Saturday, February 18, 2012

Breastfeeding Mother Compared to a Stripper

Cole Nursing

WSAV reports on the latest breastfeeding kerfuffle.

A Georgia mother was compared to a stripper for breastfeeding her baby during church service.

Nirvana Jennette said, “I was told to go nurse in the bathroom and was told to cover up and go away. I knew the bond and importance of breastfeeding and that’s what I decided to do for my baby.”

And then she was asked not to return to the church.

I find it amazing that people will get so riled up by a woman nursing her baby, but will be okay with Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue that displays a woman almost nude on magazine racks where children of all pages pass by.

A nursing mother is nourishing her child; a sports magazine is basically calling looking at pretty naked women a “sport.”

I would much rather explain to a small child what a nursing mother is doing than what a swimsuit model is doing.

But the funny thing is that children never seem upset or confused at all if they see me nursing in public; it’s always only been adults.

A statewide nurse-in will be held in protest to raise awareness of breastfeeding Monday, March 5 from 10 AM to 2 PM.

For more information, visit the State Nurse-in Page on facebook at or sign the petition at

Friday, February 17, 2012

Congrats to Redbook Magazine for Honoring All Mothers

Why CAN'T stripping be right for some moms?
An opinion piece on Fox news, Not your mother’s magazine: Redbook supports stripping, by Penny Young Nance, does not pay tribute to a hard-working stripper mom.

The writer is quite offended by Redbook Magazine’s two-page feature in the March issue on a mother who strips to afford to send her four-year-old daughter to a private school.

“Is Redbook seriously suggesting that stripping is a legitimate answer to an American family’s economic hardships?” Nance asks.

In these economic times, why shouldn’t this be a career choice for a mother if she feels good about it? It most definitely isn’t the right career decision for many, but for the few who want to give it a try, why should we belittle them?

Nance goes on to say: “Had the staff at Redbook done their research, they would know that the strip club industry has painful ramifications on society and leads to pornography addiction, gangs, drug use and sex trafficking — just to name a few.”

Well, I would be interested in knowing what research shows that stripping specifically leads to these societal ills. Where is the direct cause and effect link?

Why are we out to condemn women who choose to work as strippers?

Nance believes: “Instead of irresponsibly promoting the acceptance of stripping, Redbook should highlight the work of strong, compassionate women who counsel, support, and shelter strippers trapped in that dangerous life. It is these inspirational women who deserve two-page tributes in major magazines.”

While it would also be splendid to honor these women Nance mentions, she is speaking of the women who are “trapped.” What is so wrong about honoring the women who take their own decisions into their own hands and choose to be strippers and do not feel trapped but rather empowered?

Not every stripper feels trapped. Not every woman has the same feelings about sexuality, sensuality and their expression.

Can we support women, especially mothers, as we all make our own difficult choices?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Strip Clubs Should Support a Proposed Pole Tax

Pantagraph reports that a strip club tax has been proposed by a state senator in Illinois.
“Under legislation pending in the Illinois Senate, operators of adult entertainment facilities would pay a $5 fee to the state for each person who enters their establishments, with the proceeds going to fund rape crisis centers and other sexual assault assistance organizations.”
I applaud State Sen. Toi Hutchinson’s idea. She adds up that since topless clubs are supplying “sex and alcohol,” which can sometimes be triggering factors to abuse that they should be willing to aid the plight of abused women.

Of course, I also understand the Illinois Club Owners Association’s opposition to this legislation.

"What do the clubs have to do with abused women?" Ronan said. "I don't want to make light of it, but we just don't get the connection."
Other states have tried similar legislation, but have never succeeded in their implementation.

I mean, if we’re going to tax things that might be dangerous and put that money toward helping groups that might be affected by similar things, we can actually probably help a lot of people.

Cigarette taxes to go toward aiding youth without health insurance or on cleaning up our environment?

Junk food taxes to help battle the problem of childhood obesity?

The question then becomes—where does the taxing end?

From the strip clubs viewpoint though I would think there’s a positive way to view the legislation. Instead of fighting it, why not champion it? Show the world that strip clubs aren’t all bad? That although there is alcohol and the fantasy of sex sold, there are also decent people who want to do good in the world in existence in that same environment.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pole Skivvies Interview

Listen to internet radio with PoleSkivvies on Blog Talk Radio

Check out my interview with Jennifer Michelle of Pole Skivvies on Blog Talk Radio.

