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Neon Girls: A Stripper's Education in Protest and Power

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A riveting true story of a young woman’s days stripping in grunge-era San Francisco where a radical group of dancers banded together to unionize and run the club on their own terms. When graduate student Jenny Worley needed a fast way to earn more money, she found herself at the door of the Lusty Lady Theater in San Francisco, auditioning on a stage surrounded by mirrors, A riveting true story of a young woman’s days stripping in grunge-era San Francisco where a radical group of dancers banded together to unionize and run the club on their own terms. When graduate student Jenny Worley needed a fast way to earn more money, she found herself at the door of the Lusty Lady Theater in San Francisco, auditioning on a stage surrounded by mirrors, in platform heels, and not much else. So began Jenny’s career as a stripper strutting the peepshow stage as her alter-ego “Polly” alongside women called Octopussy and Amnesia. But this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill strip club—it was a peepshow populated by free-thinking women who talked feminist theory and swapped radical zines like lipstick. As management’s discriminatory practices and the rise of hidden cameras stir up tension among the dancers, Jenny rallies them to demand change. Together, they organize the first strippers’ union in the world and risk it all to take over the club and run it as a co-operative. Refusing to be treated as sex objects or disposable labor, they become instead the rulers of their kingdom. Jenny’s elation over the Lusty Lady’s revolution is tempered by her evolving understanding of the toll dancing has taken on her. When she finally hangs up her heels for good to finish her Ph.D., neither Jenny nor San Francisco are the same—but she and the cadre of wild, beautiful, brave women who run the Lusty Lady come out on top despite it all.  A first-hand account as only an insider could tell it, Neon Girls paints a vivid picture of a bygone San Francisco and a fiercely feminist world within the sex industry, asking sharp questions about what keeps women from fighting for their rights, who benefits from capitalizing on desire, and how we can change entrenched systems of power.  


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A riveting true story of a young woman’s days stripping in grunge-era San Francisco where a radical group of dancers banded together to unionize and run the club on their own terms. When graduate student Jenny Worley needed a fast way to earn more money, she found herself at the door of the Lusty Lady Theater in San Francisco, auditioning on a stage surrounded by mirrors, A riveting true story of a young woman’s days stripping in grunge-era San Francisco where a radical group of dancers banded together to unionize and run the club on their own terms. When graduate student Jenny Worley needed a fast way to earn more money, she found herself at the door of the Lusty Lady Theater in San Francisco, auditioning on a stage surrounded by mirrors, in platform heels, and not much else. So began Jenny’s career as a stripper strutting the peepshow stage as her alter-ego “Polly” alongside women called Octopussy and Amnesia. But this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill strip club—it was a peepshow populated by free-thinking women who talked feminist theory and swapped radical zines like lipstick. As management’s discriminatory practices and the rise of hidden cameras stir up tension among the dancers, Jenny rallies them to demand change. Together, they organize the first strippers’ union in the world and risk it all to take over the club and run it as a co-operative. Refusing to be treated as sex objects or disposable labor, they become instead the rulers of their kingdom. Jenny’s elation over the Lusty Lady’s revolution is tempered by her evolving understanding of the toll dancing has taken on her. When she finally hangs up her heels for good to finish her Ph.D., neither Jenny nor San Francisco are the same—but she and the cadre of wild, beautiful, brave women who run the Lusty Lady come out on top despite it all.  A first-hand account as only an insider could tell it, Neon Girls paints a vivid picture of a bygone San Francisco and a fiercely feminist world within the sex industry, asking sharp questions about what keeps women from fighting for their rights, who benefits from capitalizing on desire, and how we can change entrenched systems of power.  

30 review for Neon Girls: A Stripper's Education in Protest and Power

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    When I read the synopsis—a story about a stripper fighting for unionization while getting her PhD in the 1990s—I was intrigued. I really enjoyed so much about this book. I learned a lot about the sex industry but so much more about the people participating in it, especially Worley. I loved that Worley told it like it was, her doubts and feelings, her experiences, her relationships with coworkers. Even the details of code words and phone lists were included. But I loved that at its heart this was When I read the synopsis—a story about a stripper fighting for unionization while getting her PhD in the 1990s—I was intrigued. I really enjoyed so much about this book. I learned a lot about the sex industry but so much more about the people participating in it, especially Worley. I loved that Worley told it like it was, her doubts and feelings, her experiences, her relationships with coworkers. Even the details of code words and phone lists were included. But I loved that at its heart this was a story of feminism and empowerment. I highly recommend picking this one up if you’re a nonfiction/memoir fan. (I received an advanced copy in exchange for my review.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brandy {The Review Booth}

