Lap dancing closures in Leeds (2013)
Photo courtesy of this blog post about the club closures.
Blog updated to include Prof Phil Hubbard’s post.
I am absolutely horrified and furious to read the news that 3 lap-dancing clubs in Leeds must close.
I have been following the activities online for over 12 months, here and here.
My thoughts are with the employees mainly women who are now unemployed right before Christmas. The closures will affect owners, managers house mums, door staff, bar staff, dancers, costume sellers, cleaners, and all those who trade with the establishments. And of course all their families. Millions in revenue lost per year due to a few puritans. A great blog resource is here.
I find it shocking, regardless of anyone’s opinions on lap-dancing clubs (which I fully respect) that legal businesses are being forced to close, not because they have broken the law, not because they have breached their licencing regulations, not because fights are happening on the premises, not due to tax evasion or organised crime, not because employees are complaining about working conditions, but because people using templates as discussed here, object.
It also relates to what I said here about the BSA Youth Sexualities conference. It was such a relief to see such an admirable scholar such as Dr Clarissa Smith talk about the affective role of fear. It is alarming how common-sense discourse keeps beating common-sense. That those read as dangerous Others, and activities widely read as ‘dangerous’ ‘immoral’ ‘dirty’ or the ever-popular ‘objectifying’ can be subjected to worryingly easy punitive measures. Think of how these processes apply to other minority groups.
It is extremely worrying that zombie stats that are proven to be incorrect are wheeled out and repeated at every opportunity. The Lilith Project/Eaves lap-dancing ‘causal relationship’ to rape is completely flawed! Just like saying the opening of lap-dancing venue in Newquay, and the rape rate decreasing is a causal relationship. Then I come across these frequent rambles in supposedly ‘liberal’ newspapers. Look here at how aLeeds rape support group use the Lilith withdrawn study as FACT to solidify their campaign. They state:
“There is an established link between crime and sex establishments, the 2003 Lillith [sic] report on lap dancing and striptease in the borough of Camden London, found reported rapes around lap dancing clubs to be three times the national average.
Research has shown that wherever lap-dance and strip clubs appear, women’s quality of life deteriorates as a result, with increased reports of rape. These establishments licence the objectification of women for money. This actively damages women and girls living and working around lap-dancing clubs as well as the women working within them”.
Look here at how this ‘Child Trafficking’ organisation use the same withdrawn report.
As regular readers of this blog might now, I find the idea that women’s bodies cause men to rape them, abhorrent rape apologetic nonsense (to be polite). I have written previous blogs on the matter here Indecent Dolls: Ban This Filth, here at Dangerous Dolls, Object and Lose the Lads’ Mags, here at We Don’t Do Barbies, here at Stupid Dolls: Lap-dancing, Joan Smith and Polar Disorder,here at My Problem With No More Page 3, and here amongst other posts.
And I laugh in disbelief when well-known misogynists support such campaigns, be they closing sexual entertainment venues, no more page 3, lose the lads mags, porn filters… objectification does not equal dehumanisation or even sexual objectification. I cannot say this enough. And the worst misogynists out there don the No More Page 3 t-shirts whilst sending colleagues sexually explicit messages and running campaigns of hate and bullying against women. The dichotomies of virgin/whore, decent woman/ lap-dancer, sex industry punter/ good guy just compound unhelpful stereotypes. The stereotypes which mean rape conviction rates are so low and the majority of women don’t report abuse. Misogynists and abusers are all around us, let’s not blame the consumption of porn or lap-dancing venues or the sale of sexual services.
I find it more and more worrying that consensual activities are being censored, banned, criminalised. Where are the rights of the women who choose to lap dance for a living? Where are the rights of those who choose to patron such establishments?
The idea that these clubs ‘lower the tone’, endanger children and that women feel unsafe are nonsense. As a woman I don’t like walking past anywhere people are drunk because gangs of drunk women and men falling out of bars and clubs is annoying at best, and intimidating at worst. There is nothing specific about lap-dancing clubs that intimidates. Many people for personal or religious reasons object to alcohol consumption but they cannot close establishments down on this basis.
