Friday, August 07, 2015

When Stripping Feels Like Your Only Option

“Kim” wrote an opinion piece for The Guardian, I work at the US Senate. I shouldn't have to dance at strip clubs to feed my son.

This is a powerful story that highlights how and why some women who wouldn’t normally strip find themselves in situations where stripping becomes the best option they see available.

Kim details her very rough childhood and her amazing struggle to stand on her own two feet as a young woman. Being a single mother, she cannot afford to pay her bills every month unless she strips.
I’m a single mother and I struggle to support my son on the $10.33 an hour I make at one of the most exclusive clubs in America – the US Senate. I’m a cashier employed by the British-owned contractor that runs the cafeterias in the Senate office buildings. But even though I serve some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world, I can’t afford to buy my son school supplies or clothes…
When I realized that I couldn’t survive on what I was making at the Senate, I made a difficult decision. Faced with eviction notices and unpaid bills, I decided to dance at a strip club a few nights a week to earn extra money. It was the only job I could find that let me work a flexible schedule and earn a living wage.
I was not in such a desperate situation when I began stripping at 18, but in my naïve mind at the time, I felt a sense of there being no other avenues for me to turn to.

Obviously, that wasn’t true for me, but I believed it and so it became my reality for awhile..

Kim sounds as though stripping really is one of her only viable options to make the money she needs, working the hours she needs.
I don’t want to be a stripper: it can be demeaning to dance for men who show no respect for women. I only do it out of necessity, because I have to support my son…when [the senators] sit down with the primary voters and listen to their problems, I hope they’ll be thinking about my story too – and the tough decisions the workers who serve them every day have to make for the people they love.
I wish I had an answer for Kim and other women like her who feel stripping is their only saving grace.

Right now, all I have to offer are words of encouragement and support that it does get better and will get better.

You are doing what you need to for yourself and your family. Hold your head high and know that you are valuable and valued.

Thank you for sharing your story, Kim.

US income inequality,  US Senate,  Parents and parenting,  US work and careers

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