Ping pong show
A ping pong show is a form of stage entertainment that takes place in strip clubs, often in Thailand. The show consists of women using their pelvic muscles to either hold, eject, or blow objects from their vaginal cavity. Ping pong balls are the most iconic objects used, but others include long strings, whistles, pens, cigarettes, candles, darts, spinning tops, bottles, firecrackers, razor blades, and chopsticks. A male member of the audience may be brought onto the dance platform to hold a balloon while a dart is shot at it, or the girl may do a shoot around the table at balloons tied to each customer's chair. Another activity is the shooting of goldfish into a bowl, or stuffing a rather large frog inside to see how long she can keep it in.
Under Thai law, ping pong shows are officially prohibited under obscenity legislation. Nevertheless, demand from foreign tourists and local police corruption usually results in the practice being implicitly condoned by Thai officials.
Shows generally take place in a strip club with scantily clad girls dancing during the breaks between shows. Tourists are brought in by employees working the streets asking passers by if they want to see a show and frequently having pictures of the show in a booklet. Once in, rather than a cover charge, the drinks are 3–4 times the usual amount and a purchase is required. It has also been reported that there may be an arbitrary "exit fee" if not enough was spent. This is in line with the tactics of the usual ping pong show, where customers are borderline coerced for "tips" at least once every minute. Women employed in ping pong shows arrive at 18:00 and leave at daybreak. They stamp a time card and are penalized 5 baht (US$0.14) for every minute they are late. Each month, they receive two nights of vacation and, if they don't miss any additional nights, they will earn a salary of 6,000 baht (US$181), supplemented by tips. Many women working at ping pong shows are also prostitutes, although prostitution has been illegal since the 1960s.
Human rights concerns
Human rights organizations (such as Not For Sale) denounce ping pong shows as inherently misogynistic. "The attitude that [sex work in places like ping pong shows] is empowering gives a green light to traffickers. We're trying to fight the commercial sex trade, not empower the sex trade," says Taina Bien-Aime of Equality Now. Performers in ping pong shows are often trafficked from poorer neighbouring countries such as Myanmar and Laos. Thai women who work in the shows had often worked in factories before being laid off during an economic downturn. "Working 14 hours [a day] in a factory or blowing ping pong balls out of your vagina should not be a person's only choices in life," says Bien-Aime. Performers have, in some cases, been seriously and irreparably injured. The inclusion of a ping pong show scene in the film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert led to the film being criticised on the grounds of sexism.
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