Can you be a feminist and a sex worker? The longstanding belief that strip clubs are sexist and increase the gender imbalance is something this Strippers Collective would like to dispute.
They work in one of Berlins biggest strip clubs and got inspired by “The Lusty Lady” which was a cooperative strip club owned and managed by the dancers themselves during the ’70s in San Francisco.
Meet The Berlin Strippers Collective
Written by Amanda Sandström Beijer
Photos by Ida Marie Tangeraas
“Being a feminist stripper means being there for one another, creating events that allow us to share our art to a wider audience that appreciate what we do in a respectful and fair environment, we are just trying to survive in a system that is clearly unbalanced.“
“We have autonomy of our own bodies and we decide to do this because it suits our needs, there aren’t that many jobs around that supports such a varied group of women, from so many different backgrounds, all doing this for million different reasons, being a feminist means to understand each other’s struggles without judgment.”
Berlin Playful Magazine
Issue 03 Jun – Jul – Aug 20
Pages 40 – 47
Online Article – playfulmag.com
They work in one of Berlins biggest strip clubs and got inspired by ’the Lusty Lady’ which was a cooperative strip club owned and managed by the dancers themselves during the 70’s in San Francisco. Meet Berlin Strippers Collective.
Outside the building there are screens showing pictures of the strippers working inside. The entrance is tiny, and I don’t expect the place to be as big as it is when I enter. I walk past a smaller stage with a pole and the bar until I come to several private boots and the main stage. Some of the girls are sitting by the main stage, as the place hasn’t opened yet. There’s no smell of smoke, even though some of them are relaxing with their phones, having a cigarette and waiting for the night to start.
”We’re about 60 strippers working here, all in all and most of us work during the weekends which can be a bit challenging, but thankfully most dancers are really nice and we still manage to have a good atmosphere among us compared to many clubs where things can get really tense among the dancers, specially when there isn’t enough customers for everyone”, Karo says after greeting me by the bar. We walk past the it to find a more secluded part just behind the booths as Anna joins us by the round table.
”When I told my mom what I do, we had a disagreement since she’s a second-wave feminist, so her way of thinking is that strippers are victims and we had this huge discussion where I mean that stripping is not giving up the autonomy of our bodies, and that it’s my decision if I want to do this kind of job”, Anna says.
Feminism and sex-work are subjects that may be especially trending at this time since the new feminist era and the second-wave’ feminism are clashing.
”I guess I subscribe to the newer way of feminism, the ’sex positive feminism’ I guess they call it nowadays, which from my understanding is more about empowering females’ sexuality and including that into the disillusive feminism. My understanding is that the second-wave feminism is about keeping back females’ sexuality and that if we please men’s sexual desires we are somehow upholding the patriarchal order. There is no room for exploring and strengthening women’s or other gender’s diverse sexualities in that mode of feminist thinking. But I think that’s changing. That’s why a steadily increasing number of younger women are able to combine a feminist identity with being a sex-worker”, Karo says.