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Bare: The Naked Truth About Stripping (Live Girls) Paperback – August 24, 2004

3.6 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The term "feminist stripper" may be ironic, but it's "not an oxymoron," journalist Eaves explains, as she looks back on her own experiences working naked. In 1996, Eaves was in serious debt, dreaming of graduate school but unable to make house payments with her boyfriend, whom she no longer wanted to marry. She could keep working temp jobs or try stripping, which she knew paid more, although she didn't know what to think about it. Had these women "found a sort of freedom" she lacked? Peep show dancing was a revelation; it gave her control, as it was her body that had the power to give men the sexual release they desperately craved. While this sexual power was "exhilarating," it left Eaves somewhat "disappointed," confirming some of her low expectations of men. Given that most of the male (and a few female) lovers of the various strippers in this book found it impossible not to resent their partner's work, relationship strains emerge as one of the few real hazards of this apparently lucrative occupation. True, Eaves draws mostly on the experience of working at Seattle's Lusty Lady, a women-run business with better politics than the average sleazy strip joint, but her point remains: if stripping is a dangerous occupation for women, it's not the customers who're the threat, it's what it does to a woman's head. Eaves manages to avoid moralizing in favor of reportage, and despite the title's ominous promise, keeps the philosophizing to a minimum. BOMC, QPB, Venus and Inbook alternate selections.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In her absorbing book, Eaves goes behind the scenes of the lucrative stripping business to examine the motivations, thoughts, and lives of the women who work in it and the men who patronize it. Much of Eaves' research is firsthand--she worked as a stripper at a Seattle strip joint called the Lusty Lady. While there, she examines both her own attitudes toward stripping and those of the women around her. Contrary to popular belief, not all strippers are "damaged" or man-haters; many are there out of curiosity or because they need the money. And it's good money--many strippers make more in one evening than some people do in an entire week at a more conventional job. The Lusty Lady is a peep show, but Eaves also interviews her coworkers, as well as women who work private parties and give lap dances. Eaves pushes herself, trying, at different times, both a private customer booth (with glass separating stripper and customer) and lap dancing, pushing her own limits. Eaves displays both a level of candid introspection rarely seen and a curiosity that she goes to great lengths to quench, leading to an utterly engrossing, accessible, and informative study. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Live Girls
  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press; 2ND edition (August 24, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580051219
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580051217
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,341,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
At first, I enjoyed the engaging conversational style of the author and could identify with many of her thoughts on the world around her. But frankly, I had to force myself to finish the last two sections of the book. Why?
Basically, because this is a book by yet another middle-class white girl from a good family who has an education and danced at a nice peep-show for a single year and decided that it just totally screwed up her life. So much so that she had to go back and try it again.
In her struggles for finding her motivation, she overlooks the main reason of why 99% of us [take our clothes off]: money, pure and simple. Trying to find the deeper meaning in using stereotyped ... roles to her advantage in her job, she twists herself into whiny knots about it all. For Pete's sake, she danced at a rather nice peep-show, not a Tijuana trick bar, and she never had to really interact with her customers if she didn't want to. Another minus is that she can't seem to get out of bad relationships, (like most women, really), or figure out what she wants in life (common to most people, I imagine). She also reports in exhaustive detail about the .../dancers she hangs out with. She managed to pick girlfriends who were screwed up as well, which is probably why they had so much free time to socialize with each other.
Overall, this book tells a lot about the Lusty Lady in Seattle, ... Other than her Lusty Lady stories, she just went into a lot of detail about her and her friends' lives (more than you'll ever wish to know) and pondered the meaning of it all.
She brought up some good points about men, women, [pysical activity] and the balance of power between the sexes, but mostly ignored money issues ...For some reason, she is continually confounded by the whole idea of stage names.
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Format: Paperback
This is probably one of the worst stipping books I've read simply because it doesn't include actual stripping (other than some limited and misleading chapters at the end). Peep show booths are one aspect of sex work but it is erronous to equate it with stripping (one you start naked, the other you perform a tease, the first you rarely have contact with costumers, the second you have intensive contact with customers, at the Lusty Lady you can earn an hourly wage, most strippers have to hustle and their income is always in flux, etc).

I strip in Seattle at an actual strip club. I know a few who work at the Lusty Lady and not a one refers to herself as a "stripper." Aside from that issue, the author should never have been in sex work in the first place. One of the primary rules is that you must be able to diferentiate between your work and your personal life. If you cannot, then you should not do it. The author did not follow common sense and is left confused and feels a need to justify her one year experience.

From a feminist aspect, I felt she failed to accurately represent the dynamic between a dancer and a customer (probably because her experience in that is very limited considering she sits there naked and the exchange starts for her after they have already paid). Also, I receive a fair amount of couples and female customers which are completely absent in her experiences and so in her reasoning.

Her explanations of fellow peep show workers are those that also seem to have difficulty seperating work from personal life (perhaps they attracted each other in friendship because other workers would have been negative or dismissive of such concerns).

I'm hesitant to call them dancers.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a good book, well worth your time and money. The author's primary motivation for writing the book (imho) is to create an educational, inside look at the strip club world, especially attempting to teach readers that the subculture of stripping/dancing is populated by many independent, intelligent, and multi-talented women. I'm not sure that this will be enough of a revelation to keep the average reader fully engrossed in the theme of the book, but if it helps to eliminate a blanket generalization of the dancer as a defective or ignoramus, the book will have succeeded in a literary, if not monetary sense. It's hard to imagine this book becoming a big seller, because the widespread preconceptions about women who dance in the sex industry for money is a immediate turn-off for many. If you take the plunge, though, you'll find a well written book that attempts to examine the motivation of women who choose this line of work, however temporarily. The author is insightful, and explores both the positive and negative aspects of dancing in a fair, objective light.
The main message as a man that I would take from this book is this: Except in the rarest of circumstances, you are being sold an illusion at a rather high price. Dabble in the world of flesh if you must, but examine your own reasons as to why you do so in an entirely non-judgmental, non-moralistic manner. At the end of the day, virtually nothing you will have seen is at all real, and the quest to find otherwise may leave you no wiser and considerably poorer. Dancers can be wonderful therapists and very special people.....but you will never be any closer to them than your wallet allows.....and that is the wistful yet disappointing truth. (And, in the end, on their side of the glass, it is generally no better for them to take your money for a variety of entrapping or mercenary reasons....and ultimately, no more fulfilling.)
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