The first strip club in Olympia is in the process of opening, and has been stirring up controversy all across the city. Desire Video at 3200 Pacific Avenue is being transformed into a 21 and up adult entertainment strip club.
The owner has yet to declare an opening date for the club, but the Olympia Police Department (OPD) confirmed all fire and building inspections have been completed.
The club has not opened because of city business licensing still in processing and background checks of employees still being researched. “We look for past involvement with sex crimes, or a prostitution history, [which] could be a reason for disqualifying such person from working in the industry,” said OPD Spokesperson Laura Wohl. The strip club began advertising positions on Craigslist looking for dancers, DJs, security, wait staff, and management positions in January.
The introduction of the strip club is a new feature to Olympia, but the business, location, and owner remain the same. “The Desire Video business has been around for 20 years and we have never had a problem with anyone from there, so we don’t foresee the rise of violence or gangs becoming a potential problem now because of the club, ” said Wohl.
The history of adult clubs and businesses have been taboo topics for some in the community, enough to where the OPD have received letters and emails from citizens who are strongly against the club opening, said Wohl. “We have acknowledged these concerns, but the property is already zoned for this type of business. With it being the same location as the video store…we have no right to restrict this activity,” she said.
Katrina Prime, SPSCC associate sociology professor, teaches of the social normality of sexuality as a social problem. “Sociologists point out that our society is becoming increasingly ‘pornified’,” she said. “I think the greatest effect this club will have on our community is feeding into this social trend that increasingly normalizes the sexualization and objectification of women.”
“I believe that our society needs more institutions that promote genuine relationships between people, relationships based on gender equality. I don’t think that strip clubs promote these types of relationships,” said Prime.
“I think the strip club will be good because Olympia is viewed more as an older generation city. And this will give the young people another thing to do, not only for guys but for females too,” said SPSCC student Brandon Anderson. “I have seen women go to the strip clubs, so I don’t think it is fair to assume only men are excited for this,” he said.
“I’m not sure if the idea of a strip club is a good idea in general, but other cities have them so I think Olympia also has the right,” said SPSCC student Becca Stephl.
“I could see how many younger students might feel like a strip club is a great idea for Olympia, but If they want to go to one then the drive to Tacoma isn’t that long,” expressed Jayne Kasmar, a part-time SPSCC student and mother. “I feel strongly that our society objectifies women too much on our television, and I worry that my kids will be desensitized to the struggles real women face everyday.”