by Jane Blair
An online shop has sparked outrage among the stripper and pole dancing communities after listing a pair of shoes on their website resembling “stripper heels” The online store, known for selling festival wear and alternative clothing, posted a photo of the shoes on their Instagram on Saturday accompanied by the caption “get yer *stack of money emoji* ready”.
Now, I’m not normally one to be offended easily, but as a pole dancer and stripper who has dealt with the very real stigma of working within the sex industry, I can’t help but be mad about this.
“Stripper heels” are part of our identity as a stripper. They’re basically uniform. Just like nipple tassels to a burlesque dancer, long socks to a soccer player and pointe shoes to a ballerina.
The problem I have with “regular” people wearing “stripper shoes” is that it romanticises the industry. Being a stripper is not just dressing in fancy clothes and making a lot of money. It’s dealing with customers emotional issues, sometimes going to work and making no money, needing a massage every week because the job is so physically demanding.
It’s not being accepted by your family because it is highly stigmatised work, being a target for stalkers and sex offenders, being verbally abused by drunk girls coming out of the night clubs on King St. Some of this stuff has happened to me, some of it has happened to my friends.
But I’m not here to complain about my job. I’m here to complain about the girls who are going to buy these Pleaser rip offs because they want to be a “bad bitch” and then report photos of actual strippers on Instagram for nudity. Strippers have worked so hard to destigmatise the work that we do and be accepted by society enough to not be discriminated against when we deposit our weekend earnings into the bank.
A number of strippers on Instagram have already spoken out about this and the website in question has removed all comments from their Instagram post.
I urge anyone who is not a pole dancer or stripper to consider buying a different style of shoe or to at least walk a mile in our shoes (so to speak) before you make the purchase.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In desperate need of empowerment, Jane started Pole and Burlesque dancing in 2010 at Bottoms Up! Burlesque and Pole School. She quickly fell in love with the sense of achievement she felt when she conquered a new pole move.
After 3 years of pole dancing the bored Beauty Therapist decided Australia needed a magazine to celebrate this growing sport. With a dusty Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing up her sleeve and her head exploding with ideas, she felt like she was the right person to make it happen. She became the Editor of the Australian Pole Dancers Magazine in October 2013.
It was just before the release of Issue #1 of Australian Pole Dancers Magazine that Jane competed for the first time in the Rising Stars competition at the end of 2013. This triggered her hunger for performing and she went on to compete in VPC 2014, MPDV 2014/15, Dance Filthy 2015 + 2016 and Floorplay 2015 where she placed 3rd in the Semi-pro division.
Jane loves that pole dancing allows you to express yourself no matter who you are or what style you choose.