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Exotic Dancers

Erotic movement of one’s body that uses dance, and is a sexually suggestive behaviour. To arouse sexual interest, desires, and fantasies.


What is the purpose of exotic dancing?

Economic gain.


What are some common assumptions about exotic dancers?

Have been portrayed as uneducated, sexually promiscuous, and lacking both ambition and a sense of self-worth.


What is the major debate within deviance studies about sex workers?

Are they victims of circumstance? Or are they agents of choice?


Sociology has recently begun to look at...

Dancer’s own understandings of their work.



Some part of life was unsatisfying. Drug addict and prostitute had a chance to elevate themselves in position.



Want to be edgy, want to take risks.



Had a dance background, like exotic dance as artistic performance.



Just a job, better than waiting tables.


True or false? Every exotic dancer has a different reason for being there, and a different way of rationalizing it to themselves.



How are the experiences of exotic dancers varied?

- Some exploited.
- Some have had successful careers and positive feelings.


How does the exotic dancer exercise power on an in individual level?

Counterfeit intimacy.


Exotic dancing on an individual level:

Between dancers and customers. Customers have power over dancers. Exotic dancer is there to embody whatever fantasy the customer wants. Exotic dancers also have power through counterfeit intimacy. Performative version of self.


Who has power in the exotic dance industry?

- Customers — incentives to please their customers.
- Employers also have power over them.
- Exotic dancer has power as well.
- Those who are popular have the ability to move freely. Can move from one club to another.


Exotic dancing on an organizational level:

Written and unwritten rules of the club. Written rule could be “no touching.” Unwritten can be how tips are shared. Impact the behaviour of the dancers. Dancers try to game the system. Sense of control over the system.


4 aspects of institutional level for exotic dancing:

Efficiency, predictability, control, calculability.


Efficiency at institutional level:

Tactics or strategies to get the dancers to interact as many customers as possible. How to encourage financial transaction.


Predictability at institutional level:

Standardization. Most obvious way is in how they look. Going to one strip club is the same as the next. Standard of appearance they try to maintain.


Control at institutional level:

Sets certain standards that control the behaviour of their dancers. Standard now is no body hair.


Calculability at institutional level:

Length and timing of songs. How much does exotic dancer waste between one lap dance and the next? Time bathroom breaks.


What is concerning about the link between exotic dancing and organized crime?

Has caused concerns about human trafficking.


What is the new view of female sexuality in exotic dancing?

Women as powerful, active participants who have the ability to choose whether or not they want to become exotic dancers. Comes to join common view of disenfranchised, marginalized group.



Broad social movement where there is the influx of material that was formally limited to the sex industry before that is now becoming integrated into mainstream culture. Stripper heels, pole dancing.


Tantra Fitness Poledancing Studio Mission Statement

Provide an open space for women to be playful and courageous while discovering their inner beauty through fitness and dance.


Stripper-Chic is a new wave in...

Western sexual culture, and a new embodiment of femininity.


What is a result of the new wave in Western sexual culture?

- Permissive attitudes towards sexual expression.
- At some point, exotic dancing may become legitimate instead of being viewed as deviant.


What would qualify something as being a deviant occupation?

If it is illegal, immoral, or improper.


What was sociology's view of exotic dancing in the seventies?

Researchers viewed it as a deviant profession, and the dancers themselves were deviant.


Why were exotic dancers viewed as deviant in the 1970's?

Female nudity viewed as private and sacred. Those who used this for financial gain were viewed as being immoral and of lower social status. Tainting self.


Did the fact that the standards for covering up relaxed have an effect on exotic dancing?

Even when standards for covering up relaxed, exotic dancing was still viewed as shameful (derby profession).


Researchers placed their focus on which areas to show that female exotic dancers are deviant?

- Little paternal affection. Daddy issues.
- Unusually early sexual development.
- Engaged in exhibitionist behaviour as children.


How did the view of exotic dancing change in the 1990's?

Not only looking at strippers as deviant, started to look at industry as deviant. Social forces that would have impact on strippers. For example, prostitution as a common occurrence in most low-class strip clubs. Recognized that drugs were central to strip club environment. Easy access to recreational drugs which allowed them to disassociate themselves from the work.


What was another shift in scholarship post-1990's?

