The Feminist Strip Club is a group of current and former erotic dancers who explore the present conditions of and utopian visions for stripping. We hold events, make performances, publish zines and more.
The FSC began meeting in March 2019. Initiated as an 8-week workshop, it’s evolved into a loose collective with people participating at different levels.
Images above are from “The VIP Room” performance held at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, Minn. on May 15, 2019. Using tradeshow pipe and drape, we created a set of VIP rooms where visitors could meet with individual dancers for 10 minutes of one-to-one discussion.
Attendees were greeted by a bouncer at the entrance. Dancers had created menus of questions to focus discussion on the issues important to them, including labor issues, discrimination and balancing the demands of work with life outside the club.
After the 10 minutes of discussion, dancers gave visitors an envelope and sent them to check out with the “house mom” – a type of backstage manager at clubs. The house mom walked visitors through paying fees to the club and tipping out to management and other workers. Scenarios ranged from a “good night” (earning $1850 and leaving with $995) to a “bad night” (owing the club money at shift end).
In August 2019, The FSC published Issue 1 of The GRIND, a 24-page, full color zine featuring articles, photos, illustrations and more. Much of the content focused on creating context for the upcoming vote by Minneapolis City Council on a new ordinance affecting adult entertainment businesses that (after some initial missteps) was drafted with the input and collaboration of erotic dancers and Sex Workers Outreach Project-Minneapolis to focus on worker protections rather than further stigmatization. Paper copies of the zine were distributed for free to dancers through dressing rooms at Minneapolis strip clubs. A high-resolution PDF copy of The GRIND is available for purchase online.
The pandemic interrupted publication of Issue 2. Instead, in June 2020, we created an online PDF of pandemic resources for Minnesota dancers, including how to navigate the unemployment system as an independent contractor.
We were able to print a revamped Issue 2 of The GRIND in May 2021. It includes content about implementation of the Minneapolis adult entertainment regulations and the pandemic’s effects on dancers’ abilities to stay safe and earn a living.