Attention all strippers, SW-ers and allies. I’m Jennifer Summer Ashley, a lawyer, and a stripper @schwiftystripper and @jennifersummerashley – and I’m calling for action.
On October 29, International Internet Day, many of you joined @everybodyvisible in asking Instagram for:
“Clear guidelines, equally-applied ‘community standards’, right of appeal, and an urgent review into algorithmic bias disproportionately affecting the visibility of women & femme-presenting people, LGBTQIA folx, people of color, sex workers, dancers, athletes, fitness fans, artists, photographers & body-positive Instagram users.”
On that same day, @stripperwithacamera was deleted. This account is run by my stripper sister, @the.nicky.ninedoors and the last two photos accompanying this post were taken for her Stripper With A Camera project. In the almost three decades since I started dancing and almost one decade since I started stripping, these are my favourite photos of me on stage. This is partly because Nicky is a phenomenal photographer, but also because these photos form part of a larger narrative.
Stripper With A Camera is an ethnographic record of our identity curated by a member of our community. The photos offer a primary source of authenticity that outsiders to the industry do not have the right or ability to portray. The oppressive, discriminatory censorship EveryBODYVisible is fighting and that led to the deletion of Stripper With A Camera deprives us of agency in documenting our history and erases our voices from the public sphere.
As a stripper/lawyer/human, I have stood on either side of privilege while interacting with people from all facets of society. My experiences confirm that, as is expected of hegemony, power structures maintaining the status quo are pervasive and pernicious. Marginalized voices are habitually denied standing, visibility and respect. This attitude of alienation exacerbates disadvantage and stigma already faced by underprivileged groups and normalizes their exclusion from realms of discourse and policies that shape their lives.
‘However, the balance of power is not invincible. We are responsible for demanding better. This is the grassroots uprising, the participatory democracy and the critical pedagogy through which we are taught to believe in our collective empowerment. In this spirit, I am asking you to accomplish the following two action items:
1. Support @everyBODYVisible. Follow them, like/share their posts, bring awareness to their campaign.
2. Ask Instagram to reinstate @stripperwithacamera. Go to Profile -> Settings -> Help -> Report a Problem -> Something Isn’t Working and say, “Please reinstate @stripperwithacamera. This account was wrongfully deleted.”
Thank you all so much for your time and attention, and thank you @everybodyvisible for reaching out to me and including me in your mission.
In solidarity with @everybodyvisible, @stripperwithacamera and all the other voices being blocked, banned and otherwise limited, I am tagging these Instagram chiefs:
WORDS: Jennifer Summer Ashley @schwiftystripper @jennifersummerashley
Photos 1 & 2: @jchanphoto
Photo 3: @aerialphysiquephotos
Photos 4 and 5: @the.nicky.ninedoors / @stripperwithacamera / @str1pperwithacamera