Trying To Keep My Little Girl Off The Pole

I expose my 7-year-old daughter to as many things as I possibly can. We go to the Museum of African Diaspora together, and she has already been to several readings and open-mics. The girl paints, creates music, plays soccer, and loves math. Like all good fathers I try to be as supportive as possible. Even though her mother and I split several years ago I have always been a consistent presence in my little girl’s life. This is mostly because of my love for her and my strong desire for her to one day be a successful woman but it is also driven by an uncontrollable fear. I want my daughter to be talented and I want my daughter to be artistic but I do not want my daughter to become a stripper.

Over the past decade no institution –besides the penitentiary—has come to symbolize the failure of African-American father’s more than the strip club. Stripping is big business in every American city but it is even more lucrative in the Southern United States where a disproportionate amount of blacks either reside or send their children to Historically Black Colleges and Universities to be educated. There is a whole subgenre of hip-hop music made specifically for strippers to dance to; Pop Lock and Drop It, Rock her Hips, Shake it Like a Salt Shaker, Back That Thang Up, and a dozen other booty worshipping songs that cause me to quickly change the dial every time my daughter is in the back seat. “But I like that song Daddy,” she often says. “Well I don’t,” I tell her. At least not with her in the car I don’t.

The role of the stripper in society has been reinvented in the modern-era which adds a whole different dimension to my worst parenting nightmare. No longer is the stripper’s pole reserved for the neglected, tragically beautiful, young lady who grew up in foster care. Instead there is a huge cross-section of sisters who find themselves flinging their bodies from the stainless steel sphere and landing in a perfect split. There are graduate students, daughters of the bourgeoisie, former high-school athletes, and aspiring entrepreneurs all collectively making it clap for crisp new bills. Alas stripping has become a completely socially acceptable profession.

Not that I have anything against these women. I honestly believe that it takes a tremendous amount of swagger for these ladies to dance naked in front of total strangers as if they were dancing alone in front of a mirror. So many women have extreme insecurities about their bodies that it is somewhat refreshing to see females shake it with pride. My only issue is that I am scared that the incessant stream of black women dancing half-naked in music videos, and on billboards, in magazines, and in low-budget hip-hop movies, will force a whole generation of girls to think that is their only option in life.

No longer will young African-American females want to win gold medals like Dominique Dawes and Gail Devers. They won’t know that they can go to outer-space like Dr. Mae Jamison or make millions of dollars by starting their own business like Madam C.J. Walker. Instead they will think the only way they can get rich is by catching a hand full of bills thrown to them by some drunken rapper who was gracious enough to “make it rain” all over their once sacred bodies.

Needless to say I do not want that for my little girl. I want her to defy societal expectations and choose her own path. I want her to be socially outgoing yet ferociously independent. I want her to be proud of her culture while at the same time being aware that her people need her help. The last thing I want to do is fail like so many other black men.

Sometimes I close my eyes and I am haunted by the fact that every stripper had a daddy once. It is oh so troubling.

YB

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8 thoughts on “Trying To Keep My Little Girl Off The Pole

  1. I spent a lot of time in strip clubs during my senior year in college. part research part fun so I have a lot of thoughts about stripping…

    1. They don’t play booty music as much as I thought they would. It was shocking to hear Anthony Hamilton songs but I realized they play a lot of slow music b/c these women spend a lot of time in heels that are 6″+

    2. Where is stripping socially acceptable? I still think ppl have trouble accepting non-stripping/athletic pole dancing so I can’t see this but maybe it’s different around the country. Let me know where and I’ll move there.

    3. “My only issue is that I am scared that the incessant stream of black women dancing half-naked in music videos, and on billboards, in magazines, and in low-budget hip-hop movies, will force a whole generation of girls to think that is their only option in life”. I don’t think they will think that’s their only option in life, but they will think that’s they way to have their beauty affirmed. These images we get from music videos and magazines like King seriously fuck with our heads. Its not just white girls who affected by media images.

    4. I definitely thought about stripping in college. not too seriously though. It wasn’t about it being my only option or wanting men to think I’m beautiful. It was all about money. The idea still crosses my mind but I know I lack traits necessary to be successful, mainly I lack the ability to pander to the male ego

    5. I love Dominique Dawes. I was obsessed with her during the 96 Olympics and I wanted to take gymnastics classes because of her so I get what you mean about role models. I wasn’t trying to imitate her looks at all, just focused purely on her ability.

    • Ok so I think the fact that you honestly considered stripping speaks to how it has become socially acceptable. I’m not sure that young college girls around the country “Pre- Players Club” would have even considered that an option because of the serious social stigma attached to it. I should also mention that some years ago I once dated a woman who was thinking about stripping. I didn’t have a problem with her dancing as much as I did with the underground prostitution that goes on in those clubs. I’m not sure what the clubs are like where you are but out here anything goes. Every stripper I know will do more than take off clothes if a man has the right amount of cash. Therefore stripping is not just a quick way to make money but it has become the gateway to prostitution.

      On slow music, yes this is very true however you can’t deny that the songs I mentioned are made for strippers. If hip-hop is “our voice” and the most prominent muse for black male artists are strippers then I believe that will effect our young women in a negative way. At any rate I could go on and on but I do think it’s pretty HOTT that you take pole dancing classes 🙂

      Thanks for reading and responding Ms. G.

      • true, i am in the post-Players Club generation but I sure wasn’t going to tell anyone about it. I was just planning on starting as a waitress in clubs LOL
        and yeah prostitution is a whole nother aspect strip clubs. although i do think exchanging sex for resources can be a part of women’s lives in general

        I like this post though, whenever I talk to men about strip clubs, they tend to get pretty reckless w/ their words. nice to get a father’s perspective
        and I think its cool that you expose your daughter to so much.

      • *blackmanblush*

  2. Good post! Troublesome indeed

  3. Just being aware of this and wanting more and better for your daughter is a powerful affirmation of her and you. That’s the point most often missed — buying into this culture, minimizing or trivializing its effects lowers the bar for everyone. Those who are directly involved and bystanders alike.

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