All Articles Tagged "exploitation"
Is it possible for stripping (also known as exotic dancing) to be seen as an empowering profession for women? Or is it just flat out exploitation?
It is a provocative question that author and commentator Marc Lamont Hill raised and discussed recently on a segment on Huffington Post Live. Joined by Sheila Hageman, author of Stripping Down: A Memoir, Steve D**k an owner of New York City nightclubs and two full-time strippers and/or sex professionals, Hill explored if everything we thought about working as Cleopatra at the Pyramid (shout out to Frank Ocean), particularly the rampant misogyny, sexual abuse and exploitation, is an accurate description of the world of exotic dancing.
According to one of his guests, Quiana Colbert, aka Ms. Dimples, an exotic dancer of two years, while stripping has a negative connotation, she has never felt oppressed by her choice to dance naked for a living. In fact, Colbert asserts that she has never been sexually assaulted and feels like she receives the utmost respect in both of the clubs she currently is employed by (including The Diamond Club in Atlanta). Said Colbert,
“It is all about your mindset as a young adult. You know what you are getting into when you sign up for this. You know what type of people you’re going to be surrounding yourself around – pimps, drug dealers, all types of different people. But it is about what you actually decide to put yourself into.”
She also stated that there is definitely an element to self-empowerment in the business, particularly the ability to help establish a woman’s financial independence. And it is up to women to take advantage. “I’m a stripper, I’m not a victim. I am a woman and I can stand up and say, hey well I put on heels at night but I take my baby to daycare in the morning time and I’m proud of myself.”
Every stripper isn’t a w***e. And if a stripper just so happens to be a “w***e,” it doesn’t mean that every “w***e” is oppressed or being exploited. That is an important distinction to be made as it is a widely believed misnomer that any woman with a liberated sense of sexuality is considered to have some deep rooted issues with their fathers or have been a victim of sexual abuse. Chris Rock once joked about as much when he said that a dad’s only role is to keep his daughter off the pole, which gives credence to the idea that women who strip for a living have some unresolved emotional issues.
What Colbert and others on the panel speak to is the empowering feeling, which comes from being able to walk into a strip club of your free will for work as opposed to being lured off the streets by a pimp and having your decision dictated to you. Control and having a choice are both major aspects of being empowered. Financial independence is a major factor as well. While it is true that in both situations – the chooser and those who had the profession of stripping chosen for them – the women are the object of someone’s gaze, thus making them objectified, as Hill noted during the program, men are disempowered in these situations, as they are burning through paychecks at the bequest of a beauty dancing naked who usually has no interest in them for anything else. And once the rain-making stops, so does the dancing of these naked women.
With that said, it is hard to fully consider stripping empowering when there is a financial interest as motivation. People regularly do strange things for change. Reality television shows, particularly the ones involving people doing stupid stunts for cash prizes, is the best evidence of this phenomenon. With that said, there is still for many women the very real nuance that stripping is something that they do when they feel they have no other options for gainful employment in more traditional areas.
Human sex trafficking is a real thing. Some places around the globe, most notably Canada, have recognized the link between escort human-trafficking and sexual-exploitation cases and have gone as far as to ban foreign workers in strip clubs. And as Sheila Hageman pointed out, there are women with deeply rooted issues, which they bring into their job as exotic dancers, who find themselves caught up in the seedier side of the business – although Hageman would later reiterate that the possibility of sexploitation alone is not enough reason to assume that all women in the industry are being taken advantage of.
What was also interesting about this discussion is how even in this seedy world, there still exist a need to create and abide by a moral code, which in essence, creates the standard distinction between good girls and bad girls. For instance, during the discussion, Tara Reign, an Adult Video star and occasionally featured exotic dancer at “higher end” strip clubs, took exception to being lumped in with the stereotypical Gentlemen Club scene of pimps and drugs. Said Reign,
“I’ve never been in a situation of any kind where I’ve been surrounded by…I think you used the word “pimps and drugs… All of my girlfriends are either Adult Video stars or strippers and I don’t feel like any of them have that particular experience. I’m not saying that it is not valid or not true I just thinking that sociology, I feel like you need to look at more of a generalization. And I don’t think that is the whole or the general, I think that is very specific to your environment, maybe to your particular strip club but more so to your lifestyle.”
At first I thought she said this because she was a white girl being lumped in with Colbert (aka Ms. Dimples), who is an African American dancer. However, even Colbert routinely during the discussion would reference her children and husband. In one part of the program, Colbert reminds us that while the adage, “can’t turn a hoe into a housewife” makes it hard for some women in the sex industry to have long-term relationships, we shouldn’t think that everybody is a h*e. It just goes to show you that even in an environment where it appears that women are the most uninhibited, there still is this need to protect one’s virtue by traditional standards of womanhood as set by society.
Lawrenceville, Georgia does not tolerate child molesters as 29-year-old Antoine Johnson found out this week.
