What (Not) Stripping Taught Me About Feminism

“We’d rather go topless than wear fur …”

This is the tagline on the poster hanging in the back of the Manhattan branch of Rick’s Cabaret. The girls featured in it, clad only in G-strings, are from the UK version of the same club. The poster is part of an anti-fur campaign run by PETA.

“I bet there was a black girl who dropped out at the last minute. It’s just way too much fake blonde hair,” observes the redhead I am sitting next to.

“Yeah,” agrees the brunette to her left, “there’s even a space in the middle like they were missing a girl.”

It is 11 a.m. and I am at the strip club for the second time this week. Ostensibly I am here researching my Sirens article “Sexing It Up for the Bad Economy.” But I’ve almost finished writing, and I have all the material I need. So why am I lingering? Maybe I am being thorough. Maybe I just want to say I’ve been to a strip club before lunch.

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FemiNoshing: Food Is Beauty, Beauty Food

I’ve been covering some pretty heavy topics at FemiNoshing lately, and while that’s been quite cathartic for not just myself, but for many wonderful readers, it’s summer and I’m in the mood for something light.

I’ve always had a weakness for beauty products with fruity smells — Body Shop’s satsuma soaps, anything verbena, peach-scented lotion. Philosophy’s products are like crack, and I can’t leave a store that sells them without sniffing every sample bottle.

The problem is that, at least for me, the recession is still very much a reality, and I can’t really justify spending $20 on a body scrub. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your average grocery store is full of ingredients you can mix up yourself, and then use the leftovers for a snack or light meal.

Now, I can just hear your groans. “I’ve seen this story a million times in women’s magazines! Do something different!”

I know, I know! My lovely colleagues here at Sirens tackled this very thing a few years ago, and proved, conclusively, that raw eggs and warm showers don’t mix. But bear with me — this will be different. What follows is not just about beauty treatments you can make from food: I am also including recipes to make something out of the food you have left. At FemiNoshing (during a recession), waste is not the watchword. (Many thanks to Sirens co-founder Heather Wood Rudulph for the beauty expertise!)

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FemiNoshing: Who Is Worthy of Julia?

I have yet to see “Julie & Julia,” which opened Friday and was a huge box office hit. But it is definitely on my list, not just because it stars the ever-amazing Meryl Streep, but because it is, at its base, about two women who improve their lives by reinventing themselves, and this reinvention has nothing to do with looking pretty or finding a man.

Such films are rare, because so much of what comes out of Hollywood is either male-focused — or even if female-centric, about a girl looking for a boy to complete her. In “Julie & Julia,” the women and their journeys are at the center; and best of all, unlike, say, “Contact,” another great film about an amazing woman’s journey, this script is based on real people.

Julia Child has always been a heroine of mine, and I commend Julie Powell — who in 2002 built a blog around cooking each of the recipes in Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in one year — for doing something so many bloggers dream of doing: turning their blog into a book, then a movie. With 33 million blogs out there and counting, it’s damn hard to make your voice heard.

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