The Naked Truth--From Judith Lynne Hanna

Hanna_JACKET COMP.indd

As a burlesque performer with a substantial history as a strip joint stripper, I'm frequently asked what the difference is between burlesque and strip joint stripping, and my favorite difference to cite is that nobody ever asks strip joints strippers what the difference is between burlesque and stripping.

Burlesque performers do need to differentiate their style for professional purposes, in order to help the venues and produers who book them choose the right kind of performance for their intentions. Some also prefer not to be conflated with the sex-industry-immediacy of strip joints, while others actually also work as strippers and want to differentiate for professional reasons alone. Many burlesque performers are perfectly comfortable being called strippers and don't care if their moral turpitude is aligned with strip joints.

Of course, it rarely occurs to anyone to consider whether or not strip joint strippers would want to be conflated with burlesque. There is sometimes a touch of condescending magnaminity, or a sense that some burlesque performers are almost disturbingly eager to show that they're capable of appreciating strippers, if the strippers are doing some really cool moves that they can imagine have street cred. Many strip joint strippers are pretty aware that they're bad-ass and that their booty-clap, pole trick, or slow burn is worthy of approbation, and don't care if people think they've ever taken a ballet, theater, or circus class. If they are particularly aware of burlesque, they tend to enjoy it but would rather not spend $1000 on a costume to make $100 a night.

For the most part, however, burlesque performers are a rowdy bunch who aren't at all worried about being perceived as strippers, seeing as how they take off their clothes in public and all.

When I was a busy anti-censorship activist, I spent a lot of time studying ways that the First Amendment applied to adult entertainment, and one of my favorite fellow activists was Judith Lynne Hanna. Even when I didn't see things exactly the same way, I appreciated her thoroughness and perspective. Following is the table of contents for her 2012 book Naked Truth. Almost all of these things are discussed in an informal way by strip joint strippers, amongst themselves, and with clientele and management, but Dr. Hanna has a gift for presenting her research and observations in a way that strikes a note of reason from the bar room to the class room to the court room. It's amazing to me how many aspects there are to the topic of exotic dancing, and I've never grown tired of thinking about it.

Click here to purchase on

Naked Truth

Strip Clubs, Democracy

and a Christian Right

by Judith Lynne Hanna

Across America, strip clubs have come under attack by a politically aggressive segment of the Christian Right. Using plausible-sounding but factually untrue arguments about the harmful effects of strip clubs on their communities, the Christian Right has stoked public outrage and incited local and state governments to impose onerous restrictions on the clubs with the intent of dismantling the exotic dance industry. But an even larger agenda is at work, according to Judith Lynne Hanna. In Naked Truth, she builds a convincing case that the attack on exotic dance is part of the activist Christian Right’s “grand design” to supplant constitutional democracy in America with a Bible-based theocracy.

Hanna takes readers onstage, backstage, and into the community and courts to reveal the conflicts, charges, and realities that are playing out at the intersection of erotic fantasy, religion, politics, and law. She explains why exotic dance is a legitimate form of artistic communication and debunks the many myths and untruths that the Christian Right uses to fight strip clubs. Hanna also demonstrates that while the fight happens at the local level, it is part of a national campaign to regulate sexuality and punish those who do not adhere to Scripture-based moral values. Ultimately, she argues, the naked truth is that the separation of church and state is under siege and our civil liberties—free speech, women’s rights, and free enterprise—are at stake.

A leading dance scholar and critic who has served as an expert court witness in more than one hundred exotic dance cases nationwide, JUDITH LYNNE HANNA is Affiliate Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland. She has written hundreds of articles and numerous books, including To Dance Is Human: A Theory of Nonverbal Communication; The Performer—Audience Connection; Dance, Sex and Gender; Dancing for Health: Conquering and Preventing Stress; and Partnering Dance and Education.


