Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Strip Tease

"Co-ed strips for her honors thesis, gets a B", shouts the CNN headline. No link to a story though, just a video pop-up (it's java, so I don't know how to permalink it). Stripping, of course, is too titilating not to do the whole video story. I had to dig quite a bit to find the actual story, which is here. That news station, by the way, filed it under "irresistible headlines."

The tenor of this story is obviously one of "crazy academics gone wild." Stripping? And she got a B? How dare they? Strippers should chastised for their sluttish ways, not encouraged in their sin with passing grades.

But honestly? Lay off. As her professor said, this is an important topic, and if someone is willing to do it, all power to them:
Her experience with customers and her fellow workers was guided and graded by professor Shireen Rajaram.

"I think it's a very worthwhile topic for us to look at," Rajaram said.

Rajaram applauded her student's courage. She said only through this kind of first-hand account can sociologists identify real issues and dispel stereotypes.

"I mean, it's a huge industry and so it's important for us as socio-anthropologists to shed light on the issues, especially the social injustices," Rajaram said.

Absolutely. Academic interest in this field is perfectly legitimate, and there is nothing qualitatively different her choosing this form of immersion study than anything else. I suspect that this thesis probably is significantly more likely to yield actual novel, useful insights than most undergraduate work, for the very reason that the topic is so stigmatized.


PG said...

We're still getting called "co-eds"? I guess the folks at CNN are under the impression that same-sex education continues to be the norm...

The story actually has a nice media combination of "crazy (liberal) academics" and "college girls gone wild!" They're crazy liberals for giving her a grade on something other than readin, writing and 'rithmatic, and she's a College Girl taking her clothes off. How could CNN resist? Expect this to be on O'Reilly, with repeated background video of random strippers while he rails against moral degeneracy.

My only doubt is that this isn't as novel as you seem to think. Gloria Steinam was a Playboy bunny, professor Katherine Frank wrote _G-Strings and Sympathy: Strip Club Regulars and Male Desire_ based on personal experience as a dancer.

David Schraub said...

I'm still guessing its more novel than your average undergrad thesis. And I can't wait to see Bill O'Reilly go off on this (ugh).

Anonymous said...

god bless higher education :)