July 22, 2024

Why Is Male Stripping Seen As Sexy And Female Stripping Seedy?

When it comes to pop culture, male stripping is almost synonymous with Magic Mike. It’s hard to think of an on-screen portrayal of male strippers that doesn’t feature a thrusting Channing Tatum or Matthew McConaughy. But now there’s a new contender: Welcome to Chippendales.

Arriving on Disney Plus on January 11, it’s a true-crime saga that tells the outrageous story of Somen ‘Steve’ Banerjee, an Indian immigrant who became the unlikely founder of the world’s greatest male-stripping empire. Starring Kumail Nanjiana, it also features Nicole Peltz Beckham and Murray Bartlett, who has gone from that suitcase scene in The White Lotus to dancing in a thong.

Like Magic Mike, viewers can expect well-choreographed scenes of slick, hairless men with sixpacks dancing in very little as female audiences howl. As one review reads: ‘Welcome to Chippendales makes male exotic dancing look… kind of fun? ’ It’s no surprise. ‘Fun’ is exactly how male stripping is seen in our society. Most reviews of Magic Mike (and Magic Mike XXL), feature that exact word. In contrast, films like Hustlers, make female stripping look everything from seedy to empowering and raw.

In pop culture, a male strip show is essentially a ‘girls’ night out’ – it’s the height of hen do culture, male strippers are rarely being exploited, private dances are incredibly rare and female customers are finding it more hilarious than sexual. On Mumsnet, one user even said ‘male strippers are seen as a bit of a joke. ’

But when it comes to female stripping, women are either victims or, like in Hustlers, they’re the ones taking advantage. The male customers are sleazy, their behaviour can range from anything to harassment to full-on assault, and private dances are the norm. The differences are stark, but also representative of the wide-ranging reality.

One male stripper sums it up on his blog: ‘Female stripping has an emphasis on raunchy behaviour and sexual idolisation whilst male stripping emphasises the concepts of fun, comedy, romantic elements and making that special someone feel sexy. Females generally get paid more, however mainstream media is more accepting of male stripping culture. ’

And it makes sense. In the UK, for example, there are around 300 strip clubs, but only around three main companies offering erotic male dancers for female customers. Then there are the statistics looking at violence against women – male violence is still the leading cause of premature death for women across the world. One in six women have been the victim of rape in the US, compared to one in 33 men. And women are much more likely to be sexually objectified and harassed in the street.

This inequality means that there will inevitably be huge differences between male and female stripping – after all it’s an industry based on sex, sexuality and sexual objectification. It means that all too often, female strippers are seen as being subservient to men, while male strippers still retain their dominance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *