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I read the article about dancers (“Film Strip,” 1/15). It was interesting. I am a dancer of 22 years. Debbie Rowe, the sociologist filmmaker, was quite a character. Being an older dancer, or “career dancer,” I have a different perspective on the profession from the one shared by Debbie, but I find many of her insights accurate. It is a sad truth that intellectual dishonesty is lucrative for dancers. In the dancing subculture, the rules are often geared to a lower level of development. Many times, degrading, crass behavior is considered normal, acceptable, and complimentary.
I hope that Rowe’s film on dancers will be a serious dissertation, as she stated, on stripping and not a cock-tease that caters to men the way Rowe and her moviemaking pals do in real life for money. I like the way the ladies all believe they are not getting played but getting paid. I hope that in the long run their whorish behavior doesn’t hurt them. They are using the male dumb-stick to their advantage. I hope it is a long-term advantage.
I am one of the few strippers who danced past her 20s. I suppose in Rowe’s and others’ eyes I am considered ugly, but I manage to hold my own. I can’t believe that a woman past her 20s is ugly. Say it isn’t so, Rowe, say it isn’t so. I do believe that some women can be empowered by dancing if they are smart and save their money and prepare for the day when they must rely on something other than their youthful beauty to pay the bills. I am glad that Rowe went to school and got her master’s. Many dancers are doing that now. Dancing is a good job for a college student or any student. I began dancing my senior year at Howard University (history major and art minor) and danced my way through a master’s at UDC (counseling) and trade school (office computer applications) in Beltsville.
I work at JP’s on Wisconsin Ave. Many dancers in the area and at JP’s are in school. Several are in colleges in the area. I always considered dancing a steppingstone job. I just never knew that I would step on the stone this long. I started dancing on Georgia Avenue NW at Chances’ R. Back in 1976, when I started dancing, many dancers were on heroin and smoked PCP. Many danced underage, and they were often runaways who had little education. Fortunately, we have come a long way baby.
Unlike the ladies at Joanna’s, at JP’s many dancers do not drink champagne. We still consider ourselves classy for the most part. Remember, every profession has a top, a middle, and a bottom. I do not think champagne drinking has much to do with who is really classy. Many of the dancers at JP’s do not even drink alcohol. Champagne gives me a headache.
Today’s dancer is challenging the bimbo dancer stereotype. She has more education, is more independent. I am glad I have lived to see this day. There is less substance abuse, at least of harder drugs and alcohol. More dancers today drink bottled water and work out in the gym. All in all, dancers are healthier, mentally and physically. The state of dancers is strong.
I was offended by the bragging that a dancer got paid to have another dancer watch while she had sex. I was saddened to hear that Debbie Rowe considered it a compliment when a man jerked off while she did a private dance. I am older and old-fashioned, but this type of behavior is not bragging material. I think that many dancers and Debbie Rowe have issues. The distaste for men is rampant. I don’t think that this is healthy behavior. I am not sure how empowering it is, either.
Debbie Rowe put down Janet Reno for not being a Baywatch babe. This was shallow of her. Debbie Rowe is no Janet Reno. If Ms. Reno does not represent empowerment for women, then I don’t know who does. Debbie should wish that her pussy power would get her so far.
In conclusion, I hope that Ms. Rowe matures into a less shallow, less pussy-oriented, appearance-driven person. Maybe then she could show a more rounded picture of the female condition in her documentary on dancers. I hope she portrays less prostitution and more real power.