Exotic Dancer…Please don’t judge anyone…You don’t know their story!
Why do people always think it’s okay to make fun of this profession by joking about and belittling it? I’m not certain why it bothers me so much, but it does. It seems whether on TV or in real life the mention of “stripper” turns into the butt of a bad joke with lots of laughs. From what I’ve observed, it’s usually someone who believes they are above those who work in that profession thus they can mock them to feel even better about themselves.
In the past, I met a woman in passing who described herself as an exotic dancer. Then, she elaborated on the judgement she feels from so many when she tells others her profession. It broke my heart to hear how people have treated her, especially when they just met her, and though a recent incident bothered me too, this encounter with her bothered me the most.
During my last round of book edits, someone reviewing my book told me I should remove the full story about meeting this exotic dancer in case a teenager read my book one day. I found that suggestion unnecessary and uninformed as teens are more exposed to and less judgmental than most adults on this topic. If we as a collective take our judgements and continue to tell a single, sanitized story, it leaves no room to question or see the other side of the fence. However, if we take our judgements, misunderstandings, and questions, and turn them into wonder by being curious about how they found themselves on this path, we can create opportunities to realize the similarities between one another rather than driving a wedge between ourselves by focusing on what’s different.
In my life, I’ve known many exotic dancers. Some have gone into that profession to put themselves through school, to raise their kids after the father walked away, and some simply because their dream was to become a professional dancer, and this was as close as they could get. Why do we feel it’s okay to judge, make fun of, and stereotype these women without knowing their stories?
This week, I encourage you to speak up and be the voice for those who are being mocked, ignored, or taken advantage of. If you hear yourself or someone else make a negative remark, or crack a joke about someone’s profession, stop, question why this is happening, and make a conscious decision to make a positive remark instead – everyone should be respected regardless of their profession.
What does living your exceptional life look like to you?
Have you made fun of this profession or another you disagree with? Why?
When was the last time you spoke up for someone who was being put down for their work, choices, or the place they’re at in life?
Do you make snap judgments about others or wait until you learn their story before deciding?