Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Elephant in the Room - Morality and SEV Licensing

In the light of the Hubbard Report, the preliminary findings of which were covered most effectively by TonyN, I felt it would be of value to discuss the issue of morality and the licensing of striptease and lap dancing clubs. Readers of this blog will know that I firmly believe that no politician should, under any circumstances, be allowed to make licensing judgements based upon personal morality.

The governments own guidelines for SEV Licensing expressly forbid personal moral views being folded into licensing decisions and with good cause. The issue in my opinion is that if morals are ever allowed into the equation and clubs are denied licenses on this basis, then other, more extreme players will use the precedent to impose their radical views on society.

Let's imagine a time in the future where moral judgements have been allowed to be taken into account and many clubs have been closed. Now let's imagine another group of people activists that see the precedent and decide to use it for their campaign. The first group that would seize upon this would undoubtedly be pro-life groups and it is easy to imagine their argument.

"........Look, if they closed all of those strip clubs, surely they will listen to us and close those abortion clinics.....the clubs just had some naked women, while in the clinics they are murdering hundreds of children a day. It's immoral......."

Do you see where I am coming from. Who else could be inspired to act?

Well, we could see religious extremists demand an end to sex education in schools and use the morality precedent to bolster their argument. If you think this is unlikely, look at the alliance between islamic conservatism and the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child in Tower Hamlets.

Let's go one step further and imagine another pressure group demanding the inclusion of creationist theory in education or the banning of certain books from school libraries, because they are immoral. So my argument is that if morality is allowed to be considered as a factor, we run a huge risk that an entire bunch of socially alienated individuals will see the precedent as an opportunity to impose their skewed morality on society. It's that simple.

You may well be surprised to learn that SNP member, Sandra White plans to launch a private members bill that will empower councils in Scotland that close clubs on the basis that they offend the moral sense of elected officials. Sandra believes that 'lap dancing is exploitative to women and that it is a front for the sex trade' and she believes this because she know absolutely nothing about the industry and cares nothing for the welfare of dancers because she wants to see them unemployed.

Sandra said as follows when interviewed about her plan.

“I feel so strongly about this and that is why I’m going down this route. This would give councillors the choice to say if one lap dancing club is too many. Under this legislation they would be able to decide that and not risk being taken to court by lap dancing club owners"

So as we can see it is essentially a cowards charter that will empower fools to make foolish decisions without any oversight or risk of challenge. I am not sure what her chances are of getting her private members bill through are, I hope that common sense prevails and it's rejected, in fact her last attempt at imposing this kind of stupidity was defeated 76 votes to 45....

It never ceases to amaze me that feminist groups and politicians will ally themselves with any group or support any legislation, no matter how ill judged, if they believe it will support their long cherished desire to close every club in the United Kingdom. Do not forget Objects support for Levenson and therefore with that, their support for a shackled press on the basis that it will help get rid of Page 3.

Allowing people to impose their personal, subjective morality on society is the elephant in the room and unless sober, well informed judgements are made, it will trample every freedom that we have.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

An Ampthillian Speaks - Lou from the Hill

The opening of 'Shaylers' has, as you know provoked outrage from the residents of Ampthill and blog postings that cover the issue have attracted a number of comments from people both for and against the club. The most interesting comment was made by 'Lou from the Hill' and it embodies perfectly the mindset of the typical prohibitionist. 'Lou' commented on my posting, 'Carry on Stripping in Ampthill', which if you follow the link, you can read for yourself. Lets have a look at what 'Lou' wrote and ask some pertinent questions...

What an awful way to talk about the residents who have run a completely legal campaign (can you prove otherwise?

My posting commented about an act of vandalism to the site and also made mention to the fact that someone called 'Miss Rosy' suggested photographing customers as they entered and club premises. These are illegal acts that I guess were perpetrated/planned by a local resident. So the issue of the legality of the anti club campaign remains unanswered, although I do detect some sensitivity to the matter though.....

I believe the phrase innocent until proven guilty applies to us) about something which they genuinely believe (backed-up by evidence of other clubs) will have a significantly detrimental effect on the town they reside in and have been told numerous times the occupier is only doing to annoy people (I have heard this from him in person before you ask).

What evidence from other clubs? Are we talking Lillith here? Can you quantify the 'significantly detrimental effect' that the town will suffer? Are these effects documented somewhere or the product of your fevered imagination?

I don't want the club in the town centre - I walk around there every day.

The club won't be open in the day when you are walking around the town. Are you really trying to tell us that the presence of the club will, even when closed, cause you psychological discomfort? It doesn't really matter though Lou, you own the problem so its up to you to deal with. The town centre doesn't exist for your sole convenience and benefit.

A lot of the complaints about the application were because of lies in it (yes, we can and have proved this).......

What lies were told and by who? Where did you prove it? Did you tell the Council? How did the Council react?

.....and the fact that even before opening night, the owner was not running it according to the terms of the licence which have clear rules about the appearance outside.

