Around 10 most nights, Nikeisah Newton hops into her car for a minute drive into downtown Portland, Ore. Newton said. Newton, whose ex-girlfriend is a former stripper, has joined a wave of dancers and their allies across the nation who are fighting to reform labor practices; put an end to sexual harassment and discrimination in their workplaces; and stifle the stigma around what they believe is as legitimate a profession as any. Members of this movement are sharing their experiences with the public through podcasts, books and visual arts; using technology to spread information about their industry; and protesting injustices in the streets.
Behind the Curtain
During the interview, she and her cofounder, Lauren Kassan, were scouting potential sites in Paris. Many of the sites they toured often had the trappings of a vaguely feminist history: one building is the former residence of the famous mistress of Louis XIV, Madame de Montespan, who never let any men into her space unless they were servants. When I read this, I wondered at the sentiment behind it. Was Gelman suggesting that — like the legend behind the home of Madame Montespan — there is something inherently feminist about a strip club that would lend itself to the ostensible theme of women-only coworking spaces? After all, the sex industry is the only industry in which women make more money than men. Or, rather, was she suggesting that by taking over and converting a strip club into the Wing, she and Kassan would remake the space into something newly feminist, maybe even redeeming it of its sordid history? Knowing what I know of mainstream feminists — particularly wealthy, white feminists who make activism a brand only accessible to those who are similarly wealthy — I suspect it is the latter. One of the things I was most nervous about when I started dancing was not interacting with men, but interacting with my fellow dancers. Plus I was getting paid.
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