By Michelle Minton
As so many journalists have punned, recently passed anti-stripping legislation makes the “Don’t Show Me” state a far more appropriate nickname for Missouri. Yesterday, Gov. Jay Nixon ’s signed into a law a bill that significantly restricts the operations of adult entertainment establishments for the purpose of protecting the “vulnerable people who are being coerced into being the fodder for some of these places,” said state Senator Matt Bartle.
Among other things, the new laws prohibit total nudity, restrict semi-nudity to state areas six feet away from patrons, prohibit touching, ban alcohol, and limit the hours of operation of such establishments.
What most people don’t realize is that strippers usually aren’t under contract with any particular club and, generally, operate like contractors, paying a stage fee or a house fee to the club which is deducted from whatever they earn while dancing. These laws simple mean that strippers will have less time to work, fewer clubs to dance at, and fewer customers.
Proponents of the bill claim that liberal laws regarding adult entertainment in the state contribute “demeans women and contributes to prostitution.” But treating women as if they are children or mentally incapable of making their own choices is better? In addition, these restrictions will simply result in less income for current strippers which could very likely result in more prostitution not less.
A quote from a representative of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence says it all:
“One of the ironies is that, for many young women, it is the way that they can support themselves, maintain custody of their children, or escape an abusive relationship.”
If regulators really wanted to help the poor strippers they should decrease regulations and taxes on other industries so that more businesses will open in the state. Maybe then strippers will have more opportunities to switch into another profession, if they want.
Proponents of this law aren’t trying to help women, they are trying to control them.