6th July 2011: Striptease in Scotland; Tits, Tassles and Ten Pound Notes by Dr Sarah Vernon

Title of talk:
‘Striptease in Scotland: Tits, Tassles and Ten Pound Notes’ by Gypsy Charms (Dr. Sarah Vernon)


Doctor Sarah Vernon

Bullet points of what you would like to cover:

  • To define the categories that exist within striptease based entertainment (SBE)
  • Give an overview of SBE in Scotland
  • Highlight similarities and differences between striptease performed in an environment custom built to deliver SBE to striptease performed in alternative settings (such as burlesque in a theatre); emphasising the impact this has on performer and audience perception of the performance


Suggested you-tube links, websites and / or texts where further information may be found:


Dr Gypsy Charms

A few words about you and your passion:
Striptease has dominated my life for over a decade.  I have been a kiss-o-gram, strip-o-gram, table dancer, lap dancer, stripper, burlesque artist and now a teacher of striptease and burlesque throughout Europe with the Academy of Burlesque and Cabaret. I remember watching my brother as one of Baby June’s troupe in Gypsy at the Edinburgh Playhouse and wishing I was one of the troupe – until, that is, I saw Gypsy step onto the stage…..


Having been persuaded by my parents that fulfilling my dreams of being a professional dancer would lead to a career in the fast food outlet of my choice, I went to university to study film and indulged my inner-entertainer by teaching fitness classes.  On graduating I set out to accomplish my showbiz dreams by becoming a striptease artist.  After having spent a couple of fun filled years peeling in various venues from pubs and bowling clubs to Chinese restaurants and strip clubs I decided to research striptease in Scotland and to my surprise I found very little.  To try to help bridge this academic gap I approached Glasgow University in 2001 and undertook a PhD in Sociology, in which I conducted a 7 year participant observation study of strip clubs in Scotland (The Private, the Public and the Pubic:  Striptease and Naked Power in Scotland).


During the course of my academic work I became involved in campaigning for sex workers rights with the IUSW (International Union of Sex Workers).  Through my involvement with the IUSW I have been privileged to meet and be inspired by sex workers, their clients, and campaigners.


Sarah Gypsy Charms Vernon

A few lines about the history of your subject:

The majority of interdisciplinary research on striptease, strip clubs and burlesque are North American.  Research focusing on deviance dominated early studies, giving way to a deluge of research examining gender, stigma and strip club interactions.  While striptease, burlesque, strip clubs and their services have become widely researched in North America, research on striptease in Scotland is in its infancy.  I finished my fieldwork in 2008, and at the time there were no long term-fieldwork studies conducted in the UK.  My research is the longest to be conducted in the UK to date and is Scotland’s first long-term participant observation study.


Policy makers in Scotland, as a result have had to rely on North American based studies that do not reflect the experience of either the service providers or service user of SBE in Scotland.  It is essential for both policy makers and academics that further fieldwork studies of SBE in Scotland is conducted to bridge this gap, and ensure that representative studies help influence future SBE policy in Scotland.


Anything else you may want to say:

I am working with the Ragged Press to publish and bring to light my extended research so that it is accessible in the public domain and so that it can help inform discussions and debates surrounding these issues.  The launch of the book is being prepared and will be available soon – Watch this Space !


Gypsy Charms AKA Dr Sarah Vernon did her talk on 6th of July 2011 in the Blind Poet pub in Edinburgh.  She is driven to bring an enlightened discussion to all matters of sexuality and has brought together a great deal of cutting edge research in this area.  You can find out more about her work and passion by following the links below: