All I want for Xmas this year is a new bicycle, my very own pony and a stripper pole for the rec room. Thanks, Santa!
Amber Anykid U.S.A.
P.S. Strawberry Shortcake thongs make rad stocking stuffers!
Postal workers should not have been shocked this year to receive scores of Christmas wish lists just like little Amber’s. Why? Well, in case you haven’t tuned in to teen or tween media lately, stripping has gone mainstream. Teenagers of the new millennium have grown up watching college students give lap dances on MTV’s The Real World; they’ve listened to Christina Aguilera’s album Stripped; they’ve taken cardio strip class at the gym, perused the mall for thongs and flavored body glitter, played video games that feature strippers on their Xboxes and GameCubes, and watched endless music videos for which strip clubs and the denizens thereof provide the mise en scène. TV shows and movies from Stripperella to Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle regularly feature voluptuous heroines flashing the flesh. Indeed, a questionnaire for college-age participants in The Real Cancun, the 2003 “reality movie” depicting spring-break mayhem, posed the question: “What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?” Responses included: “Stripped at a bar,” “Gone on top of a bar and flashed” and “Stripped in a club.” Somebody ought to break it to these co-eds: Stripping isn’t so wild anymore–it’s kid stuff.
Of course, for many girls who buy it, stripper-inspired fare isn’t actually about disrobing in public or even having sex but about cultivating what writer and sexpert Susie Bright calls “the essence of titillation,” a coy yet brazen, look-but-don’t-touch sexual persona. “This is very appealing to the young crowd, the virgins, the pre-orgasmic, who want to flaunt and test their sexuality without actually having to do the deed,” says Bright. Along with marketing executives promoting their goods, many adolescents embrace these products as a harmless and fun way to wield sexual power, defending their right to express themselves through “Porn Star” T-shirts and “Hot Buns” hot pants, and dismissing those who object as dour, repressed.