Neon Girls: A Stripper’s Education in Protest and Power

Harper Perennial. Jun. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9780062971326. pap. $17.99. SOC SCI
In this lively debut, Worley writes about her life as a dancer at the Lusty Lady Theatre in San Francisco in the 1990s. A graduate student looking for employment that would allow her to work the fewest hours for the most money, Worley becomes Polly, a performer in one of the last peep shows in the city. As she befriends a group of like-minded feminist female dancers, she sheds her apprehensions about her chosen employment and gains the confidence she will use to transform her workplace. After witnessing various incidents of discriminatory and humiliating practices by management, and watching how her coworkers are punished when they take a stand, Polly decides to act. As their core group of activist dancers grows, the Lusty Ladies successfully establish a union to protect their rights and gain more control over their work. In telling their story, Worley skillfully captures a slice of a San Francisco that no longer exists through a fiercely feminist lens. Includes illustrations.
VERDICT A fast-paced, engaging book that readers with an interest in feminist thought, memoirs, and labor activism will enjoy
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