Political Pole: A Campaign For Workplace Rights Turns Strippers Against Each Other (Willamette Week)


Portland's most upstanding alternative weekly newspaper, The Willamette Week, recently featured a write-up on the saga of dancers visiting Salem, OR to lobby for the "stripper legislation," aka a hotline. Elle (as well as Exotic Magazine cohort Ray McMillin) was quoted for the piece by author Anna Walters. Check it out:

Paris Hoover went to Salem last March to ask lawmakers to watch out for strippers.

The 27-year-old Portland nude dancer traveled to the state Capitol to publicly demand rights. She trekked the halls for six hours, telling the stories of sweltering clubs with no air conditioning and broken poles to nearly a dozen state representatives, including House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D-Eugene).

"Many of the freedoms I was allowed by the law, I wasn’t being allowed by management," Hoover recalls telling lawmakers. "I didn’t become a stripper to be told what to do."

Hoover is one of two dancers who became the face of two "stripper bills" that worked their way through the Legislature last session.

Industry insiders say public concern about the treatment of strippers has always been minimal.

"If you’re going to list the things Portland cares about," says Ray McMillin, a local strip-club DJ for about a decade, "naked women fall somewhere between potholes and black people, but far below the latest food cart or artisan doughnut."

But in April 2014, a group of lobbyists and social workers started a grassroots campaign for new protections.

Hoover and Elle Stanger became the public faces of the campaign, which narrowed to two objectives: creating the hotline and posting workplace rights in clubs.

Yet many dancers remained worried the lobbying effort would result in turning strippers into full-time employees.

You can read the whole article at Willamette Week.

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