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Unveiling the strip clubs' myth...

More Than Meets the Eye

Les clubs de strip-tease : au-delà des clichés, article de blog par Sophie Atlan, PoleFit studio tel aviv

Marginality is a key piece of the puzzle of humanity.

The definition of a concept, the boundaries of a belief, or the borders of a place are not lines drawn in opposition. They form a true in-between world, an enigmatic microcosm, a hidden passage to a reality revealed to the initiated. Marginality is an experience lived in the flesh, through a courageous quest driven by insatiable curiosity. The deeper the experience, the more secrets it reveals.

No matter the nature of the exploration, it deconstructs prejudices, blurs boundaries, and unifies opposites.

Join me as I take you beyond preconceived notions, to a place where boldness allows exploration and the mind can slip through prejudices and dualities.

Strippers are girls in distress

How can we get them back on track?

Les clubs de strip-tease : au-delà des clichés, article de blog par Sophie Atlan, PoleFit studio tel aviv

Maybe all they need is to let them live their experience because in reality, being lost is just a step to surpass one's own illusions.

What's more real than the idea of being lost are the reasons why these women evolve in strip clubs. I've mingled with women from all over the world in these unique places, with different customs and cultures. Employment contracts last for two weeks or a month, renewable. You have the choice to stay, leave, or even come back. There are regulars and those just passing through. Students, professional pole dancers, mothers, the girl next door... They share a need for independence and freedom. Some find themselves there and pursue projects before moving on. They are businesswomen managing their contacts, working on their image, and cleverly selecting clubs based on seasons or nearby events. They are both rivals and friends, supportive and competitive. Depending on the club, there is a strong camaraderie and a maternal support that brings laughter and complicity to the evenings. Regulars are like landmarks in these clubs; they dominate the scene and usually have the favor of regular clients. They work closely with the club's team; manager, waiters, DJ, everything is done to ensure the evening's turnover. They have a pretty amazing understanding of male psychology, and some seem to read them like an open book. Many have strong personalities and embody their stripper persona with an iron fist in a velvet glove. Some no longer enjoy what they do, but they are determined to "make their money" at every opportunity. It's a real manhunt spectacle that I've only seen in these clubs. A seduction game, a formidable commercial machine that reveals aspects of female power that were unknown to me until then through this prism. The world is still unable to let women embody their deep essence, their magnetic strength, their creative power, their overflowing sensuality. In these clubs, you can touch something, but the financial context and male domination cast a thick veil that prevents you from seeing more than what is shown at first glance.

Some strippers become aware of their power, their ability to navigate among men and derive benefits from it. Real life lessons to shape the future. Others get caught up in stories, moods of their clients, heartaches, or the pursuit of a moment of glory that, failing to materialize, diminish their self-esteem or confidence.

Some strippers are disgusted by men, immersed for too long in the game, losing touch with other realities, other ways of relating, and positioning themselves towards the male gender.

Observing the world as it is today, I simply feel that the stripper is just a reflection of what most women in the world experience. They do not seem more lost than others and fight just as much for their independence. They develop the ability to break free and take responsibility, to overcome the gaze of others to forge their own path. They are courageous in their strengths and vulnerabilities. They are hardworking and determined. They are driven by various reasons to do what they do and for the time they spend doing it. There is no specific type of stripper; there are women curious about their potential, driven by the need to build confidence and independence to somehow evolve their existence.

Striptease is anything but virtuous!

Hide that breast that I cannot bear to see...!

Les clubs de strip-tease : au-delà des clichés, article de blog par Sophie Atlan, PoleFit studio tel aviv

The naked body is the ultimate vulnerability of human beings. It's the paradox of nudity that reveals a body, a being without adornment, without layers to protect it while bringing the mind back to the exposed being. It's as if nudity could never be perceived as such, carrying the eye and consciousness into a mix of sensations bordering on the irrational and the emotional.

The nudity, though very real, cannot show more of a person than their flesh envelope without allowing further understanding. This flesh that turns out to be the outline of an elusive world, a skin that hides the interior, a natural garment that says nothing more than what it is. Nudity would be an in-between world that is colored through our own perceptions and beliefs. An intimate and contrasting exploration through our rational and instinctive faculties, which cancel each other out in opposition. There would then be space only for letting go, listening to emotions, and perhaps, the interlude of thoughts.

Here is an article that will give you interesting material to study the question, if it intrigues you: "According to an American study, a person who exposes parts of their naked body is automatically perceived as more likely to feel emotions and engage with them. And the more they dress, the more they appear to know how to control themselves and make rational choices."

Such was the experience I had with striptease; the more I undressed, the less my body defined me. The more I peeled away, the more I felt adorned with the garment of nudity. The more I moved between lights and shadows, playing with perspectives, the more I felt my body freeing itself. Everything is serious and insignificant, all is seduction without promise, we play at being adults and often end up laughing about it. I quickly understood that the game was to play, dance, move, show, and hide. To feel one's body as the ultimate work of art that speaks a thousand things and evokes even more. My nudity was the central object of the event, the focus of a stranger's attention who, enchanted, captivated, tried to grasp all the messages.

