In a system that values them only as labor, these workers retain their humanity and their complexity. It’s the only thing that sets them aside from their robot competitors, which the filmmakers invoke in the movie’s sobering final scenes.
The word “stripper” does not define me. The work I do does not determine whether or not I will be treated as someone’s daughter, or sister, or mother. I am these things regardless of what I do, and that can never be forgotten.
Indeed, the long history of sexual use regulation in Minneapolis demonstrates a preoccupation with morality and real estate. What we haven’t seen enough of are regulations that focus on the workers themselves and attempt to address labor issues like workplace conditions, fair wages, and workers’ health and well-being. Regulation and reality clearly don’t line up, at least not from a labor perspective. Individuals in positions of power would do well to listen to those for whom erotic dancing is a career and who are most directly affected by adult entertainment ordinances.