Yesterday, news hit that state Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) is proposing a bill that would require dancers at strip clubs to be licensed to perform.Â As Texas Monthly‘s Ross Dubois explains: “The bill, if passed, would require a performer at a ‘sexually-oriented business’ to be certified in much the same way as a bartender is with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, or in the same way that a restaurant employee must have a state-issued food handlers’ permit.” Since she has written smartly in the past about the “pole tax” and would be directly affected by the proposed bill, I contacted my internet acquaintance Bubbles Burbujas, aka @StripperTweets. Here are her thoughts:
Zedler’s idea is half-baked; he’s already backpedaled on workers (and he would include all employees of sexually oriented businesses, like clerks at adult bookstores, in this bill) having to display their legal names while on the job. As a small business owner in Texas–like almost all dancers in the state, I am classified as an independent contractor–I see this as simply another way that the socially conservative right chooses to selectively obstruct the operation of legal businesses they find objectionable. I don’t see how it would achieve its supposed objective of ensuring dancers aren’t victims of trafficking any better than the practice already in place when clubs hire dancers and require ID and Social Security cards. Does Zedler think that pimps can’t get their girls to get licenses? It’s also supremely insulting that he thinks he can require me to take an STD test for my job.
Zedler has come out and said his primary goal is to discourage women from entering the business. To do that, his time would be better spent providing them with more options, via better access to education, job training and placement, healthcare and childcare. Instead he’s trying to limit one of the options available to them based on his conservative worldview, making it plain that his interest is in controlling the actions of women and what they do with their bodies rather than protecting them from harm.