By Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian Weekly, 2012.
Photographer: Linda Brownlee
This article is a great example of what it means to show rather than tell the reader about what is happening. As the reader, I felt included in every aspect of the story despite sensing the subtle influence from Amelia Gentleman. It is an article that covers a variety of topics such as politics, economics as well as social life.
The article expands on the conditions under which lap dancers work as well as branching into issues of gender and sexuality and the objectification and sexualization of the female body. It is also relevant in respect of the violence that is currently being meted out against women in society.
The photography is interesting as well as it draws ones attention to the article. The first image the reader sees is of a lady in a bra with a tight top barely covering the bra and the last image is of a lady tying the satin strip of her red high heels with pantyhose running up her legs. The first image can be interpreted as what the lap dancer would put on first (the beginning of the story) and then her tying the strip at the end of the story could be an indication that she is about to go onto stage to perform (the end of the story). This is merely my interpretation but the pictures could have been used to indicate various things that the photographer might be able to expand on. But one cannot deny that the images are sexual.
The article also speaks to the role that men play in society and how men treat women. There is the active objectification of the female body that scares me tremendously because men don’t find that problematic at all. This needs to change in society where women are are praised in certain fields and ignored in other fields.
The blurb itself gives a bit of information away but even so, the reader wants to know why Gentleman was suddenly turfed out, what caused that to occur in a space that she was invited into?
I think it is important for us to realise that some lap dancers actually enjoy what they do, that they find it fulfilling and that it isn’t even a last option for them. Some people don’t feel degraded or shallow by giving people lap dances. It would be problematic of us to deem them as less humane merely because of their profession. I do believe we have become problematic in what we accept and don’t accept. We will say sex work is positive yet will shame lap dancers. We aren’t allowing people to do what makes them happy because we have created this idea that only certain professions are worthy of being recognized and appreciated in society. It is important that we allow people to embrace who they are and to do what they want to do without passing on judgement. I am not ignorant though, I am aware that the conditions that some people work under are not conducive but there are some people who genuinely enjoy what they do.
It is important for us to be intersectional in what we accept or deny in society and to understand that society is multi-faceted.