Why were exotic dancers using drugs? Interviewed the dancers themselves. Most stressors for exotic dancers came from outside the industry. Brought on by the judgements of other people in their world. Family members, friends, wider society. Stigmatization of profession.


Reaction to stigmatization:

- Most of them are aware.
- Many of them try to keep their profession private, or use stigma management techniques.
- Many are left feeling isolated.


True or false? Nearly 1/2 of strippers have an undergrad and nearly 1/5 have completed graduate studies. What does this go against?

True. Goes against both the scholarship and popular mainstream views of the past.


Stigmatization may be a generational thing. What does this mean?

Younger generations may not be as judgemental.


Compare the personality traits of strippers and college students:

No difference between university students and exotic dancers on self esteem, neuroticism, or extroversion.


Prostitution historically:

- Used to keep up morale of soldiers and prevent them from deserting.
- Both highly condemned and readily accepted at various points in history.


What is the result of legislation that criminalizes prostitution?

Make it so difficult to be a prostitute that they will stay out of the business. However, it just goes underground. Illegal to buy sex, but legal to sell it. Can’t operate a brother, but can work as independent sex worker.



The exchange of sexual favours for something of value, and an absence of emotional involvement.


Who defines prostitution?

Prostitution tends to be defined by legislative bodies and law enforcement than the people involved. Prostitutes have no say in what their own activities are.


What were the earliest typologies for prostitutes?

Physical characteristics, type of work, and amount of money involved.


Call Girls

Escorts. Tend to be the most physically attractive. Work out of apartments of hotel rooms. Engage in extensive screening of their clients. Earn the highest incomes.


House Girls

Work in brothels or houses of prostitution. Below call girls. Less selective in their clients, less screening of clients. Usually entertain more than 1 client in a 24 hour timeframe.


Bar Girls

Publicly solicit clients. Work at hotel or restaurant bars. Very little screening. More likely to get arrested, assaulted, cheated out of fees.


Street Walker

Bottom of hierarchy. Public solicitation. Lean inside car windows. Really bad life. Often work for pimps who introduce new initiate to the world of prostitution. Don’t have much of voice as activists.


Indoor Girls

Tend to have a higher quality of life than street walkers, and more agency in what they are doing. More likely to say they are empowered. Include call girls, house girls, bar girls.


Benefits and drawbacks of call girls speaking on behalf of all prostitutes as activists:

Those at top usually speak on behalf of those on bottom. Gives those at bottom voice, but “elites” speak out for marginalized group.


Most prostitutes are...

Most prostitutes are street walkers.


3 stage process that females follow in becoming prostitutes:

- Drift from promiscuity into first act of exchanging sex for money.
- Transitional period. Start to learn the skills of being a sex worker. Internalizing the values of prostitution. Learning the role of a prostitute (the performance).
- Professionalization. View themselves as professionals. Taken on the identity, embraced the role.


Compare male and female entrances to prostitution.

Men turn to prostitution to solve financial problems, but also because of a sense of adventure.


Technology's effects on sex work:

- Sex work becoming accessible to those from all walks of life.
- Indoor sex work or internet/phone sex is more prevalent.


Give an example of how sex work has become more accessible to those from all walks of life as a result of technology:

Since 1990’s, more women from UK are engaging in sex work while in college. Based on reports of news stations, it appears that the trend is gaining popularity in NA as well.


Give an example of how technology has resulted in indoor sex work or internet/phone sex becoming more prevalent

Sugar dating is gaining in popularity. Exchanging of companionship in exchange for goods or tuition. 14% were willing to exchange sex for tuition.


Sugar Daddy

Older wealthy male who provides gifts, money, and other luxury items to younger females. Term first used in an obituary in the Kingston newspaper, which discussed the murder of Dorothy King.


Sugar Baby

Young, educated college student who is generally female, who seeks out older wealthy males via the internet to assist them with their financial obligations.


Sugar Dating

Mutual agreement between young female and older wealthy male. Exchange of goods or money for company. Sex is implied.


Website introduced in class for sugar dating:



What do scholars who are critical of sugar dating websites say?

Scholars who are critical say that it can be boiled down to superficial desires for instant gratification.


What do scholars who are supportive of sugar dating websites say?

Those who support it say that it is an intimate form of mentorship.