Recent shifts in the consumer base of the sex industry have involved greater female attendance in strip clubs. This article examines how strip clubs and dancers incorporate female patrons into a sexualized space traditionally designed for men by identifying three interactional processes: passing over, sidestaging, and tailoring. We suggest dancers pass over women because they perceive female patron behavior to include resistance to "buying the game" and spending patterns that diverge from male customers. Drawing on Goffman's dramaturgical analysis, we suggest the dynamic relationship between dancer and female patron involves what we term sidestaging, which refers to both dancers' disclosure and how the club's spatial organization inhibits the construction of women as customers through sharing gendered spaces, such as the bathroom. We argue that when a dancer tailors her lap dance for a female patron, she succeeds in acknowledging the female customer's sexual subjectivity and potential same-sex desires by providing an individualized avenue for exploring an erotic experience. Finally, we discuss data implications for understanding how same-sex desire and sexual identity operate in an environment that eroticizes the female form, and how the strip club becomes a potential space for engaging in same-sex eroticism that includes elements of play.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science
- History and Philosophy of Science