This post contains images that are NSFW
Meet Jacqueline Frances, also known as Jacq the Stripper, is an Ontario-born author, world-traveling entertainer, and comedian turning the tables on the stigma of stripping and the double standards imposed on sex workers. Her new book The Beaver Show is a crass yet inspiring saga of learning invaluable life lessons ranging from subjects such as twerking and compassion. It’s funny, feminist, and with your help, coming to a town near you!
I got to talk to Jacq about her upcoming tour, sex positivity, her frustrations with the laws regarding sex work, and TMI questions you’ve always wondered but were to afraid to ask.
AfterEllen.com: Where did your stripper name come from?
Jacqueline Frances: Jacq the Stripper isn’t my stripper stage name. I use generic, non-threatening girl-next-door names at work like Holly, Anna or Heather when I’m hustling. Everyone calls me Jacq, and well, stripping is my job. So Jacq the Stripper just sort of made sense. Plus I have a thing for puns.
AE: Where have you stripped?
JF: Sydney, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Alberta, Las Vegas, New Mexico, South Carolina and New York.
AE: What do you want our readers to know about sex positivity?
JF: Sexuality is very personal. It means different things to different people. Ultimately, if someone’s pursuit of getting off does not infringe on someone else’s pursuit of happiness. Chill. Sometimes being sex-positive means shutting up. You don’t have to have an opinion on everyone else’s kinks.
AE: How do you feel about the laws regarding sex workers?
JF: I think the laws in the US and Canada are awful and they create more problems than they aim to solve. Sex work needs to be legalized so it can be regulated. All of these religious zealots barking about how sex work and human trafficking are one in the same are ignorant. Trafficking is slavery. Sex work is work. Slavery is not work and work is not slavery.
Photo Credit: Jessie Adler
AE: What are the misconceptions about strippers?
JF: That we’re sad. Patriarchy drives this narrative that a woman using her body in a way that benefits from the box that the patriarchal system put us in must make us sad. That a woman doing what she wants with her body is a goddamn travesty. Strippers aren’t sad that men are horny pigs most of the time. We revel in it because it means we can put food on the table. We aren’t sad that we’re enterprise mega-babes. We are, however, furious that we get shat on for being suppliers while the demanders are pardoned with statements like “Boys will be boys.”
AE: Is there a difference between sex workers and strippers?
JF: Stripping is sex work, it’s just not full-service sex work. Every sex worker has different boundaries. Because stripping is legal, the boundaries are clearly defined for us by state laws. Like, “no sex,” “no touching,” “no nipples showing,” etc. But sex workers who offer more services in underground environments have different ones. I can’t speak to their boundaries, specifically. I’ve always worked in a strip club where they set the rules for us. Sex work is consenting adults having fun for a nominal fee.
AE: How has being a stripper built up your self-respect/self-esteem?
JF: Stripping is where I really started to understand pussy power. It’s so fucking real. As a teenager, I was part of that demographic that felt embarrassment and shame because the vagina was rarely depicted as something ‘powerful’ in pop culture. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I heard the word “pussy” preceded with “loose,” “smelly,” “hairy,” “flappy” and all with these really pejorative tones. Never did I hear “beautiful,” “powerful,” “life-giving,” “delicious”… Pussy shame is practically a default setting for teenage girls. I started stripping at 23. On my first day this guy literally just wanted to stare at my vagina. At first I was really uncomfortable, but then I felt immensely empowered! Like, FUCK YEAH MY VAGINA IS DOPE. Weird that an old dude with money was what validated it, but let’s be real: money is validating. So is the look of someone who turns into a drooling invalid when you flash them your gash.