    This book is a good hard look at a specific group of workers the general populace tends to look down upon (to put it mildly). I’ll be honest, the demand for people in these types of positions will more than likely NEVER cease. I honestly cannot applaud Jennifer more for all she accomplished during her nearly ten years as a stripper all the while going to school in hopes to finally achieve her Ph. D. Reading a different angle of the sex industry than my first plunge into it (How to Make Love Like This book is a good hard look at a specific group of workers the general populace tends to look down upon (to put it mildly). I’ll be honest, the demand for people in these types of positions will more than likely NEVER cease. I honestly cannot applaud Jennifer more for all she accomplished during her nearly ten years as a stripper all the while going to school in hopes to finally achieve her Ph. D. Reading a different angle of the sex industry than my first plunge into it (How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale) was no less enlightening. "It was wearing, though, having to assert, again and again, my own humanity, to prove myself a person dozens or scores of times each shift. It sometimes seemed as if all the large and small degradations of existing while female in this world had been simmered and reduced to a thick, too strong, too sour elixir that fed us in a steady drip, drip, drip." How is it so easy for society to deem others beneath them, dismiss them as unintelligent, and exploit them for personal/business gain? The ladies employed by the Lusty in Jennifer’s history are a brilliant reminder as bright as neon itself that society should really know better about stuffing people into conveniently labeled boxes. I found the dynamics of the Lusty versus Chez Paree interesting – I’ll admit that all I’ve ever heard about are businesses like Chez Paree where the women have little to no control. "I hated the idea that men I didn’t know or trust now had records of the work I did, that they could carry Polly, naked and unawares, from the safe refuge that had birthed and nurtured her, into that other world where I had to live my life. Would others meet her out there? My professors, students, college friends, people back home? Polly was mine, and she belonged in here, not out there." Neon Girls: A Stripper’s Education in Protest and Power did an amazing job at highlighting the industry for both sides of the coin – exploitation, and empowerment. I highly recommend to readers who find memoirs/autobiographies, sexuality, history of the sex industry, protests, reform, and feminism interesting topics. I would like to thank Harper Perennial and Jennifer Worley for this eye-opening book – the courage and relationships of the women recounted in this book is truly something special.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rhiannon Johnson

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review In one of my college classes, The Commodification of Gender, we studied the unionization of San Francisco’s Lusty Lady, learning how the women fought back against their management (unfair rules, hidden cameras in the dressing room, etc) to create the world’s first ever strippers’ union. We studied their legal proceedings, magazine features, and interviews. Jennifer Worley’s first hand account of her experience in t I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review In one of my college classes, The Commodification of Gender, we studied the unionization of San Francisco’s Lusty Lady, learning how the women fought back against their management (unfair rules, hidden cameras in the dressing room, etc) to create the world’s first ever strippers’ union. We studied their legal proceedings, magazine features, and interviews. Jennifer Worley’s first hand account of her experience in the unionization gave me an even greater insight into this topic, movement, and achievement. A must-read for anyone interested in the topics of gender, the sex industry, sex workers, feminism, capitalism, classism, and power dynamics. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    How is everyone not talking about this amazing memoir!? I was fascinated by Neon Girls and finished this in a day! I loved reading about the author’s changing feelings along her experience in the sex industry, and how there really wasn’t a conclusion regarding if stripping is empowering or exploitative. Jennifer Worley does a wonderful job showing examples of situations where it really was both (empowering and exploitative), and how many people felt one way or the other due to the purpose/nature How is everyone not talking about this amazing memoir!? I was fascinated by Neon Girls and finished this in a day! I loved reading about the author’s changing feelings along her experience in the sex industry, and how there really wasn’t a conclusion regarding if stripping is empowering or exploitative. Jennifer Worley does a wonderful job showing examples of situations where it really was both (empowering and exploitative), and how many people felt one way or the other due to the purpose/nature of their work versus how powerful they felt in the moment. I loved the way these beautiful women bonded together to fight back for change and sex workers’ rights. The author explains and exposes stage rules, hiring practices, discrimination, and more. Neon Girls is fascinating, riveting, feminist, and inspiring, offering an inside look into an industry that is rarely seen. Thank you so much to Harper Perennial for my gifted copy of this amazing book! Release date 6/9/2020