Jennifer is the owner of Pole Skivvies, a website and blog for the pole community.

We discuss my guidebook and self-discovery journal, The Pole Position: Is Stripping for You (And How to Stay Healthy Doing It), the misconceptions people have about strippers, what qualities make for a good stripper, the dialogue between the pole dancing community and strippers, and women's expression and conflict of sexuality.

Jennifer has also introduced a new award…

PoleSkivvies knows there’s another side to pole. One beyond debates on sexy versus fitness, or whether we should be in the Olympics.

We see how many studios contribute to charities, how many hold fundraisers. We see how often pole dancers reach out to help one another in times of need, and we know the primary goal within the pole community is one of encouragement and support.

PoleSkivvies thinks it’s time to shift the focus to what’s really important.

That’s why we created the Make a Difference Award.

Designed to recognize the strength and compassion within the pole community, it honors those who have made it a priority to give back, both within and outside the world of pole.

An annual award, it will first be awarded June 2012, with the winner to be announced at the International Pole Convention. The winner will be awarded:

•An inscribed plaque

•$500 donation from PoleSkivvies to the charity or cause they support

•One hour of marketing coaching from J Michelle Marketing

•Free advertising of their pole studio or product for one year in Pole Dance Magazine Online

•Write-ups in Vertical Art & Fitness Magazine and Pole Dance Magazine Online

In addition, they will serve as PoleSkivvies Ambassador for one year, promoting pole, community, and giving back.

Check out her website for more information about the award!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stripping Down: A Memoir - Now Available

Stripping Down is now available on Amazon, for the Kindle and for the Nook.

“I feel the weight of the hammer from the dusty workbench in my sweaty palm and hit the padlock. My heart thumps in my bony chest. I listen for the humming sound of my mother’s car backing into the driveway. I hit again. I listen. The lock pops open.”

At twelve years old, everything changed for Sheila with the discovery of her estranged father’s porn collection. Found locked away in a corner of the basement, the glossy images ignite in her an unrelenting desire for attention and adoration. Now, reflections on her past as a stripper permeate her thoughts as she takes on the new roles of mother, caregiver and wife. While helping her baby daughter take her first steps, she nurses her mother through the final stages of breast cancer. This powerful and beautiful story is a moving meditation on a woman’s life through her body, motherhood and loss.

Spiraling through memories and torn between the woman she is becoming and the woman she has been, Sheila Hageman is continually Stripping Down.

Advance Praise for Stripping Down:

“It removes the varnish from the surface of one woman’s life to see what dances below. This is not a romanticized tale of easy redemption—e.g. unhappy girl stripper becomes happy woman, yogini, and mother; rather, it takes you on a sincere and complicated journey—a long drive to the self.”

--Elena Georgiou

“I admit I didn't expect what I found in Hageman's beautiful prose. This is not another stripper memoir. It's a powerful meditation on the body, on family, and ultimately on self-love.”

-- Kerry Cohen, author of Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity

“Stripping Down is more than a tale of an ex-stripper. It’s an author’s exploration of her relationships, insecurities and decisions—however unsavory. With complete candor, Hageman reveals how she danced naked for money and adoration, her infidelities, mixed feelings about motherhood, and the toll her mother’s battle with breast cancer took on her. Hageman's story is told without pretense or excuse, allowing for a vulnerability and honesty rarely seen, resulting in her most courageous act of all-an emotional stripping.”

--Corbin Lewars, author of Creating a Life: The memoir of a writer and mom in the making

“Sheila Hageman's Stripping Down is that brilliant, impossible, difficult, and intensely satisfying book that tells the truth about the body–an enterprise, according to Virginia Woolf, that is well-nigh impossible. The province of womanhood and daughterhood, wellness and illness, concealment and exposure are examined with an intensity and honesty that's truly rare. A necessary and important book.”

--Louise DeSalvo Author of Writing as a Way of Healing

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thank Strippers For Brad Pitt!

How interesting. According to Contact Music, Brad Pitt has a stripper to thank for his career taking off. Well, maybe not exactly, but…

Before Brad Pitt was discovered, he took work as a driver for exotic dancers. One of the women he chauffeured for was taking acting lessons with Roy London and Pitt joined her for a class and he took Pitt on.

Maybe that acting teacher was his big break. You never know.

Thank goodness for strippers. We brought Brad Pitt to the world!

We have done good in the world!