If anyone genuinely believes that these ‘feminists’ want to put other women out of work to ‘protect’ us all, and end gender inequality, and ‘stop porn culture’ *vomits in own mouth* then good luck with that. If these women cared about other women they would ensure the workers had good labouring conditions, were safe, respected. They would engage with the amazing academic literature on this subject instead of ignoring it or misquoting it. Instead, they choose to objectify the lap-dancers, reduce them to merely their occupation and body parts and fail to engage with the workers or address the workers’ concerns.
Of course the cruel irony, is that the sex industry these ‘feminists’ hate so much has many facets, and some of these unemployed dancers may now feel they have no option but to enter realms of it they would not usually wish to. This has been commented on by expert in the field, Reader in Sociology at the University of Leeds Dr Teela Sanders. Mortgages and bills don’t pay themselves. Most dancers I have ever met and worked with are independent women, and they may now be forced into work they don’t wish to do; prised from the jobs they liked because a few puritans felt “uncomfortable”.
What makes me feel uncomfortable is how this tiny minority have so much sway, and that in 2013 we as a society have so little respect and understanding for those women working in the sex industry. I hope the ‘feminists’ feel very proud of themselves for leaving women out of work 2 weeks before Christmas. The recent brothel raids, the porn debates, the slogany media campaigns and now these SEV closures make me feel very nervous for all those working in the industry.
My thoughts are with all the staff, especially the dancers. I hope your owners fight the ruling and win.
Frankie Mullin- Strippers are not the problem – they’re just doing a job
Brilliant as ever. You’ve really made me think about anti-objectifcation campaigns now. Which I’d otherwise rush to support. Got any good reading about the different types of objectifcation/ distinction between that dehumanisation?
I am working on a post soon called “I object! Objectification theory”
Interesting post: I’ll be updating my blog with some stuff on the legalities of the Leeds closures, and do very much agree on the idea of ‘zombie statistics’. My research has been trying to get some more ‘objective’ stats out there so there can be a more balanced debate, but this research doesn’t seem to impinge on the deliberations of councillors as objectors keep perpetuating the zombie stats and no-one wades into debates arguing for a more balanced perspective. I am not pro- or anti-lap dancing, and have to respect that the law allows local authorities to decide where a club is or isn’t appropriate. But I don’t like the casual power wielded by licensing committees when they determine the future of people’s lives without an analysis of the facts of the case, and a retreat into stereotype.
Massive thanks for reading and commenting. I will include the link to your new post once written.
I think the way in which these decisions are being reached are extremely troubling. As an ex dancer I don’t claim to be objective, but I am interested in both sides of the debate and do respect the opinions of those who do not like SEVs. I only wish that those opposing the clubs could engage with the studies academics such as yourself have produced, and stop using the Lilith stats.
The issue with Leeds is the hide behind closed doors so no one understands what the council saw as the issues. This creates a feeling of mistrust and when you consider that Cllr Rebecca Charlwood set up a working group that came up with the mythical 4 clubs as the right number (for the time being) that included members of object and other antis. The only balanced voice was from Leeds Uni and not one club or dancer was invited to contribute. The boilerplate letters show no thought and no one has made an effort to validate what was in them. I can’t help but feel that it was sheep that sent in those objections.
In the longer term questions about the objectivity of the chair of the SEV Licensing committee needs to be raised. Whilst no objections to having friends the fact the only council listed as a friend by a director of the group producing the boilerplate is the chair of the committee.
As to figures for Phil I did send him my 2011 figures for crime around 248 SEVs in England and Wales. I have most of 2012 figures done but want to save those for anytime I can get a debate online with Object or similar. As for Lilith I sent Teela the figures for Camden for a twelve year period and adjusted them for population changes as Brooke was clear this was a major issue with Lilith. Not sure if she is going to use them in her book or not but was interesting that Wandsworth loses adult entertainment and Rape shoots up (it was a big jump) in the same 12 year review. i would be happy to do more research if someone knew what was worth chasing.
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