Ever since the Canadian government decided it was going to put the kibosh on foreign workers coming to this country to fulfill their dreams of taking off their clothes for money, the Canadian press has been abuzz with dark fears that strip club owners will turn their prurient gazes at Canada’s innocent home-grown youth.
Things really took off this week when the BC government issued a memo warning universities that adult entertainment recruiters might be preying on young west coast women. Breathless headlines followed, like this gem from The Globe and Mail about recruiters on the “prowl.”
The whole thing, is of course, a tempest in D cup, but these days our national pastime seems to be tut-tutting at the perceived imperfections of others. Our Victorian founders would have been proud.
Why shouldn’t we be worried? For one thing, the moral panic over young strippers is insulting to Canadian women because it presupposes that these students are so naive as to have no idea what they might be getting themselves into. As if poor Megan and Jennifer (now renamed Roxy and Sindy) are turning up on their first night and saying, “Wait, we have to do WHAT?!”
But worse still is the barely concealed prudery that still links sexual excitement itself with immorality. Campus opponents of the industry can’t come right out and say it, and so they hide their puritanism beneath vague platitudes. Thus one administrator suggests the industry would not be “a good fit.”
Others say their concern is over “safety” of the job, though I have never heard such objections raised when it comes to the police recruiting on campus, never mind the military. Then there’s my personal favourite, it’s not necessary. God save us from a world where we can only do what’s necessary!
Of course, the adult entertainment industry, like all industry, should follow all applicable laws, and no one should be bullied into a job they don’t want. But that applies to all lines of work. Let’s make sure that everyone in every job is making a free choice, and leave the prim moralizing out of it.
Todd Pettigrew is an associate professor of English at Cape Breton University.