Two Personalities, One Stripper

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For the past two and a half years I have been living with my best friend, “Bailey”, who is like a sister to me in a lot of ways. This is especially true in regards to the way in which we are able to openly confide in each other about everything and anything, just like some sisters do. In fact, our relationship is so strong Bailey even feels safe enough to trust me with the intimate, detailed stories she brings home with her every weekend after working at Shot Gun Willie’s. If you haven’t guessed by now, my roommate moonlights as a stripper, and has been working as such for the past year. I chose to write about Bailey because of the various ways in which I have witnessed her having to mentally, and physically transform herself in order to cope with the trials and tribulations that come from working at a strip club. As well as the damaging repercussions this type of occupation has had on her overall perceptions of self, the world, and her relation to/in the world. It is also because of Bailey’s repeated exposure to the lustful, perverted, and greedy sides of people that the need to develop a completely new and separate persona arose, and Bailey’s alter ego “Kimber” was created. Throughout this semester, we have learned about many different theorists and their philosophies on the different, complex environments and experiences that help to contribute to the development of the human personality. For this paper I chose to use the concepts and ideas of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Melanie Klein, and Donald Winnicott. Soon after learning about the diverse beliefs each of these theorists attributed to the creation, enhancement, and hindrance of an individual’s personality, I started to see a correlation between them and the weekly conversations/stories my roommate and I had about her experiences working at Willie’s, and the psychological effects that were beginning to develop from constantly being in this type of environment. When looking at Bailey’s situation from a few of Freud’s perspectives we can see the development of defenses starting to take root. By this I mean that Bailey begins to unconsciously employ a number of “psychological means to help keep anxiety-provoking material out of her awareness in order to reduce or avoid anxiety” (Beneath the Mask, pg.43). One of the ways in which Bailey does this is through what Freud conceptualized as being a type of neuroses he referred to as Defense Neuroses. To Freud, this type of defense originally arose from the ego’s attempt to protect our consciousness against threatening sexual thoughts. To me, this kind of neuroses is depicted in the formation of Bailey’s new belief that all men are lying, scummy perverts as a way of protecting herself against the idea that she is somehow dirty and perverted herself for being a stripper, and secretly liking to dance naked in front of strangers. This form of defense neuroses can also be seen through the way in which Bailey tries to keep her stripper life completely separate, and hidden from the rest of her life and the world by denying and suppressing any involvement in it, because of the fact that she feels guilty about finding some enjoyment in taking her clothes off for money. Bailey also uses another one of Freud’s neuroses techniques in order to avoid experiencing anxiety, called Obsessional Neuroses, which is a disorder that involves individuals engaging in ritualistic acts to help keep them from feeling anxiety. This can be seen through the way in which Bailey routinely comes home from work, and before doing anything else (i.e. taking off her makeup, wig, or stripper clothes) she must immediately sit down, and smoke one to two bowls of weed in order to forget, as well as dull the experiences of that night’s events. While still being a little high, Bailey must take two showers so that she can thoroughly clean her entire body with exfoliating soap and a scrub brush before going to bed. She referrers to these showers as her way of escaping...