A whole bunch of women in Seattle have become, or are about to become, freshly unemployed. On May 5, the Feds permanently shuttered four local strip clubs owned by the Colacurcio family. That, combined with the imminent closure of downtown peep show the Lusty Lady, means that several hundred women who've been making a living getting naked will soon have to find other work.
I've heard lots of people applauding the end of those businesses. Granted, neither the Lusty nor the Colacurcios offered a perfect form of long-term employment. But I wonder if any of the anti-sex-work people considered what exactly those women were going to do to support themselves? I asked them about their plans.
For the girls in the windows, their answers reflect that while paychecks from the Lusty Lady were higher than what one would earn as a barista or a retail clerk, they were always part-time wages.
Pepper Anne: "Keep working the four other jobs I have!"
Sasha: "I'm an aerialist and aerial instructor—my plans are to teach more and do more performing gigs. I don't plan on dancing in Seattle because the rest of the strip clubs are sleazy. I'd do internet work and take the occasional trip to Portland to dance. I do feel after 10 years at the Lady, I'm ready to do something different. But I have mastered a specific skill set and don't want it to go to waste."
Victoria: "I plan to pursue work in the sex and entertainment industries, though it's hardly worth it to work in a Washington strip club—the laws make success nearly impossible here. I might be forced to dust off my graduate degree and get a 'clothed' job. Perish the thought."
The club girls, whose sole income is usually from dancing, have a different view. Most of the women I talked to said something along the lines of "I'll try dancing at the other strip clubs, but there's going to be such a flood of new girls that it'll be difficult to make any money."
Jazmine: "I'm considering leaving my son with his grandma for the summer and going to Alaska to dance, or maybe to Las Vegas. After that, I just don't know."
Desiree: "Another girl and I are going to form an escort team and do shows only in high-end hotels and at bachelor parties." ("Escort team" apparently means two women who only see clients together, not separately.)
Sera: "I am going to apply for [non-nude] jobs, but I'll probably have to drop out of school. A friend of mine does sensual massage, and I could stay in school if I did that, but I'm afraid if I get busted then I won't be able to get a job after I graduate."
So, yeah, big thanks for protecting women from those exploitive jobs. Got any spare change?