The labor issues faced by strip club entertainers—job insecurity, harassment, discrimination, and wage theft—are now being regularly covered in mainstream press, yet the entertainers’ own suggestions for addressing these issues are notably elided. During her residency at the Target Studio last year, Monica Sheets established The Feminist Strip Club: a collective of current and former entertainers who examine attitudes toward erotic dance and its intersection with larger ambivalences toward “women’s work” and transactional exchange in emotional and intimate labor. This work led to the first issue of the The GRIND magazine, which showcases entertainers’ experiences and visions for the future of stripping. This spring, Target Studio will be used as a workspace for the collective to develop the second issue of The GRIND in collaboration with Amy Livingston from Labor Education Services of the Carlson School of Management and Dr. Beth Hartman and her Gender, Labor, and Politics class.
Monica has steadily been sharing her own and her collaborators’ reflections on the WAM Blog. Read them below:
On August 12, 2019, Monica and her collaborator Stephen Befort of the UMN Law School testified at City Hall at the Public Hearing for the Adult Entertainment Ordinance, which was passed later that month. The ordinance improves working conditions for dancers in Minneapolis by addressing unsanitary conditions, tripping hazards, wage theft and other issues.
The Feminist Strip Club‘s first publication, Issue 1 of The GRIND, is available for purchase now on the project’s website and in the WAM Shop. The GRIND is a 24-page, full-color, 8.5 x 11″ zine with articles, photos, personal essays and strippers’ responses to online strip club reviews—all produced by members of The Feminist Strip Club.
The Feminist Strip Club had hoped to bring out Issue 2 of The GRIND in May 2020, but worldwide and local crises have led to a delay in publication. In the meantime, here’s Air Dance – an online PDF of resources for MN-based dancers and a notification about an upcoming meeting with Minneapolis officials on the new Adult Entertainment Ordinance.
This project is supported by a grant from Stardust and the Puffin Foundation. Monica was recently named A Blade of Grass Fellow for Socially Engaged Art, which allows her to continue The Feminist Strip Club at WAM.