Actually go to a club. You might surprise yourself with what you learn and it will help you humanize the girls that work there. Honest people working counterculture jobs to support themselves are everywhere, do not let the stereotypes fool you.