Stripping subjectivity: Dynamic multiplicity, “covert mimesis,” and reinscription/resistance through subversion
Fortner, Meredith Holland
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This thesis analyzes narratives of female strippers and augments them with personal experience, arguing that strippers, using various strategies, formulate multiply-situated identities which help us to navigate the phallocentric context of the strip club environment. Through use of personae, strippers highlight social constructions of gender roles, forming liminal identities which challenge the cultural tendency towards binary distinctions between either/or categories. The self becomes situational, fostering personal privacy—a key element of autonomy and empowerment. Resistance and empowerment take on new meaning in the club environment, as strippers engage in hidden resistance strategies that are not recognized by mainstream lenses and outside/r researchers; likewise, empowerment is relative to the context, as strippers' feelings about our work can shift over the course of a night, or a year. Acknowledgment and acceptance of multiple identities, hidden resistance, and the liminal nature of dis/empowerment can enrich feminist theory, and challenge cultural binaric distinctions.