Edinburgh Fringe: New York Fringe performer Mary Goggin compares Edinburgh strip club ban to overturning of Roe v Wade
New York actor Mary Goggin decided to do her homework on Edinburgh before heading to the Fringe to present the UK premiere of her show, Runaway Princess: A hopeful tale of heroin, hooking and happiness.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering her own life experiences, Mary's attention was caught by the ongoing clash between local strippers and the the City of Edinburgh Council, as the latter attempts to close the Capital's remaining strip clubs.In her show, Mary, a former New York City call girl shares the true story of her Irish Catholic traumatic upbringing, alcoholism, drug addiction and prostitution through the multitude of characters she encountered along the way on her journey from utter darkness to absolute joy.Mary says, "Before coming to Edinburgh for the first time, I decided to do a bit of research. I read about 'foreplay suppression' in Edinburgh. Those scarlet women who, with one butt cheek twitch (not even a wiggle) and one platformed ankle can enslave a man completely. Have him do whatever she wills, enough that he will lose control and do (and spend) whatever she fancies."The Fringe performer has backed the strippers who recently hit out at claims by Councillor Mandy Watt that dancing is ‘not work’ and who have accused other councillors and 'radical feminists' of taking away their freedom to choose."Yes, dancing is a job although not a career. Who wants to see a 70-Year-old pole dancer? That’s a whole other ageism show," says Mary.She continues, "A young woman called Marissa saw my show recently. She is 20 years old and is a stripper in a fully nude club. We had dinner afterwards as I’m a friend of her mother's. When I asked her about working in the strip club she told me, 'I honestly don’t consider myself a sex worker at all. A lot of these women aren’t. They usually have kids to feed or are full time students paying off loans and living by themselves. Most jobs don’t pay as well as being a stripper does.'We have the freedom throughout the week/daytime to invest in ourselves and future careers. Most strippers know this isn’t a forever job. I don’t understand the big issue about any women choosing to be naked. Many famous artists draw naked women and men. People of all ages are able to view life size 3D sculptures of naked humans in museums. If a woman or man chooses to do anything that isn’t hurting you or anyone else physically, what’s the issue?'"Looking at the situation in Edinburgh she said, 'It's very controlling, it's very insecure backwards-thinking. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything. Turn the other cheek if you don’t like it'."
Recalling her own experience, first as a call girl, Mary says, "I remember, as I moved down the streets of Manhattan, hearing someone whisper, 'She is the biggest call in NY'. That made me proud. Then I worked in Nevada brothels, not so much a dancer, although I once worked in a massage parlour with a swimming pool - my Ester Williams moves did make me lots of money."She considers for a moment before asking, "What is up with this compulsion to control women? It’s a global crisis, a final cry for help."Likening the banning of strip clubs in Edinburgh to the overturning of abortion rights in some US states, she continues, "It's not just the men but other woman. I'm dismayed that so many women are behind proposals to curtail other women's ability to work. On a personal level I am aware that when I catch myself being controlling it's because I am protecting myself from being hurt."Men are also about protecting themselves from being hurt. They came to my penthouse apartment for the same... whatever, every week and they told me their problems. I felt like I was helping people. Are they afraid that we will swallow them up?For example, I believe the demise of Roe vs Wade is a last ditch attempt of rich white men and ill-educated women to control women. It is however some scary shit. I am mortified to be an American right now."In Runaway Princess, which won the 2018 United Solo Festival Award for Best Autobiographical Show and runs at Greenside, Infirmary Street, from August 5-27, Mary hopes her voice will help empower women everywhere, including those currently fighting for their jobs in Edinburgh."Telling my secrets, it’s a global roar. It begins with me. I can only control myself. The voices, on an international level are deafening. We are not going to go backwards. It’s a last gasp effort. Men are vulnerable. Other women are vulnerable. So am I. Can you imagine if we communicated?"Tickets for Runaway Princess are available here.