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Question Of The Day

Would You Strip Your Way Through School?

We decided to go to freshman orientation at McGill University campus to ask all those new, probably drunk students (and one parent): Would you strip your way through school?

Hannah Murphy

With tuition rates consistently rising, a higher education can be a real bummer to pay for. When you add living expenses and the necessary booze budget to the mix, you usually end up with a slanted apartment kept together with steel wool and crazy glue while you ration those canned goods and ramen noodles your mom got you last summer at Costco. When those run out, it’s easy to consider a career in taking your clothes off for total strangers, at least they encourage you to keep going by throwing money.

Leopard’s Lounge and Broil in Windsor, Ontario is serious about stripping for education. Owner Robert Katzman is offering his strippers a Full Education Program, housing and travel accommodations, hair, makeup, and stage presence assistance, and an international, cultural experience working with strippers from all over the world. You can probably get Poli-Sci credit for that. But is this enough to turn stripping into a better alternative to a  and not just an overused frosh party joke. We decided to go to freshman orientation at McGill University campus to ask all those new, probably drunk students (and one parent): Would you strip your way through school?

Kate, 21, student: No.
Camille, 23, student: No.

What if your kid did it?
Kate: This is why I don’t have children.
Camille: No, I wouldn’t let my kid do it.

What do you think about stripping for education?
Kate: I think it’s a good idea if they stick with it.
Camille: No, stripping is stupid.

Jim, 71, “Just enjoying life” (retired): A free education? Yeah, it’s a profession. I have no objection to it.

What if your kid did it?
I probably wouldn’t have an objection.

Do you think this a step in the right direction in terms of accessible education?
It depends, you know? If there’s alcohol, hours that go until four in the morning, things like that. You know, sleazy part of town, that’s when you really have to start questioning it.

Ayla, 17, student: No, it’s, like, encouraging stripping and that’s not right.
Meg, 18, student: No, not at all, cause like no matter what it is, it’s still stripping so, it’s just not, in my mind, the right way to make money.

What if your kid did it?
Meg: I’d be really disappointed in them. I feel like I’d rather have my kid come to me for help than just resort to something like that.

So I take it you’re not fans of this program?
Meg: I think it’s a good thing—it’s better than it was before, just stripping for money.
Ayla: It would make more sense if he, like, provided education to the girls who were already strippers, not encouraging people to start doing it for the education. Just for the girls already doing it and people that have to, because then they can get out of it faster.

Oscar, 19, student: Yes.
Mark, 19, student: Well, if it got me somewhere then, yeah, why not?

Yeah, all expenses paid education. It’s a sweet deal. How far would you go?
Oscar: Depends on how much I got paid.

Well, what about just a full education program, housing accommodation..
Mark: Yeah, fuck it, naked then, why not?

What about sexual favors? Blowies?
Mark: No. Oscar: No, unfortunately I’m straight, so that wouldn’t work out too well.

So you’d have a “no touching” policy.
Oscar: Yeah, probably.

What would your stripper name be?
Mark: That’s a question and a half.
Oscar: That’s tough

Yeah, it’s a tough one. It probably says a lot about you.
Mark: Well, we’re British, so I suppose we could be, like, “James Bondage”
Oscar: Yeah, we could do that.

Evan, 21, student: It depends on the school.

Here! McGill University, The Harvard of Canada.
Well, I’m from Montreal, so I get a pretty good education for cheap.

Picture this: You’re an international student and its $20,000 a year.
Yeah, I’d probably do it.

How far would you go? Full on nudity, touching, lap dances?
For a full education, why not?

What would your stripper name be?
I don’t even know. (Friend: Use a car name.) Maserati.

Amy, 19, student: I would definitely strip. Not only as a life decision and a financial decision, but also as a political decision. A lot of the time—I have so much to say—society definitely conditions us to—Oh god, I sound like such a tool.

Nah, you’re not a tool.
Amy: Ok. There is this misconception that stripping is misogynist and you’re taking all of these girls—with a “future”, supposedly—and putting them into this horrible area where they’re dancing against their will. If you hear that someone’s a stripper, the majority of the feedback is going to be “Oh, what a shame, she had so much going for her, she didn’t have to do that”, but a lot of people choose to, and a lot of people who strip are incredibly intelligent and self-sufficient and have made a choice. I think it’s a perfectly legitimate thing to do. You’re not dancing for the male gaze necessarily, but you’ve made the choice for yourself and I think it can be incredibly empowering.

