Canvassing vs. Stripping

To those of you who also work in the sex industry (and some savvy folks who don't), it may not come as a surprise that working as a canvasser is similar in many ways to working as a stripper. That might sound like a stretch, but aside from having to wear a slightly different uniform, a lot of the things I'm doing in my new job as a canvasser to overturn Prop 8 are similar to what I did as a stripper.

I spend all day being cheerful, nice, and attempting to get people to give me money. I have to walk up to strangers, charm them, and get them to like me. I need to be completely comfortable with rejection because more people will walk by me on the street or refuse to open their screen doors than will donate $70 a month. I need to convince people to part with their money in ways they weren't expecting.

One of my immediate supervisors (not the hiring boss) just remarked to me that she's noticed our company doesn't hire unattractive people. The office is pretty diverse in terms of race and sexuality, but nearly everyone is aged 18-27 and is at the very least pretty or cute. This is partly because of who they hire and partly because you have to make a certain amount to stay on staff. Prettier people make more money.

That prettiness principle demonstrates the job's similarity to stripping. It's slightly exploitative, it commodifies people's looks, and it lends itself to a particular staff demographic.

My point here is that stripping is a lot like any other service or public relations job. Yes, it commodifies and sometimes exploits people, but so does canvassing or waiting tables or selling just about anything. It's all labor, stripping just involves less clothing.

That is all.


R. said...

Your post reminded me of this:

Paradox said...

Haha, totally.

I make an effort to look good while canvassing, and I can tell it makes a difference. I get a lot more money from men over the age of 30 than any other group...

On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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