Friday, January 29, 2010

Stripping: acceptable profession for my little girl or not?

posted Wed, 08 Jun 2005

When I worked at Ryder, I overheard a woman in the locker room at the onsite gym complaining that her boss had taken her entire group to Hooter’s for a meeting during work hours. She thought – and I agreed – that this was inappropriate.

When I told the Hooter’s story to my VP, who was only in his early 40s – young enough to know better, he was befuddled.

“What’s wrong with having a work meeting at Hooter’s? I like their food. They have great wings.”

“George,” I asked, “You don’t see why maybe some of the women might have felt uncomfortable?”

“No,” he answered, genuinely puzzled.

“So you think this is the sort of place women should feel comfortable.”

“Sure.”

His daughter was seven at the time.

“Would you like your daughter to work there when she gets old enough?”

All the color drained from his face.

“Oh,” he said. “I see what you mean.”

At work today, a guy and I were talking about strippers. “I wouldn’t want my daughter to work at a strip joint, but I wouldn’t mind if she worked at Hooter’s,” he claimed. “If you look at women on the beach, they are wearing a lot less clothing than the women do at Hooter’s. What’s the difference?”

I have been trying to figure that out. The difference is, I think, that the women on the beach aren’t trying to make money by selling their bodies. But I guess that’s only bad if you think selling your body and prostitution are bad things.

I don’t care if Hooter’s is in business. It’s not the same as a house of prostitution – don’t get me wrong here – but we are at the beginning of a continuum. Don’t kid yourself. People do not go to Hooter’s for the food.

And really, I’m not sure I have a problem with a pretty girl with a nice figure working her way through college at Hooter’s. But it would be a tough call, because she would always be on that razor’s edge, dodging the groping hands and leering eyes.

It is the commoditization of the girl herself that bothers me. What does it do to her soul? I don’t care if she takes the money from those guys. But it’s the way they just see her as nothing more than a pretty face with a pretty body and nothing behind it – a body there to serve them – that bothers me. She becomes a means rather than an end in herself. And a person is never supposed to be a means to an end.

Whew. I am getting way too philosophical. Better stop.

I remember the FedEx pilot I met in the Atlanta airport who told me his daughter was an “exotic dancer.” I was so shocked that I blurted out, “Wow. I’ll bet that’s not what you hoped for her when she was a little girl.

He just shrugged and said, “You can’t help how they turn out.”

Well, yes and no. Much of personality is hard wired, but there is a lot you can do to put a child on the right path. There are many choices between the convent and stripping.

What was really creepy was that later, I saw him working on his laptop. The background image was of a very scantily-clad, very busty (like GGG cup) young woman who looked like a stripper. That is just not right, as in it is quasi incestuous.

I asked Joan and Steve if they would mind if Jordan and Jillian worked at Hooter’s when they were grown. Steve shook his head and rolled his eyes. Joan said, “We really have much higher aspirations for them than that. We think they can achieve more than that sort of work.”

That’s the right answer.

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