G-Strings and Sympathy
June 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
Katherine Frank’s book, “G-Strings and Sympathy” discusses Frank’s own ethnographic project on male culture in strip clubs and the complexity and defining structure within the social subculture that exists behind the doors of the club. In the book, Katherine Frank takes up a job as a stripper herself, recording her own accounts with men in the clubs and the interactions between the men with each other and the strippers themselves.
While Frank discussed the cultural difference within different strip clubs and how a man’s ethnographic background contributed to his tastes and preferences in what he looked for at the clubs, what struck me the most was how she discussed the behavioral inversion of men and women in the club and how most men simply went for this difference rather than the sexual presentation. This distinctive change was what most men looked for and Frank records, “the desire to return to work and home were unquestioned elements of the men’s visits and were reflected in the balance between risk and safety that was often being sought.” I found this surprising, considering how sexually centered strip clubs are. This examines the mentality and emotional wants of many men. While the demographics of the club-going population are a contributing factor, it seemed most men at the club all had similar desires. A completely different realm from work and home, this provided an escape for men. With the roles reversed as women approached the men, I found it shocking to see how a price could be put on emotional gratification. This made me think about my own ethnographic project on the homeless. While there are many different circumstances behind each homeless person, perhaps there is some common denominator that each person can relate with?