Nearly a third of strip club dancers in the UK are students and many of them come from middle-class backgrounds, new research has found.
University of Leeds academics said there is a “growing acceptance and normalisation of sex work among undergraduate students in the United Kingdom” in their study published by the British Journal of Sociology of Education.
Teela Sanders and Kate Hardy interviewed almost 200 strip club dancers for the study, and found that nearly 30 per cent were “engaged in some form of education”.
Sanders told the Times Higher Education magazine that many of these workers “are from middle-class backgrounds – they are not coming from families where money is a big issue”.
The study also suggests that the “normalisation of porn” and the rise of “raunch culture” have led to an “increased ‘respectability’ in how people view sexual services as leisure and also work”.
Sanders and Hardy focused on strip clubs in one northern city and one southern city.
They found that one of the club’s managers used a University’s ‘Freshers’ Week’ to target female students with flyers in order to attract new recruits.
The study concluded that students are possibly under pressure to be involved in the sex industry owing to the “creeping financial restructuring” of higher education.
It also said stripping as a job is “increasingly acceptable because there is arguably less stigma attached to the industry”.
Judith Woods, feature writer for the Daily Telegraph, warned that young women who see stripping as the same as working in a coffee bar are kidding themselves.
She said, “the wider acceptance of raunch culture normalises the cynical merchandising of sex and sexuality, and contributes to the tawdry, amoral climate in which pre-teen boys routinely access revolting hard core porn on smartphones”.