Yesterday Morning on Sunrise, the beautiful Samantha Armytage was serenaded in honour of her Birthday by topless men showing off their muscles whilst attempting to dance. (This is not disrespecting those male performers out there who can bust a move, but these blokes were particular awkward). It was not the bad dancing that made me think, but the idea of how this would play out on the flip side, Kochie’s Birthday. Would Sunrise be able to get away with girls in bikinis dancing around the set in a sexy manner? Probably not! So why then is it ok for this male display of testosterone at 8:30am?
There is one important difference when we look at the world of male and female strippers and that’s humour. When men get a lap dance or watch a women spin proactively around a pole, they are not in fits of laughter but taking these acts seriously and savouring every bit of visual pleasure that comes from these ladies. If you have ever been to a hen’s night you know what plays out, women screaming and laughing over a greased up man performing not what I would call seductive moves but stage moves around the bride to be. I personally do not find this attractive or a turn on. Normally the girl either attempts to grab him (something that is not allowed with female strippers) or turns a bright shade of red out of embarrassment whilst her friends find comical relief in her pain. Why is it that female strippers are worshiped, adored and their jobs are taken somewhat seriously, whereas male strippers are humours sideshow acts with a bit of muscles added on top? Is this a sexiest view on the stripping world? Once again, men’s sexuality is normalised and accepted whilst women’s is not taken with the same level of seriousness with the only way this act being accepted is with humour.
A few years now, I was celebrating my graduation as a Sexologist in the only town that would be appropriate, Vegas! I was treated to a night at the Chippendales (moving up on the class side of things but still holding that humours sexuality) but then taken away from the bright lights and main strip to a club that was grandfathered in (meaning that it had been there for so long that alcohol and full nudity was allowed, unlike other clubs where if they wished to hold a liquor license, g-strings have to be kept on). I entered a dark room and was quickly ushered to a spot on the floor where a hand towel was draped over my crotch area. I was unsure what was about to happen, until I spotted a large, hunky naked male with an erect member, swinging around a pole and heading in my direction. I then found out what the towel was for as I could feel every part of his naked body dancing and rubbing up against me (this is starting to sound like a scene from 50 Shades Of Grey).
After the shock of being rubbed against by a naked male starting to wear off, I was then focused on the other women in the room. I have been to my share of strip clubs and this one resembled everything like a normal men’s club. There was seats around a stage with a pole occupied by women with hands full of cash ready to tip the men they desired with serious and sexual looks on their faces. There was minimal laughter and besides me lying on the floor still in shock of what just happened, there was no humours aspect to this club at all. Why can’t it always be like this? Why can’t we treat the act of male stripping with the same attitude of female stripping?
I have worked in the past at various conferences along side male performers and I must admit my eyes were opened and fascinated by their world. Many of the boys are what I would considered talented performers, and others just love women screaming their name and grabbing their bodies. But the feeling that still presides is the humour and the giggles from groups of women at the sight of these gyrating men.
If you have ever been fortunate enough to see an act such as the Bad Boys Australia or the Chippendales, what you will notice is hoards of screaming women, cheering in delight at the sight of topless men. But does this mean that they are turned on or just enjoying the atmosphere and eye candy that is on offer? Would a stage full of female performers get the same response by men? Maybe a wet t-shirt competition would, but I’m not sure the female version of the Chippendales would get an equal reaction. Yes we function differently and we have some difference in what we want between the sheets, but there is more to this than our sexual functioning.
Is it because we don’t take it seriously, or because maybe women are too scared to enjoy it like men out of fear of what others will think and the serotypes they might break. Does this just feed into the stereotype that women don’t really want or desire sex but are more objects to be desired and perused? Is this a difference of the sexes or a difference in how we allow the sexes to perform and act? We can take this one step further and look at why our society is flooded with brothels and sex workers for men but for women this is still somewhat hidden and underground. Why is it that Playboy, a magazine with pages of naked women has become acceptable and mainstream but Playgirl is still smutty and difficult to even find? News flash – woman want sex and some just as much as men, why are we afraid of that and why do we degrade so many women for that?
I’m not suggesting we get Kochie a female performer for his birthday, but I do think we need to seriously take a look at our perception of sex, sexuality and strippers for different genders. And to any male performers out there who might have been offended by this article, I do support you and your career and just wish more people took you seriously as seductive performers.