Click on the link above to read how strip club owner, Rob Katzman, has claimed to help numerous women through post-secondary education, rent debt, and loan repayment. "In order to qualify for the tuition reimbursement, dancers must achieve better than a B average. Dancers can be paid up to $1,700 per semester." (CBC News, Windsor) The poll at the bottom asking readers: "Is it right for a strip club to pay for its dancers’ tuition?", the overwhelming response from Canadians is "Yes".
I find this hard target incentive programming deplorable. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has been follwing The Underground Railroad for any length of time. We could re-hash the old arguments of female exploitation (although Katz denies any kind of exploitation), male domination, rape-culture, and so on and so on. Pro-adult entertainment advocates can send emails all they wish. We will not agree that "entertainers" (as they are so eloquently described in the article) are being treated as human beings; but rather as commodities to make Katz money.
Today's post is directed more towards those of us who know girls — who the biz still seems to target more over than men — who do become strippers, whatever level of choice that is present. We might not like the picture we're seeing… we might hate that this girl is baring all just so a few guys can let loose… we might be broken over the rotten example this entire business is showing every generation in Canada…
…don't stop at the pole.
That girl may have chosen to enter into a contract, knowing stripping is involved, but not knowing all of the exploitation that comes with it. That girl might be so deep in student debt that she feels there is no way out. Let's face it: student debt is out of control but the demand for educated employable people is equally high if not higher. Pressure is severe. One camp demands we be educated while the other camp demands we be "good people" by working to be debt-free all by ourselves. Speaking from current personal experience, I can see how such an offer would be incredibly tempting especially with outside pressure from the world to graduate AND pay off loans.
Going back to the girl… she might have a child(ren) at home. She might be on the verge of being evicted. She might be drowning in other debt to the point where it's stripping or the streets. She might be fair-minded, intelligent, ambitious and okay with stripping, but still in need of friends no matter what happens.
So what do we do?
Will we babysit her kids when she's pulling a double shift for Katz? I hope so.
Will we offer to repay her loans so she doesn't have to make this choice at all? I hope so.
Will we urge our churches to invest in bursuries so local students in the community can have a place to rely on to help with tuition? I hope so.
Will we go out for coffee with her even if we disagree with where she's heading? Oh God, I hope so… (said in whispered, fervent prayer).
Will we urge our men and women who frequent Katz's establishments to seek a better life, other than exploiting the bodies of our women and girls? I hope so.
Will we pray for Katz, that this 'business man' will encounter Christ more potently that Saul-turned-Paul? I hope so.
Don't stop at the pole. See past the pole.
If you get stuck at the pole, all you'll see is a stripper who "deserves what she gets". This isn't love. That's applauding the exploitation of God's child.
Times are hard. Really hard.
How can we see our neighbours through them?