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Toxic Cherry aka Dr. Rebecca Slane

Scientist By Day Erotic Dancer By Night

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BVWvNCPIUAAjWWc Scientist By Day Erotic Dancer By Night

Toxic Cherry aka Dr. Rebecca Slane

Ashley Rosemont is a feature columnist for Sssh.com, the web’s original erotic site for women by women. She is a Renaissance woman of many talents, but tries to remain humble in the face of all the curveballs life throws her way. She has been a professional writer for over two decades, and specializes in writing on media, culture, health and sexuality.

The UK newspaper The Daily Mail reports on a woman who took top honors in her science degree at the University of Sunderland, who has shifted her career path ever so slightly. She was a medicinal chemist in a lab coat. But her love of exotic dancing, begun while she was working on her PhD to keep in shape (and maybe even earlier, as she is a former gymnast), eventually took hold and she has become a full time burlesque performer.

“Juggling my pole classes with a full time job was hard work, says Dr. Rebecca Slane, whose stage name is “Toxic Cherry” (maybe there’s some scientific meaning behind that?) She has even opened her own exotic dance school! She has won the UK Professional Pole Cup (the top price in an exotic dance competition), and now teaches over one hundred and fifty students a week. Who says girls can’t excel in the arts and sciences? 

Given the rebirth of burlesque in recent years (a form of exotic dance that usually includes fancy costumes, eclectic music, a “teasing” element to the removal of clothing,  and thematic elements to make performances funny and exciting (in other words, beyond the usual boring strip club fare), are there other women who make such radical career moves?

Well, here’s a gal who now has a very lucrative career as an online striptease artist, who was formerly a porn star. Er, maybe that’s not such a dramatic career change; but at least she can work from home more easily!

As I was researching this article (WARNING: using the word “stripper” in a search engine yields all kinds of interesting results that will keep you busy for hours! Justin Bieber, behave yourself!), I found it was actually much more common for women to move on to different career after starting out as strippers. This makes sense; strippers need to be young and agile (although burlesque queens can perform at virtually any age). I did it myself for a year as soon as I finished graduate school; the money was great, and it was a fun job where I met some very interesting people. And because it was in an area with a lot of colleges, many of the women I worked with were either studying or getting ready to move into specific careers. It’s not necessarily a bad stepping stone, if you enjoy performing (which is the crux of the job).

For example, here is a woman who moved from being a stripper to being a novelist, but even having moved to a new career path, she manages to combine them. She now performs burlesque and gives readings of her books, in Baltimore.

Sometimes being a stripper is one of a number of interesting career choices. The shocking news recently of the death at age 50 of New York performer Maggie Estrep reveals a woman who had a fascinating career including being a go-go dancer, stripper and street poet. She brought attention to the performance form known as slam poetry and is credited by many with being one of its most important pioneers. Estrep also became addicted to heroin, an unfortunate casualty in the performing arts professions, and this may have contributed to her death from a heart attack.

Then there’s performers for whom elements of burlesque and stripping have them walking a fine line in otherwise outrageous stage performances. Katy Perry’s recent performance on the Grammy Awards comes to mind, in which her dance routine to her song “Dark Horse” has her dressed in witchy goth attire and using a witch’s broom as a stripper pole. Oh my, the hand-wringing religious types were up in arms but I thought it was awesome! You go, girl.

Katy’s not doing anything many female pop stars have not done before: Madonna was a former stripper, and brought many aspects of that mode of performance to her elaborate stage shows and videos. So was Lady Gaga, for that matter.

If we really think about it, many of the performance contexts for women involve an expectation they will remove (or wear) their clothing in a provocative way, and move sexily for us. Movie stars, gymnasts, ice dancers, ballet dancers, pop stars, etc. Why don’t male performers generate the same set of expectations?

I think our cultural history which kept women trussed up in elaborate clothing and complicated undergarments for centuries just made us all obsessed with what was underneath. Now that women can mostly wear what they want in westernized countries, we yearn for that mystique of the stripper who knows just what to take off, at precisely the right moment, looking us in the eye or maybe just barely giving us a sidelong glance. And then go back to her day job the next day.

For more Ashley Rosemont and original erotic content for women, please visit Sssh.com.

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I have to wear my glasses when I go to the theater. If you want to reach me directly, email me at chicodustyblog@gmail.com, add me to your circles on Google+ or Tweet at me on Twitter.