Tuesday, January 13, 2009

interviews - Empowered Women

Heroines of the feminist movement have long shared the label of Empowered Women. They’re the ones willing to give the finger to patriarchal conventions and speak out for what they want. Through a somewhat perverted shift (imho) in social values however, women in the sex industry have recently come to share that label also. Whilst the theme of breaking taboos is common to both feminists and those in the sex industry, other commonalities seem much harder to determine. In light of this challenge, DeeTu talked to an anonymous member of Melbourne’s Sisterhood group, who incidentally also works as a dominatrix at a gentlemen’s club in Fitzroy.

DeeTu: Hi, is this a good time to talk?

Mistress Donna: Yep, just give me a minute.

Okay. (a long time later)…are you still there?

…Hi! I’m back.

How was your day?

I had work but it was pretty good. A couple of my regulars came in and tipped real big. Which was nice.

Oh right. You work two jobs right? At the club and at Sisterhood?

Yeah, I’m a part-timer the Sisterhood support group.

I’m sure you get this a lot, but isn’t there a slight conflict in being involved in a women activist group while also working as an erotic dancer on the side? Isn’t the feminist movement was all about elevating the image of women to be above sex dolls and housewives.

No, no. I guess, yeah. There is a bit of a conflict if you see it as that whole ‘selling my body’ thing. But nowadays a lot of the girls here are working students. We’re here by our free will and are very comfortable with our bodies. We’re very much aware of our boundaries, and it’s a safe atmosphere at the club- -

But isn’t there still an element in your work which depraves the female image? Or is that just an ignorant male assumptions on my part.

Ha ha ha. Don’t worry I know what you mean. It’s that whole selling your body thing again. You have to keep in mind that things have changed. While I wouldn’t openly brag about my night job at Sisterhood, there is definitely a ….uhhh a more open mentality there towards how women can use their bodies. I mean, I’ve told some of the girls there at Sisterhood about my work, and they were very supportive. At the end of the day, we’re not just about getting equality at work anymore. Our, I guess, philosophy has become a lot broader. It’s more focussed on breaking social taboos so that women can feel comfortable doing anything. And that includes working in the sex industry. I mean, there’s a whole lot less hoohaa about guys working in clubs. And it’s that kind of equality and social acceptance which Sisterhood really pushes for.

…Wow. I feel out of my league here. But um, so knowing what you know, and embracing that Sisterhood philosophy, how do you feel when you’re working at the club?

Well, firstly, that ‘philosophy’ (about elimination all social taboos) isn’t limited to just Sisterhood. A lot of other support groups have adopted it as well. But back to your question. Obviously I don’t feed all that empowering women stuff to my clients. It’s peeler club after all, and most of them would settle for just head. But I find that I can channel some of our Sisterhood stuff into my work, because there are clients who get off on a whipping from a bull dyke feminist. But I definitely don’t carry that ‘I’m selling my body’ mindset into work, because I’m comfortable with my body and I can use it to my advantage without getting hurt.

So is it because of your involvement with your support groups who helped you get comfortable with your body or - -

No, I think it’s more of a personality thing mainly, but being involved in Sisterhood has definitely helped as well.

So were you involved with Sisterhood first?

Well, I used to work at this other club down Bourke street. And two dykes pretty much assaulted me on the way to work one day, simply because they felt I was a ‘traitor’ to their movement. You know, it was weeding out the bad blood kind of thing. Lucky for them, I was an open minded girl and did some research after that and read into some women support groups. I found my self agreeing with what they were saying, and I joined. So basically, I’m a convert!

Did you see them again after that?

The dykes? Yeah, they came down to the club a couple of times after they found out I joined a support group. They were quite friendly after that.

Funny that. Do you think working as a dancer helped you to appreciate the feminist cause more?

Umm, I guess in a way, yes. Because I see a lot of dirty old men (laughs). No, it would be more because I see so many young girls who have totally lost their self-respect. In that way, it makes me more motivated to get involved. But, I can’t really say it makes me more appreciative of activism than others, because different people have different motivations for being involved in support groups. There’s rape victims, single mum’s, the list goes on, but we all share the same hopes for the future.

And you’re all obviously very committed.

Definitely. We say it’s like getting married. But we all make time for it to help out at Sisterhood. It’s encouraging to see so many girls getting involved. But at the same time, we all know that the road to true equality is still a long one.

It seems like it. Thanks for your time, I don’t know really how to close off a conversation like this, see you later sounds kind of inappropriate. Um, good luck?

(Laughs) Thank you, but we won’t need it.



Anonymous said...

bullshit this interview happened

Read Something. Anything. DeeTu is Anything said...

fuck you anonymous...nah nah jokes! we appreciate your input. But seriously, fuck you