Netflix offers a free two-week trial, and I thought I'd explore that. Moving into my own place requires that I explore entertainment choices other than paying for cable. And what was the first movie I watched?
Jill Morley made a documentary about the lives of strippers, being one herself. She's not anymore but you can check her out at www.jillmorley.com. Her new documentary Fighting It, follows the lives of five female fighters. That should be interesting.
So you may be asking why I chose to watch Stripped. I'd like to say that I was doing some research for a new book or character.
Plainly, I wanted to watch something naughty.
Then why didn't I go to the millions of sites that hosts saltier types of media. Been there, done that. I also have a soft spot for strippers. During my acting days in the city, I'd come to know and befriend a few strippers who took acting classes who wanted to break into mainstream entertainment. And I became close to one in particular.
In talking to them, their perspective on men, strip clubs, work, children, and life is echoed in Stripped. And unlike watching saltier types of videos, I didn't find myself fast forwarding to the good parts. The whole documentary was interesting.
But the thing that stuck out in my mind was how each stripper felt trapped. The money they earned seemed to outweigh the toll it was taking on their soul. Because it was the club owners who truly benefited from the clientele, the labor of these beautiful women, and the intense hard work, both emotionally and physically, they put in.
Aside from the tragic circumstances some of these women were in, what struck me was their view of men. Everything a stereotypical male chauvinist pig represents is what their view of men is. I saw how desolate they felt when talking about men.
And for some reason it reminded me of the book The Road.
No, the book didn't contain any strippers. Despite that essential element, wink wink, I loved the book. The desolation described was incredible. Incredible that I saw real images as I read. Incredible that it's one of the few books to affect me, to help me realize the abundance that I have, to remind me of the unending strength of the human soul, to show me what people could and would do when dignity is gone.
There was a scene in the book where a group of cannibals had chained about a dozen prisoners, and they were herding them back to their dwelling. This coincided with a passage McCarthy wrote about cattle. How we use cattle as beasts of burden, then slaughter them for food. No one is ever shocked that we do this to cattle or any other animal. But we're totally shocked when we see people do this to other people.
Is there a difference?
Look at the owners of strip clubs. Earning their meals on the labor of women. Preying on men's desire for sex.
Is there a difference?
Yeah, Jimmy. Club owners aren't eating these women. Literally.
What about the soul? Is that not as important?
I deeply explore the soul in my book. I've thought about it a great deal. I know I have one. Art is an expression of the soul. And because life mimics art, or art mimics life, I chose to make it important both in art and life.
In saying that, pieces of strippers' souls are being taken away each night they dance. Each lap dance they give, a part of their soul is lost. Each dollar they earn, they give up a part of what makes them a human being. This is what I felt when watching Stripped, or whenever I talked to my friend who worked in that industry, or when reading about the cannibals in The Road.
Now here's a question for you. When you work in your day job, as I do, do you feel a part of you is torn away? At the end of the day, what is your life about? At the end of your life was working all those extra hours worth it?
Or are you the fortunate few who've discovered your passions, your life's purpose, and truthfully love what you do?