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I loved being a lapdancer...now I'm a university lecturer
6:00am Tuesday 5th November 2013 in Echo News
WHETHER women are defined by how they look, and what they do for living, will be explored at the University of Essex.
The event, open to the public, will feature the work of Dr Rachela Colosi of the University of Lincoln, and Dr Tanya Bunsell, of St Marys University College, on the controversial female roles of bodybuilding and lapdancing.
The centre of criminology and the department of sociology at the university are to hold a joint event exploring the current debates surrounding lap dancing and female bodybuilding.
Female transgression: Lap dancing and female bodybuilding, is on at 5pm on Wednesday, November 20 at the university’s Wivenhoe Campus. Visit www.facebook.com/UoE Sociology for further details.
Dr Colosi started working as a lapdancer when she was a university undergraduate and continued dancing as part of her PHD research on lap dancing culture.
Rachela believes women aren’t able to be honest about the reasons they decide to go into the industry because of the seedy stigma attached to it.
She says: “More women are affected by the negative stigma attached to being a lapdancer than they are from the profession itself.
“In my research I found many will use the money they earn as the justification for what they do, mainly because lapdancers feel society will judge them if they say they do it because it is fun and they enjoy it.”
“That’s how I felt.
I liked being part of the industry and I enjoyed socialising with the other lapdancers.
There was definitely an element of fun with the job.”
Rachela will demonstrate her research at the university event, and lead a full and frank discussion on the subject.
She explains: “People will have their own views on the subject.
“However, I will be presenting my research and maybe dispelling some misconceptions some people might have about lap dancers.”
For example, Rachela focused on the friendships between the female lapdancers in her research.
She says: “I looked at the subculture and the rituals they shared. There is a sense of membership among the women and they tend to work and socialise together.
“There were drugs, but no more than in any other nighttime work, like in a pub or club.
“I also looked at how the men who came to the club behaved.
When it was a large group of men, it would often be much more about asserting masculinity than anything sexual.”
But isn’t being a lapdancer a step back for women and feminism?
Rachela says: “I know being a lapdancer and a feminist do mix, because the whole time I was dancing I still considered myself a feminist.
“It depends where you are on the feminist spectrum – whether you are liberal or radical.”
Rachela had her own reasons for getting into the industry.
She says: “Early on, part of it was rebellion for me, but not later. I liked the way of life.
“Some people are still shocked I was a dancer. I used to like that reaction, but now I find it tedious.”
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