Book Review: The Ethical Stripper

“Stigma has a cyclical set of consequences for a person’s life.

Stacey Clare ~ The Ethical Stripper


Forget everything you think you know about strippers

In this powerful book, Stacey Clare, a stripper with over a decade of experience, takes a detailed look at the sex industry – the reality of the work as well as the history of licensing and regulation, feminist themes surrounding sex work, and stigma. Bringing her personal knowledge of the industry to bear, she offers an unapologetic critique and searing indictment of exploitation, and raises the rights of sex workers to the top of the agenda.


The sex industry is one that many of us think we know about. We see so much on television, or mentioned in books that we’ve built up an image of what we think it’s like. No doubt it’s a mix of the glamorous life of Belle du Jour, with hardened criminals and danger thrown in. Yet why is it that something like sex, which is a normal part of life, can be so vilified and misunderstood as soon as money changes hands?

I find the topic fascinating and I’m glad I had the opportunity to discover more. This book has a lot of information. It’s well-researched and thorough, combining facts, legal precedent and history, with personal examples of working in the industry. While it’s interesting, the sheer amount of information makes it quite a slow read. It’s more like a textbook to be digested in small doses, rather than a delight to be devoured quickly.

Although the hard facts do provide additional impact, the personal anecdotes are what makes it credible and raw. This is where readers will feel empathy; this is when they will understand what it’s really like.

At times the author comes across as very angry – rightly so perhaps, due to the nature of the material – but this does make the book less readable and may deter many readers. That said, I was united in my outrage for the workers in the industry, what they have to deal with and what they are still facing. Considering it’s a topic more people should read about, it’s sadly not as accessible as it could be, which is a shame. For those that persevere, there is much to be learned and more still to be fought for.

Passionate, thought-provoking and enlightening, it will sell well. However, it may spend more time sat on bookshelves than being read.

I was provided with a copy by Random Things Tours and Unbound Books. Opinions my own.

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