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stacy40pages

    This book!! This book was very special to me. I worked at a strip club in my early-mid 20’s and the book brought back so many great memories (scroll for a pic of me in those days); the female comradery between waitresses and dancers, the empowerment, fun times, and the friendships built. Jennifer Worley not only had experience as a dancer, but she did her graduate work on the industry. This book was jam packed of the real life experience, as well as the history and background of burlesque and st This book!! This book was very special to me. I worked at a strip club in my early-mid 20’s and the book brought back so many great memories (scroll for a pic of me in those days); the female comradery between waitresses and dancers, the empowerment, fun times, and the friendships built. Jennifer Worley not only had experience as a dancer, but she did her graduate work on the industry. This book was jam packed of the real life experience, as well as the history and background of burlesque and strip clubs. I never thought that I’d gain my first understanding of unions and union negotiations through a book about strippers, but there it is! “I was learning a lot more at Lusty than just the ins and outs of hair removal and how to apply lip liner. I was also learning about solidarity among women and how much power we could wield by standing together “

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Thanks to Harper Perennial for an advance copy for honest review. This memoir is fascinating, about the author's time working at San Francisco's Lusty Lady and her experiences with organizing the dancers into a union to negotiate for better and more equitable working conditions, and eventually leading the charge to become a worker-owned club. As salacious as this sounds like it could be, the subtitle of "a stripper's education in protest and power" is much more accurate- it shows the author growi Thanks to Harper Perennial for an advance copy for honest review. This memoir is fascinating, about the author's time working at San Francisco's Lusty Lady and her experiences with organizing the dancers into a union to negotiate for better and more equitable working conditions, and eventually leading the charge to become a worker-owned club. As salacious as this sounds like it could be, the subtitle of "a stripper's education in protest and power" is much more accurate- it shows the author growing and learning throughout her years at the club and becoming an organizer while vividly capturing a time and place.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Raven Graham

    "Two-four-six-eight, don't go here to masturbate." This has to be one the best, if not the funniest, picketing chants I have ever heard. Neon Girls is based off of the author's experiences as a stripper in the mid-1990s in San Francisco, CA. Her account demonstrates the convergence of feminism, sex, and powers of organized labor. Worley did a fantastic job of weaving the narrative around the individuals working at the Lusty Lady, their camaraderie, and their perseverance to create a safer, more i "Two-four-six-eight, don't go here to masturbate." This has to be one the best, if not the funniest, picketing chants I have ever heard. Neon Girls is based off of the author's experiences as a stripper in the mid-1990s in San Francisco, CA. Her account demonstrates the convergence of feminism, sex, and powers of organized labor. Worley did a fantastic job of weaving the narrative around the individuals working at the Lusty Lady, their camaraderie, and their perseverance to create a safer, more inclusive workplace environment. The idea that the dancers were being filmed without their knowledge and/consent never crossed my mind. I also appreciated Worley's mental tug-of-war she experienced during and after her dancing career. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in memoirs or wants the explore the history of San Fran's sex industry. I'm looking forward to watching her documentary.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Anderson

    Thank you Harper Perennial for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely loved this memoir. I had a feeling that I would when I read the synopsis. Yes, it's about strippers, but it's also about feminists and workers rights. This was about unionizing a strip club. There was also a bit of history of the trade. Burlesque dancers were unionized along with other entertainers and stage actors in the early 20th century. I had no idea. Along with learning a lot, this book h Thank you Harper Perennial for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely loved this memoir. I had a feeling that I would when I read the synopsis. Yes, it's about strippers, but it's also about feminists and workers rights. This was about unionizing a strip club. There was also a bit of history of the trade. Burlesque dancers were unionized along with other entertainers and stage actors in the early 20th century. I had no idea. Along with learning a lot, this book had an easy flow and quite a bit of humour. Worley was able to tell her story, that was at times quite serious, in a very entertaining way. If this memoir was turned into a film or mini series, I would 100% watch it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mariane

    Fun quick read on stripping and unionizing in 90s San Francisco!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Moushumi Ghose

