Taking It Off, Putting It on

Taking It Off, Putting It on

Women in the Strip Trade

eBook - 2002
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Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : Women's Press, 2002
ISBN: 9780889614055
Characteristics: 1 online resource (viii, 182 pages)


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Feb 09, 2013

Chris Bruckert, the author, is a professor at Ottawa's Carleton University. Such a lofty academic standing carries with it a heavy freight of behavioural expectations from students, employers, colleagues, and the public at large. However, Bruckert made the commitment to (re)enter the stripper trade as a bartender while conducting her research, so that she could retain legitimate participant-observer status. She further decided to out herself as a former stripper to her audience and her academic associates, despite any negative social or professional consequences that might have arisen. She has my respect and admiration for having done so. Although Bruckert's subject matter is promising and intrinsically interesting, much of what she has to say in her earlier chapters is drowned out by an excess of sociological jargon and political theory. She comes into her own as the work progresses and she focusses more on her actual observations and the interviews conducted with her participant-colleagues. Her primary material is far more compelling than any interpretation subsequently placed on the fact situations that she has described. Bruckert's research took place in the late 1990s/early 2000s, before the current flowering of the burlesque scene in North America. Burlesque has since become fashionable to a degree that many find it socially acceptable. In my opinion, this development in the stripper trade puts some of Bruckert's work into a historical rather than contemporary context. Labour relations issues, collective bargaining, and audience requirements have undergone some change, at least for those strippers who belong to the burlesque world. That having been said, few burlesque performers can earn a living whilst plying their trade, but many traditional strippers continue to support themselves solely and successfully through their strip work, no doubt under conditions identical to those described by Bruckert.

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