There is nothing degrading except an intimate act done without soul, without art, and without pleasure. It's all a matter of perception, but reality is a matter of experience. And if the naked body becomes sexualized when staged in all its sensuality, isn't it simply through our perceptions and beliefs that we associate nudity, rightly or wrongly, with sexuality? Let us revisit our preconceptions and beliefs about what men and women should show, hide, and do in the name of virtue. Do we still know how to nourish our deep nature and its appetite for play, derision, and audacity? Do we still leave enough room for our imagination and creativity to be fully experienced outside established norms?

Self-discovery is an initiation into freedom that should not submit to conventions or morality. All paths to discovery are valid, like in the case of striptease, and if we can travel them together, all the better.

Men are potential aggressors

And the women, defenseless prey!

Les clubs de strip-tease : au-delà des clichés, article de blog par Sophie Atlan, PoleFit studio tel aviv

How many times have I heard the question, filled with apprehension about the attitude and behavior of men in strip clubs. How many times have I heard that I must have surely encountered aggressive and disrespectful men. Well, no, not any more than in everyday life! Not more than in nightclubs or in a corporate setting.

They are, however, more relaxed, more inclined to open up, to let go. They become the stranger for a night who spends a moment with a woman they may never see again. Some are like fish in water among all these women, some are more reserved and keep to themselves. They have the freedom to look at everything and indulge in fantasies without being judged. It's a place where they can enjoy the favors of women without getting into a power struggle. Just ask and pay the bill, an almost perfect world. Almost... Because even though the stripper is there to make money, she still has the right to refuse a performance and walk away from a client's table.

There are jerks and ill-tempered men in the streets, just as there are in clubs! These gentlemen don't change their personalities when they enter a strip club, they simply enjoy a financial power that allows them to have fun and dream in the company of fearless women. Some may abuse it, of course, but the stripper is not naive; she will play along to take advantage of this attitude, and rest assured she will inform her colleagues!

Finally, for me, stripping has never been tinged with aggression. On the contrary, I felt more like a school teacher teaching a lesson to a well-behaved student. I faced rather calm men, overwhelmed by the gentle tension of desire, hypnotized by the moving body. As written in the previously mentioned article, "nudity does not imply that we see the other as an 'object' but as a being more inclined to let go of their emotions than to think."

Of course, each club has its rules, and each country has its codes of conduct. In Paris and London, it is forbidden to touch the stripper, just as the stripper cannot touch the client. Everyone adheres to the rule under the threat of expulsion or dismissal. There must have been exceptions, and there were, but what would the rule be without exceptions!

And then there were the clubs in Switzerland, where the rules were more liberal regarding physical, and sometimes even sexual, interaction. I could tell you stories from this phase, but the unspoken rule of consent and sharing seemed to remain the same everywhere. I don't recall encountering a client who forced me into anything.

Somewhere, it makes sense; pleasure is an exchange of reciprocity, even complicity. Even if it can be simulated, it remains an agreement, a clearly established consent.

So, I have not witnessed the all too common story of the aggressor, and I have always had a say in affirming my will.

Clichés distort reality

This remains my personal perception

Les clubs de strip-tease : au-delà des clichés, article de blog par Sophie Atlan, PoleFit studio tel aviv

An experience stemming from a lived experience linked to my personality, my way of approaching men, and striptease through art. I do not claim to speak on behalf of all strippers, nor to depict a generic male behavior. Anything is possible, at any time and in any place. However, perhaps we can attribute the events to what we believe and consequently, what may happen. I approached this experience from an anthropological perspective, first to discover myself and be carried away by the discovery. Then to open myself to an unknown world, overcome my fears, and leave behind the preconceptions inadvertently ingrained in my thought patterns. I lived the concepts of nudity, money, power, and self-mastery in such unique ways that my blinders could not resist.

I remember, when I contacted the Pink Paradise to gather information, I asked how to feel comfortable with topless dancing in front of the public. My interlocutor replied in a facetious tone, "Oh, don't worry, you get used to it quickly!" The relaxation and humor surprised me while aligning so perfectly with what I had already experienced through my past experiences. Overcoming apprehensions, releasing tension, and opening up to the unknown, the unthinkable. What a wonderful sensation!

Clubs are a breeding ground for unforgettable encounters; I mingled with men and women of all styles, ages, and social statuses. Nothing could define the typical club client as I might have thought. Nor could anything establish the typical profile of a stripper, not her morphology, personality, or even less the reasons that led her to work in such places. My reasons were mine alone, and it was through conversations with my colleagues that I realized the extent of the stereotypes erected against them. From the Parisian to the Bulgarian, from the Brazilian to the Romanian, there was much to listen to in order to understand, there was no other way than that of empathy and respect to learn.

See you soon for the next adventures!

Sophie Atlan (SoExotic)

Did you enjoy this article or did it trigger some thoughts that you would like to share? Leave a comment, let's allow our mind to open a little more together!

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