    I LOVED this book. I couldn't put it down. As someone who also lived in San Francisco in the early 90's, steeped in it's queer, sex-positive, political culture this book really took me back. From the feminist conundrum that was so prevalent in the 90's- is sex work empowering or does it support the patriarchy? (both, of course, its highly nuanced which this book explores quite nicely) to the dyke culture, to the fringe culture utopia that was SF in the 90's (only those who lived there could know I LOVED this book. I couldn't put it down. As someone who also lived in San Francisco in the early 90's, steeped in it's queer, sex-positive, political culture this book really took me back. From the feminist conundrum that was so prevalent in the 90's- is sex work empowering or does it support the patriarchy? (both, of course, its highly nuanced which this book explores quite nicely) to the dyke culture, to the fringe culture utopia that was SF in the 90's (only those who lived there could know this was truly a bubble we lived in), to living in converted Victorians, this book described it all to well. I am also writing a SF story and am searching for books which support that journey and voice of life in SF, and this one really told the tale better than any I have come across thus far. Jennifer really did an amazing job. Thank you

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Excellent read About 10 pages in I realized I had read this book ages ago, but still couldn't put it down. Such a wonderful account of the unionization and sex worker takeover of the Lusty Lady in SF. Definitely recommend this little gem! Excellent read About 10 pages in I realized I had read this book ages ago, but still couldn't put it down. Such a wonderful account of the unionization and sex worker takeover of the Lusty Lady in SF. Definitely recommend this little gem!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    An interesting first person account of the unionization of a famous strip club in San Francisco. I appreciated the descriptions of mid-90s San Francisco and the little discussed sex industry scene that existed there prior to the dot com boom, which basically drove out a lot of classic businesses in the area. The author talks about her first encounter with being an exotic dancer and her experiences in unionizing this club. Themes of labor unions, feminism, the rights of sex workers, and capitalis An interesting first person account of the unionization of a famous strip club in San Francisco. I appreciated the descriptions of mid-90s San Francisco and the little discussed sex industry scene that existed there prior to the dot com boom, which basically drove out a lot of classic businesses in the area. The author talks about her first encounter with being an exotic dancer and her experiences in unionizing this club. Themes of labor unions, feminism, the rights of sex workers, and capitalism are discussed throughout this narrative. I recommend this book to people interested in reading about the history of labor practices within the sex industry, something that deserves attention.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jen LF

    This book was truly outstanding - perhaps the best book I've read all year. Jenny truly makes the world of the Lusty Lady come to life, and expertly combines memoir with an analysis of the issues facing sex workers. It made me think, laugh, and even cry a little. I can't say enough good things about it. This book was truly outstanding - perhaps the best book I've read all year. Jenny truly makes the world of the Lusty Lady come to life, and expertly combines memoir with an analysis of the issues facing sex workers. It made me think, laugh, and even cry a little. I can't say enough good things about it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Megan (readingretriever)

    Neon Girls Rating: 4/5 After reading Neon Girls, I have a new found respect for workers in the sex industry. In my own ignorance, I have judged strippers based on their job title alone. In Neon Girls, Worley does a fantastic job of showing that these woman are so much more than their profession. Based on her own experiences, Worley showcases how the woman she performed, and then unionized with, are some of the most bad-ass, feminist, and driven chicks out there! Neon Girls follows the women of The Neon Girls Rating: 4/5 After reading Neon Girls, I have a new found respect for workers in the sex industry. In my own ignorance, I have judged strippers based on their job title alone. In Neon Girls, Worley does a fantastic job of showing that these woman are so much more than their profession. Based on her own experiences, Worley showcases how the woman she performed, and then unionized with, are some of the most bad-ass, feminist, and driven chicks out there! Neon Girls follows the women of The Lusty Lady Theater as they join together to fight for a safe and fair workspace. I loved how much of a family the ladies were and how everyone banded together against the blatant racial discrimination and usage of hidden cameras in the workplace. It's remarkable what this group ended up doing and a very cool story! Besides the family dynamic and the ladies totally sticking it to the man, I also enjoyed learning about the evolution of the adult entertainment industry in the 1990s/2000s, the behind-the-scene politics at play in strip clubs, and the LGQBT culture in San Francisco. Worley and many of her coworkers are lesbians and it was interesting to read about San Francisco from their perspective given that I can only recall reading about San Francisco from a gay male perspective. Overall, Neon Girls has a strong feminist message and is a great read for Pride Month! Thank you to Harper Perennial for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nandika | Booktrovertgirl

