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|Articles - September 2013|
|Monday, August 19, 2013|
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BY APRIL STREETER
A strip club is a strip club is a strip club. Except perhaps in Portland. Long touted as the exotic dance capital of the U.S., Portland has so many clubs — now more than 60 — that a dark stage, a dance pole and supple women removing their clothing are no longer enough to guarantee patronage.
Instead, clubs are driven to differentiate and to tap new customer streams — similar to many consumer industries. While much of the coverage of the sex business in mainstream media portrays Oregon’s I-5 corridor as a hub for prostitution and sex trafficking, there’s also a legal and flourishing side to the sex industry. Its backbone may once have been strip clubs, but it is moving beyond these to experiment with other products, services and client bases. In true Oregon style, the legal sex industry here gets its start from our state constitution, written to expressly safeguard manifestations of free speech. Now the pleasure industry is expanding by innovating and catering to alternative-market segments, including sustainably minded and female consumers.
Nationwide, the sex industry is realizing that women are an untapped resource, says Kassia Wosick, an assistant sociology professor at New Mexico State University, whose research focuses on gender and sexuality. Increased sex-product consumption by women is undeniable, Wosick says. In particular, “we see women consumers investing their money in the industry through sex-toy and novelty products.”
Such products are now available through Oregon startups such as Hood River-based Bunnyjuice and Good Clean Love out of Eugene. Online, Sean Suhl and Selena Mooney have also had success with their soft-core, membership-based online site called Suicide Girls, launched in Portland in 2001 and now located in Los Angeles. Specializing in alternative, goth, punk and indie female models, Suicide Girls gets millions of page hits per week and has spawned knockoff competitors. Then there’s Club Sesso, a Portland swingers club getting in on the diversification of the industry by catering to a sex-positive and youthful demographic.
These new business models do more than suggest the mainstreaming of the sex business and its growing attraction for women. They also point to an effort at reconciling a long-standing contradiction in American culture: between sex as either an expression of idealized romantic love or crude adolescent fantasy. That is, in the U.S., there is a common cultural impression that society is obsessed and oversaturated with sex. Yet the images and the products we’ve had available to consume, like strip clubs, have tended to be somewhat pubescent, aimed at the same younger-man’s demographic that drives mainstream Hollywood action films.
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.
Friday, October 24, 2014
How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!
Friday, November 14, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Oregon entrepreneurs reveal their favorite caffeine hangouts.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF
An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.
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While the Bend City Council ultimately upheld the approval which enables OSU-Cascades to move forward with the 10 acre site, it did also thoughtfully consider the nature of its code requirements, resident concerns and OSU-Cascade’s efforts and suggestions and crafted conditions of approval to address potential impacts of the site in the area.