Prelude: Sparks Fly: Church-State Conflict 1

An Awakening

From Strip Club to Religion

Aftershock of Secularism and Sexual Revolution

More Surprises

Why Christian Right Activists Attack Exotic Dance

Full Disclosure


Chapter 1: Scripture and Hostility to Exotic Dance

Reasons for Christian Right Opposition


Soldiers of the Cross

Money and Influence

Challengers in Christian Right

The Body and Dance

The Uncovered Body and Lust

Patriarchy Challenged

The Nature of Men



The First Amendment Umbrella

Chapter 2: Fighting Exotic Dance: Call to War 32

The Attack

General Political Strategy

Adverse Secondary Effects Campaign

Allegations Challenged

Criteria for Evidence

Disregard of Evidence

Indecent, Lewd, and Obscene

Government Regulation under a Mythical Pretext

Other Government Actions

Psychological and Physical Attack

An Illustrative Case: Phil Burress and the Citizens for Community Values

Chapter 3: Target of Attack: Striptease 101 or Seduction by the Devil 71

Who’s Onstage

Getting There

Serious “Speech”

Exotic Dance Dialect

Components of Exotic Dance


Private Dance

The Art of It

Pecking Order and Social Class

Artistic Value

Dance “Class”

Adult Play for Pay

“Satan’s” Ploys

Turning On

Reading for the Connection


Moving It

Close Up and Touching

Music and Setting

Socially Redeeming Values

Chapter 4: Nudity Touch, and Sex: Marginal or Mainstream 127

“Sinful Nudity” Is American

Simulated Nudity


Dancer-Patron Touch

Simulated Sex

Chapter 5: “Rottweilers” Lock Their Jaws: Bench Trials 140

Arrests in a Family Business

Why Raid Showcase Theater?

Club Fights and Wins First Round

Round Two: The 2003 Attack

Public Hearing on Proposed Exotic Dance Regulations

Regulations (CB-86-2003) Passed

Legal Challenge

The Battle Continues: Round Three

Commissioned Report

Raids on Club Exstasy

Harassment of Showcase Theater

More Laws

“New” Regulations (CB-61-2006)

Another Lawsuit against Prince George’s County


Chapter 6: Shooting Nude Crotches: Jury Trials 165

Class Act in Cannon Falls

Destiny’s Case

Paris’s Case

Sugar Daddy’s in Benton County

Amy’s Case

Community Positive Feedback on Exotic Dance

About the Economy

Secondary Effects

Trampling Rights

Misplaced Morality

Respect for Women

Artistic Value

Community Negative Feedback on Exotic Dance

Serious Artistic Merit

Brandy’s Case

Community Talk-Back


Chapter 7: Exotic Dancers and Labor: Need to be Saved? 184

Kinds of Clubs

Good Bosses

Bad Patrons and Bosses

Pluses and Minuses

Financial Disputes

Truth Be Told

Chapter 8: Christian Right Claims Club Crime: Where Are the Bodies? 210

Murder: Boyfriends, Husbands, Police, Mafia, and Others

Different Violence

Dancer Aggression

Attacks on Property




Violations of Laws Specifically Regulating Clubs

Questionable Police Tactics

Stigmatization of Exotic Dance


So, Where Are the Bodies? Evidence?

Chapter 9: Stripping Your First Amendment and More 241

The Defense of Exotic Dance

Duel in the Desert and Moral Scold

Reactive and Proactive Club Resources

Indirect Support

The Constitution

The Courts Speak and Misspeak

Evidence of Adverse Secondary Effects

Economic Impact

Time, Place, and Manner Considerations

Zoning and Alternative Locations

Governmental Interest


Alcoholic Beverage Control




Artistic Choice

Dogma v. Pluralism

Perils of Disregarding the Naked Truth

Appendices 261

1 Exotic Dance 262

2 Comparison 263

3 Exotic Dance Criteria for Serious Artistic Merit

4 Nudity in Exotic Dance 264

5 Messages of Physical Distance 265

6 Expressive Contact in Exotic Dance 266

7 Contact in Social Dance: Lap Dance Heritage 267

8 Exotic Dance Patrons 268

9 Judith Lynne Hanna's Exotic Dance Expert Witness Court Testimony 270

10 Jurisdictions that Attack Exotic Dance 273

11 Key Christian Right Political Activists and Revenue in the News, 1995–2010 270

12 Arsenal of a Segment of the Politically Active Christian Right 282

13 Reality and Myth: What Neighbors Say about Exotic Dance Clubs 283

14 Protection under the Constitution of the United States of America 287

References 297

For Orders and Customer Service

(800) 252-3206

To Contact Author: (


Popular posts from this blog

Girls in Giant Champagne Glasses

How to Get Started as a Performer in Burlesque

Tami Roche