Undressed: A Narrative Analysis of Identity Construction among Female Exotic Dancers
Although female strippers often constitute a topic of public discourse, current academic research has often employed a framework of deviance, failing to encapsulate the entirety of dancers' identities and experiences. The current study is an ethnography of the stripping subculture, sketched through field notes at 9 strip clubs in the Midwestern United States and interviews with 12 female strippers. Features of identity construction focusing on the sales and service-oriented aspects of stripping are analyzed in the context of social role theory. These include role authenticity, emotional labor, and role distancing, as well as their implications for self-esteem and assertiveness. Narrative resistance strategies are also examined. Above all, this study seeks to present dancers in their own words as agents of their identity formations.