For one of my major classes, we had the opportunity to grow our research abilities on local, Richmond subculture groups. My team chose to dive deep into the culture of exotic dancers, AKA strippers! Exotic dancers are everything you could imagine. Sexy, youthful, prideful, fun, a fantasy and most importantly, making that money. Throughout our semester, we practiced qualitative and quantitative research to help us better understand the misconceptions and the reality behind the life of an exotic dancer.
Quantitative Research: Survey Monkey – Posted on social media platforms; Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Facebook and sending them personally.
- Dancing to get Through School – A majority of our participants have completed some college, but no degree.
- What’s My Age Again? – 70% of participants are 25 years or younger, however, 71% of participants are between 25-34 years old.
- Waitress Life – Participants who worked as a server almost made the same rate as an exotic dancer. Servers felt more inclined to pick motivates that feed into a social or environmental preference, rather than dance for money and money only.
- It’s a Man’s World – 77% of participants are female. While 2/3 of participants employers are male.
- Full Time vs. Part Time – Customers either attend often; on average about twice a week or customers attend once or twice a year.
- It’s More Than Just Dancing – Not only are the participants best skill is dancing, but also include: Talking, selling private dances, flexibility and physical strength.
- Barley Passing – We asked if exotic dancers felt professional their career, about 64% was the average stating they felt unprofessional about dancing.
- House Fees are Real – Exotic dancers must pay house fee in order to work. Dancers pay around $40-60 in the Richmond area. However, other popular cities have a much higher house fee rates.
- Don’t Have All the Money in the World – Majority of the customers spend no more than $50. An outliner of 17% of customers answered they spend anywhere from $250-$350 a night.
Qualitative Research – One-on-One Interviews with Celina, Katiya and Kehlani (All our participants wished to stay anonymous, but gave us permission to use their stage name.)
- Pole Dancing is TOUGH – Some dancers practice on the pole to stay limber/in shape. Oh, and the skyscraper heels they wear? yeah, they wear them to give their bottoms a more firmer natural lift by using their calf muscles.
- It’s All About Fantasy NOT Sex – Customers come in for different reason; to be seen, to be heard, to feel wanted, to talk to someone, or to even feel a connection.
- Surface Acting vs. Deep Acting – Surface acting is when the dancer strictly pretends for their client. Deep acting is when the dancer pretends for herself to truly feel in the moment.
- You do Not Make Thousands Every night – Okay, yes, some major cities dancers will make thousands every night. However, in the Richmond area most dancers made around $300-$500, depending on the night.
- Not Every Single Dancer Looks Like Barbie – We saw literally every single body type and we thought it was empowering and beautiful to see exclusivity.
- Private Dances are the Move – Dancers heavily relied on their regulars and private dances, rather than dancing on stage.