Monday, December 17, 2012

Women strip for Christmas toy donations, but one charity refuses to accept them

CBC reports that Ottawa "Gentlemen's Club" Barefax is letting its performers accept toy donations as payment for table dances.

It's hardly the first time this kind of charity drive has happened. The Admiral Theatre, in Chicago, has been doing it for years. But what was interesting about this story was the question of whether strippers are morally acceptable benefactors to kids.

The Debra Dynes Family House, which provides support to low-income families in Ottawa, pulled out of the program after being contacted by a reporter. The CBC article states that the Ottawa Salvation Army did not reply to questions about their involvement. (The Sally Ann runs the biggest local toy drive, Toy Mountain.)

But what is the real problem here? It might be the uncomfortable connection it makes between the sex industry and young children. Or perhaps its a distaste for the perceived exploitation of the stripping business. Or they might just be grossed out by the idea of the toys having been handled by naked women and the men who pay them to give informal gynaecology classes.

While the PR opportunity for the club is obvious, I think the individual dancers really do just want to help kids. Many of them, inevitably, are moms themselves. And offstage, they are just members of the community who want to feel the spirit of Christmas.

A Barefax dancer with the stage name Melina told the CBC, "When they asked me to do this I thought it was a really good idea because there’s a lot of children who have nothing. Just because it’s a strip club doesn’t mean that we’re mean people and we can’t do any good."

Here's the CBC TV report:

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