Yeah, I feel that. It’s less soul crushing than dishwashing. Dancing’s fun.
Amy: Yeah! There is just such a fear of sex. It encourages the sex industry to be unsafe and silenced and looked at as this negative thing instead of embracing it.
Tess, 19, student: Yeah, and giving those girls an education—that’s actually the most amazing thing I’ve heard about the sex industry. If you’re asking me if I would strip through school—if there was absolutely nothing else I could do, yes, but its not because of the stigma or my pride, I just don’t think I’d be good at it. If I lost those inhibitions, then yeah, it’s not a moral choice against it, I just wouldn’t be good at it for a lot of reasons. And there are all these stories of people like single mother who are struggling and maybe don’t have an education and this is something they can do. And if you do it safely—and it can be safe if you’re in an environment where your boss protects you—then its fine.
Amy: And you feel powerful enough to protect yourself.
Tess: Yeah! Then it’s an empowering job, I think. We have this view of it—I don’t know enough about the industry itself, but there are some areas that are unsafe. It’s a gray area because it’s not open. You can’t research which one is the safest, you don’t know that stuff and that makes it more difficult. And that’s a shame.
Amy: Cause that’s what makes it dangerous.

So educating those people who choose to strip can’t hurt.
Amy: Then they can be advocates for it, too. As it is right now, it becomes an environment for sketchy people to operate.
Tess: Because it’s not regulated enough.

How far would you go as a stripper?
Amy: I’d probably stop with dancing.

Lap dancing?
Amy: I think I would give lap dances, as long as I don’t have to be in the vicinity of one single person. I can’t fake sincerity. It would just make me sad, more than uncomfortable.
Tess: Yeah, I would stick to like dancing on the pole. I’ve seen those competitions, they are beautiful. Seriously, they are graceful. If I could do that, I would.

Jessica, 18, fruit cutter at Edible Arrangements: Personally, I wouldn’t because I’m not that comfortable being naked in front of people. It has nothing to do with disrespect. If people are comfortable enough to do that and they really don’t have any other choice, I don’t think it would be a bad idea, but I couldn’t see myself doing it.
Anne, 19, bartender: That’s my opinion, but she phrased it better.

Would you be OK with your kid doing it?
Jessica: I don’t plan on having children.

So you guys don’t sound like you’re against this program, you just wouldn’t do it yourself.
Jessica: I could see where there might be a question of morality to it, but it’s a choice, it’s not an obligation.
Anne: Morality is really a question of what you are comfortable with doing. I really don’t believe in judging others for what they’re comfortable doing, so if it works for you, why not?

Christine, 20, student: No.
Amelie, 22, student: Probably not, no.

There would be no situation in which free books, a free degree, free housing would be too good to pass up?
They shake their heads
Friend: Well, cause you guys have money.

Alright, you’ve lost it all. You’re poor now.
Aisha, 22, student: It’s just stripping and nothing else, right?

Yeah, you just gotta show some skin.
Aisha: I’d do it. He’s paying for everything!! As long as there’s no touching.

What would your stripper name be?
Aisha: I don’t know.

You could keep it classy—be “Ms. Education” and come out reading Foucault in lingerie. Keep your integrity.
Christine: I wouldn’t want to do it, it could be damaging in the future if it ever came out that you stripped your way through college.

What if, all of a sudden, this started to become really accepted by the rest of society? All the business professionals are down with stripping on your resume.
Aisha: Just because I strip doesn’t mean I’m a bad person!
Christine: I don’t think I would be comfortable with my body to strip in front of people.
Amelie: That would be my answer.

Deirdre, 19, student: Yeah. Absolutely, I think. I think some people are poor and some people need money and that’s a completely legitimate way to make money if you’re a consenting partner.

So this program is a good thing?
If you’re getting the education you want and you’re not being pressured to do things you don’t want to do, go for it! You can make so much more money doing it this way, actually.

Hell yeah.
Yeah, and people are going to strip anyway, right? People will strip for money regardless and a lot will do it to get through school—it’s a more direct way of paying for school and it ensures that you’ll make enough to get through school. Stripping is an age-old profession and people are going to participate whether this program is offered or not. Stripping is fun.

What would your stripper name be?
Laquisha Lady Legs.

I’d buy that. What if your kid wanted to strip?
I’d say: “Not until you’re 16.”