Mysterious, darkened doors and windows, flashing neon lights indicate the name of the place. Big, high-ranking men in suits getting out of black cars who “run away” from home to get a little different than usual. Heavy-duty dancers in the locker rooms. At least that’s how American strippers are portrayed in film history somehow, it’s enough to think of 1996’s Striptease starring Demi Moore and can get your child back).
As easy as it is to imagine that most dancers in America have a similarly messy background story and are forced into what they do just to be able to live, in reality it is nowhere near that way. This is because most people choose the profession for themselves with a secure family or relationship background. And to develop themselves, to engage in culture, is as much a part of their daily lives as it is to prepare for nightclubs with different productions in the evenings.
People rely more on stereotypes about striptease culture, even though it is largely in the shadows.
The dancers are wonderful. I find them very strong, beautiful and sexy. They are not at all the way they are portrayed in the mainstream media.
That’s exactly why Los Angeles-based photographer Elizabeth Waterman began capturing dancers working in nightclubs to show what the general public was wrong about them. And the photos of the dancers also brought with them close connections and personal stories.(Photo by Elizabeth Waterman)
It took him years to develop a system of trust in which club managers began to let him into their seats and reveal to them, along with their backstage, how they worked and introduced him to their best dancers. After a while, Elizabeth began to be seen as an honorary family member, eager to see her pictures, and even asked to be photographed in various poses.
She established a good relationship with the owners and security guards of the places, so he got a completely full tour of the clubs. Striptease bars, on the other hand, have their own rules that it took time to experience. (Photo by Elizabeth Waterman)
“I usually felt safe and free to take pictures, but there were a few exceptions. Once a client thought I was taking pictures of him and he got very upset. He was drunk and he was afraid his bride would find out she was going to strip clubs. There was one the owner of the club thought I was a journalist and I was going to write negative criticism about his place, so he threw me out of the staff. (…) I was once part of a police raid. In all of these situations, I have found that communication is key. ” – says the photographer.(Photo by Elizabeth Waterman)
Elizabeth says she has not experienced sexual harassment in her work, and the girls have not reported anything like it to her. The presence of sexism is obvious, of course, but the culture of stripping is more about celebrating the innate power of women, as it is about exposing female sexuality rather than hiding or underestimating it. The dancers discover and take advantage of their sexuality. This is not typical of most women who do not work in this profession, as society does not encourage them to do so.(Photo by Elizabeth Waterman)(Photo by Elizabeth Waterman)(Photo by Elizabeth Waterman)
There are roughly 4,000 striptease bars operating across America, generating $ 6 billion ($ 1,948,731,906,470) annually and working 58,000 as dancers, baristas or other employees. Girls can earn up to $ 2,000 on a Saturday night, of course their pay varies. Usually sole proprietors, they pay for seats to perform and keep the tip and money they get for private dance shows.
“ A good stripper is a skillful businesswoman and a social networker at the same time. You can live comfortably, but your income fluctuates like most people who sell . ” says Elizabeth Waterman.(Photo by Elizabeth Waterman)(Photo by Elizabeth Waterman)
Strip dancers are discriminated against in many ways and often negatively in the United States, especially the Sex Workers Act 2018 has negative consequences for their employment. But even so, their position is more advantageous for those working in the profession than in Hungary. There are no specific figures for those working in the sex industry here. The Sex Workers Advocacy Association writes that women who work as strippers in Hungary do not earn enough income to make a living from it, so they have to provide additional sexual services, which in turn is illegal. As a result, it is not possible to check in any way whether they are exposed to possible abuse or harassment. (Photo by Elizabeth Waterman)
Between dressing room conversations and photo shoots, Elizabeth repeatedly captured moments when girls talked to their boyfriend or husband on FaceTime. Interestingly, men were never jealous, but rather strengthened girls in what they were doing.
When I asked him how the experience of getting so close to the world of strippers changed his life, she answered:
“ I’m still trying to process it, but I’m much more impressed with women’s sexual power than before. Oh, and I learned a lot about artificial nails! “(Photo by Elizabeth Waterman)
link to original article: https://index.hu/nagykep/2020/04/04/elizabeth_waterman_dark_angels_sztriptiztancos_sztriptizbar/