Review: Frank, “G-strings and Sympathy”

June 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

Strip clubs are places where men go to buy their fantasies. According to the book G-strings and Sympathy written by Katherine Frank, men do not go to strip clubs for their desire or lust. Strip clubs is an escape from the burden that they face in work and home environment as a man and as a husband. They provide men with excitement and safety as opposed to responsibility, duty, and engagement. Strip clubs have a different flavor compared to other components of the sex industry. Not many men go to strip clubs in order to be physically engaged; rather, many go and make “lite relationships”. They do not have to be particularly sensitive towards the women’s emotion, and a big comforting factor is that they do not have to be concerned about the relationship becoming too deep. They want to escape the cultural norm about male authority, but all the same, they want to maintain their power in order to achieve what they want.

When I was reading the chapter from the book, I realized that the reputation of strip clubs are generally created by the people who do not have a clear sense of what strip clubs exactly are. It is not a matter of good or bad; I do think there is much misunderstanding about strip clubs. Does everyone know what the difference is between prostitution and strip clubs? If they don’t, how do they decide whether they are against it or not?

I do not think that strip clubs are the best place for men to go in order to escape from responsibility since, in my opinion, going to the strip club brings on more emotional responsibility. It may be of pure entertainment or even an one-time act; however, the emotional sacrifice a wife would suffer because her husband went to a strip club is inevitable. Do men want to risk their relationship with their loved ones for mild amusement?


§ One Response to Review: Frank, “G-strings and Sympathy”

  • ethnolust says:

    You bring up some really good questions here. The complicated relationships (whether long- or short-term) that are forged in the strip club are certainly defined by male privilege and objectified women. At the same time, the ways that men pay to experience a momentary escape of masculine authority raises important issues regarding male identity, gendered performance, and desire.

    This reading makes sense of this masculine activity as a meaningful cultural act. At the same time, there is some ambivalence. It is something to hide from wives, girlfriends, and even other men at times.

    Nice work bringing up some of these complications.

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