Ask a Stripper
- Katharine Gemmell
- 8 August 2019
Breaking down stereotypes in the fight for equal rights
Picture this: the local council has decided to take a public vote on whether your job should exist and doesn't ask for your input. Would you be outraged?
This is just one of the hypocrisies touched on at Ask a Stripper, a question-and-answer session hosted by Morag and Stacey Clare, aka Gypsy Charms and the Ethical Stripper. With a PhD, a TED Talk, a few properties and a husband between them, they're here to smash down the stigmatising stereotypes that society holds about strippers and the wider sex worker community.
During the hour, clothes are shed – literally and metaphorically – and there's no such thing as a stupid question. They range from 'How do you stay safe at work?' to 'What's your favourite song to dance to?' When queries are deemed as 'hot topics', the maracas come out and topical hashtags like feminism and whorephobia are investigated.
A pressing issue the pair are spreading awareness on is the current Sexual Entertainment Venue license consultation in Glasgow. This has the possibility of capping the number of venues to zero – effectively eliminating strip clubs. Although both admit that the clubs are not perfect (like most people's workplaces), licensed premises allow for as close to protection as is currently afforded. Without these, it just serves to drive work underground.
Morag and Stacey are examples of confident, strong and educated women who are using their relative positions of privilege within a minority group to speak up for those who can't.
The premise is simple, yet the effect is radical: it facilitates a conversation with a silenced group and humanises the plight of sex workers. They make the simple point that, ultimately, they just want to have the same rights in the workplace that everyone else has. Is that too much to ask?
For more information about the SEV Licensing consultation and how you can support workers, go to askthe700.org.
Heroes @ Bob's BlundaBus, until 5 Aug (not 14, 21), 7.50pm, £5.