    This was a fascinating book to read. I went into the book not expecting much, thinking it would just be a behind-the-scenes of the stripping industry. What I didn't expect was how well the topics of feminism plus the labor rights were explored. I think that the book was a good mixture of the author's emotions and the matter-of-fact activities of a strip club. The tug of war in the author's mind about being a stripper while being a feminist and how that intersected was interesting to read. Though This was a fascinating book to read. I went into the book not expecting much, thinking it would just be a behind-the-scenes of the stripping industry. What I didn't expect was how well the topics of feminism plus the labor rights were explored. I think that the book was a good mixture of the author's emotions and the matter-of-fact activities of a strip club. The tug of war in the author's mind about being a stripper while being a feminist and how that intersected was interesting to read. Though I think I would have enjoyed more emotional exploration, that's just a personal preference and not a slight against the book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Jennifer encompasses huge ideas—feminism, sexuality, queer culture, power dynamics, union organizing, the labor movement, sex work, capitalism—into a fascinating memoir. I loved this book. While it has a clear point of view, I appreciated that there were no easy answers to any of the questions raised. It made me think and is also just a hell of a great (true!) story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    This book is electric and I loved it!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Really interesting story. I liked that there was no grand conclusion (e.g. is stripping empowering or exploitative?), just a series of intelligent reflections as the author adjusted to stripping, made friends with the other dancers, and organized a union. It's a complicated situation, and it worked well to just tell it as a story, one that included the various feelings and analyses she had along the way. Really interesting story. I liked that there was no grand conclusion (e.g. is stripping empowering or exploitative?), just a series of intelligent reflections as the author adjusted to stripping, made friends with the other dancers, and organized a union. It's a complicated situation, and it worked well to just tell it as a story, one that included the various feelings and analyses she had along the way.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    Thank you to the publisher for my copy, all opinions are my own. This book is absolutely fascinating - with its in depth, insiders view of the stripping and sex work scene of 90's San Francisco. I was completely taken in by this book, the way Jennifer spins the tale of her foray into being a Lusty Lady stripper for years, the cast of colorful and delightfully fun characters surrounding her and the gritty determination of that group of people to create a better working situation for themselves and Thank you to the publisher for my copy, all opinions are my own. This book is absolutely fascinating - with its in depth, insiders view of the stripping and sex work scene of 90's San Francisco. I was completely taken in by this book, the way Jennifer spins the tale of her foray into being a Lusty Lady stripper for years, the cast of colorful and delightfully fun characters surrounding her and the gritty determination of that group of people to create a better working situation for themselves and each other. This little book packs a punch and is worth adding to your autumn TBR!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Celeste

    Sex work is real work. This is a really entertaining and informative read. It follows the author in her work at a peep show in San Francisco while getting her master's degree, and her fellow strippers work to become one of the first sex worker's unions in the US. It's also a fun dive into the queer drama of an early 2000s SF before it got taken over the tech-bro's. Sex work is real work. This is a really entertaining and informative read. It follows the author in her work at a peep show in San Francisco while getting her master's degree, and her fellow strippers work to become one of the first sex worker's unions in the US. It's also a fun dive into the queer drama of an early 2000s SF before it got taken over the tech-bro's.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    More like a 3.5. Forgot what drew me to the book but I was curious to read up on Worley's account of becoming a stripper and then helping to unionize strippers in San Francisco while working through graduate school. This kind of work is not unusual at all for students so I was curious to see what she had to say. I am pleased to say that the advertising that said it was about her work as both a stripper and helping to unionize are correct. We learn how Worley decides to go into stripping, some of More like a 3.5. Forgot what drew me to the book but I was curious to read up on Worley's account of becoming a stripper and then helping to unionize strippers in San Francisco while working through graduate school. This kind of work is not unusual at all for students so I was curious to see what she had to say. I am pleased to say that the advertising that said it was about her work as both a stripper and helping to unionize are correct. We learn how Worley decides to go into stripping, some of the preparation, work and how that works (plus some of the pitfuls, the darker aspects of this work, etc.). I was pleasantly surprised to see that it appears Worley worked in places that were perhaps a little more forward than what might have been expected: the women who worked did have some degree of protection with both their colleagues who dance with them and the men assigned to work security, cashiering, etc. Maybe she benefited by luck or other circumstances, but that was nice to see. She then talks about the work done to unionize which I will admit didn't interest me as much. It's not that I don't care, it's just that maneuvering and history was far less interesting but overall I am glad that she succeeded. Overall I think the book did what it set out to do and was properly marketed (instead of overhyping either the stripping or the unionizing). I'm glad Worley took the time to acknowledge the inequities (such as how of course the advertised pay doesn't *quite* work out that way, how it can be more difficult for women of color [Worley's work pretty much focuses on women or those who are femme-presenting, etc.). She also talked about how San Francisco changed from when she started as the tech boom came as she worked. If you're looking for a deeper history on stripping, a more thorough examination of unionizing, etc. this is probably not the text for you. But if you're interested in aspects of this and need a reference or a different perspective or the perspective of one particular person, this would be a good pickup as a reference. As a layperson who has a casual interest in the subject I'd say this was probably just about right without getting too academic or ranty or in the weeds. Borrowed from the library but for the right person it'd definitely make for a good purchase to add to your library.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Permanently_Booked

