Bleak economy drives more women to stripping; sad not salacious news

When women with college degrees who held white-collar jobs until the recession hit become dancers at strip-clubs or even actresses for X-rated films, I find it depressing. But, on a larger, more all-encompassing level, it also points to the sorry state of affairs of the economy. When women feel they have no choice but to turn to jobs that even adult industry professionals warn them against, then it's clear how bad the times are.

More Women Go from Jobless to Topless is the title of the AP article outlining how more women are turning to the adult entertainment industry given the tough job market. No doubt the title is an attempt to make a sad story lighter. But the truth is there's nothing to cheer about here.

Desperate times, though, call for desperate measures, and if these aren't desperate times, at least in most of the populace's living memory, then what are? What should parents of a family whose home has been foreclosed do? Where do they take their families? What if they lose their jobs, too? How do they feed and clothe their children? How would you?

Indeed, other stories of desperate measures are constantly popping up in the United States and around the world. India and Israel, for example, reported a significant rise in surrogate pregnancy offers and egg donations due to the economic situation. A 60 percent increase in the number of applications of women who wanted to become surrogate moms in 2008 in Israel, and in India offers came even from upper-middle class women.

And while the aforementioned measures are legal, some choose illegal routes. Over the weekend, our Jonathan Berr reported how crime -- especially of profit, although violent crime too -- has been on the rise. While I'm sure these criminals and crimes aren't nice, cute, or fun, I can't help but remember the Hollywood movie from not too long ago Fun with Dick and Jane. The movie offers a fictional and funny account about how a suburban couple was driven to a life of crime after they lost everything to an Enron-like scandal. Well, the subprime mortgage crisis and the ensuing economic recession dwarfs the Enron scandal in magnitude. And while the Hollywood movie had a happy ending, with everybody getting what they deserved, our story is still being written with most people getting the exact opposite of what they deserve (read bonuses).

Plenty of books and movies tell heart-wrenching tales of sacrifices, hard decisions, and desperate measures taken by individuals and families during past harsh times. Sadly, as you can see, similar tales are already being told today. Another one, from just this Friday, is about a former CEO used to making $750,000 a year, who got a job as a pizza delivery man making $7.29 an hour as his family lives off food stamps. And he's probably not the only one.

As long the economy continues to worsen, we will likely hear more such sad stories. We can only hope we are near the end of the downturn.

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