There was a time when the idea of having a strip club in the CBD of any city was frowned upon. The “moral police” signed petitions and picketed against the idea but it happened anyway. It has been decades since the first strip club in Melbourne opened its doors and the locals have become used to having these clubs around. There has been so much furore over the liquor licensing laws. They would turn out to be the only thing thwarting the “Open 24/7” dreams that most club owners had, after all, stripping and alcohol go so well together.
There’s an old saying about the impermanence of life: that the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes; we should add nude dancers to that. The economy might be at its absolute worst but every man wants to see some nude dancing. In fact, for most men over 20, going to a strip club is as normal as going to the local pub.
Once upon a time strip clubs were hang outs for businessmen getting rid of some pent-up energy after a long day at the office or old men who come to escape their dreary lives. These days, young men live in a hyper- sexualized world where their needs are available with a simple click of a button and they can order up as many racy pictures of nude girls doing all kind of things. The saturation of sexual explicit photos has made strip clubs all the more popular and accessible.
It has become normal for young men to go to strip clubs. The first strip club experience is like a first kiss from a girl you may think is out of your league. For some men, it is the closest they will ever get to seeing a naked woman live. Men go to strip clubs for these basic reasons: relaxation, stimulation, escape and human interaction. These are basic needs that all human beings have. The younger generation seem to grasp the notion and idea of strip clubs better than the older generation and they are less inclined to objectify or demean strip club Melbourne performers.
People argue against strip clubs as places that promote misogyny. Dime store psychology aside, most men who go to strip clubs aren’t misogynists, they aren’t perverts either. In fact one would argue that sometimes it is good for men (and women) to step out of the anxiety ridden dating scene and talk to women without being judged. Of course, conversation in a strip club Melbourne costs money so as long as he keeps tipping, then he gets to keep the attention of the performer. Some would say that stripping promotes prostitution or that strippers are in some way objectified or they do it out of desperation. One cannot hide the murkiness of the industry but to portray female strippers as helpless waifs is disingenuous. One of the reasons things like striptease and pole dancing classes are so popular is that most women recognize how important it is to claim their own sexuality and use it to express themselves. That is because strip club performers that do well are the ones that master that art.
So, are strip clubs the new normal? A decade ago, it would not have seemed like it but strip clubs seem to be inescapable. They offer more than entertainment but some temporary reprieve from the harsh realities outside and as such they are an important part of society’s fabric.