    I love when a book rips off the stigma surrounding a group or idea and shows a side that most people would never realize exists. As a women, there is a lot to be said about the sexualized side of our gender. Many of us will go our whole lives without embracing or admiring our differences, power and even flaws. Instead we hide ourselves and mentally (or publicly) shun what we think is not ideal. What I loved most about this novel is the raw truth of sexuality, body image and female support in this I love when a book rips off the stigma surrounding a group or idea and shows a side that most people would never realize exists. As a women, there is a lot to be said about the sexualized side of our gender. Many of us will go our whole lives without embracing or admiring our differences, power and even flaws. Instead we hide ourselves and mentally (or publicly) shun what we think is not ideal. What I loved most about this novel is the raw truth of sexuality, body image and female support in this industry. The different backgrounds fighting against prejudices, inequality and favoritism that I would not have thought prevailed in an environment like this but it took root even here. Worley empowered herself and those closest to her to fight for a better work environment and respect all while working towards her PhD. This is an inspiring read that makes you reconsider not only the harsh reality of this line of work but the strength and courage it takes to excel and stay on top. It makes you reexamine yourself as a women and see things a little differently; or at least for me it did. I'd recommend this to readers who enjoy feminist memoirs, women's rights and getting up front and personal with an inspirational author and her accomplishments in a world we don't hear much about. Thank you to Harper Perennial for the finished copy of this novel in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    "This sense that the others were watching gave weight to our effort and I felt obliged to set a hopful example for other dancers, other workers, and other women." • Thoughts ~ This was a moving and interesting deep dive into the authors experience in the sex trade industry. Worley recounts her time as a stripper at the Lady Luster peepshow located in San Francisco in the 90's. Taking the reader through the ups and downs of the job, the toll it takes physical and mentally, the women's fight for unio "This sense that the others were watching gave weight to our effort and I felt obliged to set a hopful example for other dancers, other workers, and other women." • Thoughts ~ This was a moving and interesting deep dive into the authors experience in the sex trade industry. Worley recounts her time as a stripper at the Lady Luster peepshow located in San Francisco in the 90's. Taking the reader through the ups and downs of the job, the toll it takes physical and mentally, the women's fight for unionization and change and then eventually running the club on their own terms was inspiring! At it's core it's a story about female empowerment, of women banding together, taking a stand and refusing to be discriminated against any longer. I enjoyed reading Worley's journey. Her cander and intimacy surrounding the sex trade industry was illuminating! Her resilience and strive for change was heartening and how she eventually said goodbye to it all and came back to her dream of a career in academia was truly uplifting! • Thank You to the publisher for sending me this book opinions are my own. • For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Villanueva

