Inside the Lives of Exotic Dancers

    Bernadette Barton takes us inside countless strip bars and clubs, from upscale to back road as well as those that specialize in lap dancing, table dancing, topless only, and peep shows, to reveal the startling lives of exotic dancers.

    Originally published in 2006, the product of years of first-hand research in strip clubs around the country, Stripped is a classic portrait of what it’s like for those who choose to strip as a profession. Barton explores why women begin stripping, the initial excitement and financial rewards of the work, the dangers of the life—namely, drugs and prostitution—and, inevitably, the difficulties in staying in the business over time, especially for their relationships, sexuality and self-esteem.


    In Pray the Gay Away, Bernadette Barton argues that conventions of small town life, rules which govern Southern manners, and the power wielded by Christian institutions serve as a foundation for both passive and active homophobia in the Bible Belt.



Scholarly Publications


"How Like Perceives Like: Gay People on ‘Gaydar.’” October 2015. Journal of Homosexuality, 62:12: 1615–1637 (DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2015.109120700).

"My Auto/Ethnographic Dilemma – Who Owns the Story?" September 2011, Qualitative Sociology, 34:3: 431-445.

"1CROSS + 3NAILS = 4GVN: Compulsory Christianity and Homosexuality in the Bible Belt Panopticon," April 2011, Feminist Formations, 23:1: 70-93.

"Spirituality and Stripping: Exotic Dancers Narrate the Body Ekstasis," with Constance L. Hardesty, Spring 2010, Symbolic Interaction, 33:2:280-296.

"'Abomination' – Life as a Bible Belt Gay," April 2010, Journal of Homosexuality, 57:4: 465-484.

"Managing the Toll of the Sex Industry: Boundary Setting Among Exotic Dancers," October 2007, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 36:5:571-596.

"Dancing on the Mobius Strip: Challenging the Sex War Paradigm," October 2002, Gender & Society, 16: 5: 585-602.

"Queer Desire in the Sex Industry," Fall 2001, Sexuality & Culture, 5:4:3-27


Trade Publications


MSU prof says Bible Belt gays learn to tiptoe through moral minefield,” September 13, 2015, opinion-editorial, Lexington Herald-Leader.

“Young and Gay in the Bible Belt: ‘My Mom Came at Me with a Butcher Knife!’”  AlterNet,!%27/

“Naked Truth: Reality and Fantasy are (Stripper) Poles Apart,” July/August 2008, On the Issues Magazine,

“Successfully Stripped: Stripped of Self-Worth,” June 2007, NW Women’s Journal.

“Outrage over article about strippers misdirected” opinion editorial published in the Lexington Herald-Leader, May 22, 2006.