In a TikTok posted last Friday, user @keelypunaniii, who goes by Keely Tyler, expressed her sadness for a friend who had passed away, who she had danced with. The TikTok, which now has over 850 thousand likes, shows a tribute to the late friend’s locker at work, whose name was Autumn. On the locker, the writing says “Became an Angel on August 2021” with flowers dedicated to the dancer.
Tyler notes that this is “the shittiest part of being a dancer.” In the comments, many people agreed with her, which opens up the discussion surrounding working in strip clubs or bars and the dangers that this can open up. Many only glamorize the interesting and exciting parts, like making money quickly or being able to have fun at your job. However, the comments point to a very dark reality in the industry, as many could relate to having a coworker end up missing or killed. One person writes that this video was their sign to quit, writing “This was my sign to retire, thank you and I’m sorry for your loss.”
Some comments, however, were not as sympathetic as others. Some believed that the key to safety was completely eliminating walking home alone or going to private parties, writing “Okay but why is everyone going home with the customers…or going to private parties that seem to be the issue.” Though going to private parties or travelling home with a customer might increase the chances of being harmed, it should not mean that the perpetrator did nothing wrong, and this notion perpetuates more victim-blaming. Commenters did not agree with this opinion, writing “the issue is the people who are harming them.” Others did not victim shame but did believe that working at a strip club or bar is not something that should be glamorized but instead should include all risks, especially since many who worked in the industry commented that they had an experience themselves where girls who worked there would be missing or murdered. Others also discussed that when these women are missing, they are often not looked for by police because of their job title and are labelled “promiscuous.”
Though there was some negativity in the comments towards dancers in strip clubs, the overarching theme was the heartbreak for dancers who had been murdered or ended up missing due to their field of work. Many empathized with Tyler, thanking her for her honesty and choosing to show the real parts that are often not portrayed on social media.