    This book does a great job at stripping (ha) away the sensationalism of sex work and telling a story that is about labor, power, and the deconstruction of power imbalances. Worley also doesn’t play with arbitrary demarcations of what’s sex-positive feminism - she teases apart the intricacies of the worker-customer relationship with surprising objectivity. That being said, I feel like she leans on tropes of exceptionalism for humanizing sex workers - we mostly hear about those with graduate degre This book does a great job at stripping (ha) away the sensationalism of sex work and telling a story that is about labor, power, and the deconstruction of power imbalances. Worley also doesn’t play with arbitrary demarcations of what’s sex-positive feminism - she teases apart the intricacies of the worker-customer relationship with surprising objectivity. That being said, I feel like she leans on tropes of exceptionalism for humanizing sex workers - we mostly hear about those with graduate degrees, and she spends little time discussing any of her colleagues who may have less privilege (with the exception of a bit on the club’s racial discrimination). I am also curious if Worley’s colleagues would give her as much credit as she gives herself.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Anderson-Pagal

    Thank you, Harper Perennial for the copy of Neon Girls in exchange for my honest review. The title is what drew me to this book. I was intrigued by it. To me, strippers always seemed to hold power. Power over their bodies, what they do with it, over the men, amd women, who come to see them dance. I feel like it isn't an anti-feminisit occupation. I really enjoyed Worley's narrative. She wrote beautifully, she was engaging, and she made her points clear. Sex workers should be unionized or have cle Thank you, Harper Perennial for the copy of Neon Girls in exchange for my honest review. The title is what drew me to this book. I was intrigued by it. To me, strippers always seemed to hold power. Power over their bodies, what they do with it, over the men, amd women, who come to see them dance. I feel like it isn't an anti-feminisit occupation. I really enjoyed Worley's narrative. She wrote beautifully, she was engaging, and she made her points clear. Sex workers should be unionized or have clear regulations,it is safer for these men and women. This book was eye opening and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erin Towner

    Feminism! Workers' rights! The exploitation of women! The patriarchy! Internalized misogyny! Go read this book. Jennifer Worley explains the seduction of the sex industry and capitalism and how even activists are human. She investigates complicated emotions, like how empowering being a sexy woman can be and also how humiliating dealing with customers can be. She acknowledges both the good and bad effects from her former profession and represents her co-workers as the intelligent, strong, human pe Feminism! Workers' rights! The exploitation of women! The patriarchy! Internalized misogyny! Go read this book. Jennifer Worley explains the seduction of the sex industry and capitalism and how even activists are human. She investigates complicated emotions, like how empowering being a sexy woman can be and also how humiliating dealing with customers can be. She acknowledges both the good and bad effects from her former profession and represents her co-workers as the intelligent, strong, human people they are. I also enjoyed the Riot Grrrl, punk, and queer history and culture references in this book. In closing, fuck capitalism.

  27. 4 out of 5

    SusanM

    Fascinating account by the author of the years she spent as a member of the Lusty Lady peep show/strip club in San Francisco in the 90s while also working on her PhD. The story is about the sex industry and the exploitation of women, but also about feminism and empowerment. The author and a group of women were able to organize the first strippers's union and then were able to take over the club as a cooperative. Fascinating account by the author of the years she spent as a member of the Lusty Lady peep show/strip club in San Francisco in the 90s while also working on her PhD. The story is about the sex industry and the exploitation of women, but also about feminism and empowerment. The author and a group of women were able to organize the first strippers's union and then were able to take over the club as a cooperative.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shavawn

    4.5 rounded up to 5! This was a wonderful book about a time before the internet was huge and San Francisco was a completely different place. Following the author through her journey from timid stripper to union leader and beyond was such a unique experience and one I think anyone interested in protest organizing should read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ellison

    This shares the author's story of working in the lit industry but not making enough to survive in San Fran. She sees an ad recruiting gals for a local club and goes to see what all it entails. She does an interview and decides to work there. She soon realizes the not easy work arena and the efforts it requires as she slides into becoming her alter ego. Insightful. This shares the author's story of working in the lit industry but not making enough to survive in San Fran. She sees an ad recruiting gals for a local club and goes to see what all it entails. She does an interview and decides to work there. She soon realizes the not easy work arena and the efforts it requires as she slides into becoming her alter ego. Insightful.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I'm not really sure what I was expecting when I started this book, but I was really surprised! Worley strikes a great balance between being new and naive to sex work without casting any sort of judgement on anyone. Learning the ins and outs of unionizing, and the pitfalls of co-owning a co-op strip club was fascinating. I'm not really sure what I was expecting when I started this book, but I was really surprised! Worley strikes a great balance between being new and naive to sex work without casting any sort of judgement on anyone. Learning the ins and outs of unionizing, and the pitfalls of co-owning a co-op strip club was fascinating.

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