I agree with the writer, Katie Roiphe, on a few points she makes, but also feel annoyed at the unfair treatment the stripper writers receive.
Are all naked women pretty much the same? Reading stripper memoirs would lead one to think so. It is a surprisingly rigid genre, with a set of rules and conventions as strict as those of sonnets or villanelles.
Of course, there are “conventions” as Roiphe points out, but what books about a certain group of people don’t have conventions? Alas, there are a lot of similarities to some strippers’ experiences.
You would think the subject would have a certain voyeuristic frisson, but something about stripping lends itself to cliché and obviousness, to the literary equivalent of fake breasts and caked mascara and silver thongs. Still a vast number of them have appeared on shelves, including Lily Burana’s good-natured Strip City, Elisabeth Eaves’ journalistic Bare, and Lacey Lane’s ditsy Confessions Of A Stripper.
True, I’ve read these books and there is a bit of cliché laid on, but that just reflects the job. And for there being “a vast number” of stripper memoirs out there, I’d have to disagree. How are a small handful of books “a vast number”? I’d say there aren’t enough (and not just because my memoir hasn’t found a publisher yet).
How many clichéd white male diatribes about the same old business thing are there out there?
We need more tales of strippers and prostitutes and mothers and clerks and waitresses. We need more stories told by women. Perhaps then we will begin to see the true extent of the similarities and differences inherent in women.