The former intern and summer camp organizer at Hebron Baptist Church received a life sentence after being convicted of three counts of aggravated child molestation after he pretended to be a teenage girl and lured teen boys into having sex with him.
Kristen is a 14-year-old girl. She hangs out online and meets boys, promising to fulfill their sexual fantasies. Boys, of course, would line up for the chance to meet Kristen, and were willing to do anything to get with her. But the catch was that in order to get the “goodies” from Kristen, you had to have sex with a grown man to prove your loyalty.
Not only were the expectations of Kristen frighteningly unrealistic, the even harsher reality is that Kristen didn’t even exist. Kristen was the online creation of Antoine Johnson.
Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Timothy Hamil called the scheme “absolutely diabolical” as he gave Johnson a life sentence in prison for molesting two boys, ages 13 and 14. He was also sentenced for attempting to lure in a 15-year-old back in 2008. Johnson did most of his dirty work on MySpace and would even get on the phone with the boys, telling them that “Kristen” would be next in line for good sex if they got with him first!
Johnson says that he created the online profile from a picture he took from a real girl. He claims that he created the profile to help a friend’s younger brother overcome self-confidence issues. One of the teens said that he went to meet Kristen one night and met Johnson instead. At 2 a.m., the two had 0-ral sex in the driveway.
“At first I refused for a few weeks…but she kept asking me and asking me, and I gave in,” the boy said.
“I’ve been a prosecutor 13 years, and the defendant’s testimony was some of the most bizarre I’ve seen,” said Assistant District Attorney Nigel Lush. “We got a look inside the mind of a true pedophile.”
When he wasn’t out hunting down young boys, Johnson spent his time as a mentor for boys at his church. According to records, he mentored as many as 500 boys per week.
None of the children involved in this case were children Antoine met at church and he maintains that he didn’t touch any of the children he mentored.
The Gwinnette Daily Post says:
[Antoine] pleaded guilty to 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a child in connection with a cache of dozens of child Adult Videos films and hundreds of photographs found on his personal computer. He also copped to a count of enticing a child for indecent purposes and two counts of attempting to entice children. The judge tacked on 60 years of probation to restrict him from computer access or unsupervised contact with minors, should he ever be paroled. Prosecutors had offered Johnson a plea deal of 20 years in prison, but he balked at admitting in court to physically molesting the teens. On the stand, he admitted to lusting for young boys but blamed his impulses on a distant relative who molested him and exposed him to child pornography when he was 7 years old.
The newspaper also says there was no jury in the case. Antoine didn’t want the children to have to recount their story in front of a jury so he opted to have his case heard by the judge in a bench trial. After what the judge called “called three days of ‘gruesome’ testimony” he sentenced him to life behind bars.
I’m not minimizing his crime, what Antoine Johnson did is absolutely deplorable, but a life sentence seems excessive. Sometimes I wonder if the justice system in this country is much too quick to throw young black men away for the rest of their lives. True, Antoine is definitely a sicko who certainly doesn’t elicit any sympathy, but isn’t life in prison reserved for kidnappers and murderers? The prosecutor recommended the harsh sentence saying “true pedophiles never get better” and in Antoine’s case, he won’t even have a chance to try.
Alissa is a freelance writer living in Columbus, OH. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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(New York Times) — Anniversaries are hard to resist for most media outlets. The stories are evergreen, the advertising potential plentiful. But in documenting the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, there is a fine line between commemoration and exploitation. Mindful of this, television networks, magazines and others planning special coverage of the anniversary have weighed issues like how much American audiences can stomach, and how much such a solemn occasion should be viewed as a business opportunity. There are no uniform answers, and media outlets are approaching it differently. Time magazine is running no ads at all. Newsweek and People have sold ads just as they would for any other issue. Cable channels, which are devoting big blocks of their schedules to Sept. 11-related programming, are also largely running commercials as usual. But there exceptions; CNN, for example, is to show a joint HBO-Time special commercial free. In its regular Sunday edition on Sept. 11, The New York Times is publishing a special section that will contain only commemorative ads.
(AllHipHop) — I really don’t know what constitutes for “relevant” coverage in HIP-HOP news in America these days, but I really want to give you all a heads up. As you know I’ve been through three passports, 76 countries on the regular in the name of Hip-Hop since 1987 and in 2010, although I’ve never stopped traveling the earth this year, I’ve seen, heard and felt some new things. As far as RAP and HIP-HOP, it’s like USA Olympic basketball, the world has parity now and have surpassed the USA in ALL of the basic fundamentals of HIP-HOP – TURNTABLISM, BREAKING, GRAFFITI, and now EMCEEING with succinct mission , meaning and skill. Skill-wise rappers spitting three languages, have created super rappers to move the crowd with intensity and passion. The “arrogant” American comes in blackface, but if there was a HIP-HOP or Rap Olympics, I really don’t think the United States would get Gold, Silver or Brass or even A$$ for that sake.