Lou what are you talking about? How could the owner be running the club in violation of the terms of its license before it had even opened? The terms of a licence apply to open, trading clubs, not ones that are yet to open.

I should add the licence comes up for renewal in a year and there will no doubt be opposition again.

I have no doubt there will be.....

Also, as a woman can I say I hate the objectefication of women that stripping promotes - no, don't tell me strippers are empowered, that's not true and you're just lying to yourself if you believe that.

I never said strippers were empowered, just employed, but I understand your need to accuse me of something that I never said in order to try and make a point.

Also, you can't spell 'objectification'.

Lou accuses me of lying to myself. The reality as we can see from the comment is that the real liar is Lou. The comment made lacked cohesion, structure and supporting evidence. The lie that Lou was telling was the assertion that the existence of 'Shaylers' will have a negative affect on the town of Ampthill, a lie that is as flimsy as any anti club argument put forward by Object.


If you refer to the comments section of my article, you will see that Lou helpfully provides a link to Objects website, which at least explains why the comment they made was somewhat sense free.......

Moving Forward: One Year of StrippingTheIllusion

StrippingTheIllusion is approaching its first anniversary and as such I think this is a good time to see where we need to go as a blog. You will have noticed that over the past few months, my input has been sporadic to say the least. There is a reason for this, I am about to embark on a new project that will for the foreseeable future take up much of my time. So the blog will go one of two ways, either postings will become rare and over time we're just going to gather dust and wither away or there is the second outcome, where people start to contribute articles.

TonyN has been a brilliant contributor, his analysis of Hubbard makes great reading and I have little doubt that we will see more articles from him in the future. Also I recently received an e-mail from a dancer who wants to submit some pieces as well and I have to say that this is very welcome. To date the only dancer that  has produced articles has been Edie LaMort and her excellent work could really do with being complemented by contributions from other dancers.

In the light of the defeats inflicted upon the prohibitionists, we have an opportunity to help make the public understand what the industry is really about, an opportunity to counter the smears, lies and hatred spouted by groups such as Object and UK Feminista. We need dancers to submit articles to help us succeed in this objective. Lets face it, if every club is closed down, all it means for me is that I won't  have a place to go for a beer, for others it means being unemployed and having their plans uprooted and damaged.

I want the blog to be more representative of the strip tease subculture and if it is to achieve this objective, it needs contributions from people other than a handful of customers and one dancer.

I look forward to hearing from you.....

The Hubbard Report - An Initial Reaction

TonyN has been looking at initial results of The Hybbard Report and has provided StrippingTheIllusion with his initial reactions....

Well, many readers may have heard of research being carried out by Professor Phil Hubbard on Sexual Entertainment venues. The initial results are in, and although the full results are not due until March 2013, I have been given permission to produce a synopsis of the report. I will say at the outset of this post that the majority of the report is not surprising and does no harm to the industry; there is one sticking point which I will discuss in more detail and explain why I feel that it is not likely to affect the industry.

There are 241 licensed premises regularly offering lap dancing or striptease in England and Wales. Nearly half (43%) of those applying for a Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) license have received no formal objections at all. This doesn't really come as much of a surprise: most people are not bothered about the venues and there tends to be only a small handful of complainants who may write in. Given that Portsmouth managed to obtain a massive response following a very vocal campaign by pressure groups to get the clubs shut down, with 113 against and over 3000 for the venues, the fact that some clubs receive no objections at all should not surprise anyone.

A survey of residents in towns and cities with lap dance clubs suggests that around one in five were not even aware there was an SEV operating in their town or city! Fewer than one in ten identified an SEV as a particular source of local nuisance, and in some locations this was considerably lower. Once again not a surprise, as we have seen previously from my report on crime that the belief that venues are an issue for police is a fallacy.

Some key quotes from the report follow:-

'Women, those over 40, those who have lived in their current home for over 5 years and those with children are most likely to argue there are too many lap dance clubs in their town. Women, those with children and the over 40s are least likely to suggest that striptease is harmless entertainment and most likely to suggest it attracts criminal elements and promotes sexism.' 

Without seeing the full breakdown of those commenting it is hard to judge how impactful this statement is.

'Around one in ten in our survey suggested there is no suitable location for lap dancing clubs. Very few believe clubs are suitable near schools, though the majority (55%) regard town and city centres as appropriate locations.' 

So here we have less than 10% completely against venues. And these would be women, those aged over 40, etc. And the fact that over half of the people surveyed were happy to have them located somewhere is a strong message in line with the responses to public consultations.

'Walk-along events were used to gauge the impact SEVs had on the night-time economy in four case study locations. These suggested that SEVs were not the most significant source of fear or anxiety for participants, with most instances of antisocial and rowdy behaviour being associated with other venues, notably pubs.' 

I am once again unsurprised by this. We have seen that violent and sexual crimes do not appear around venues on average and that pubs and night clubs are much more likely to have a history which would disturb people walking past.

'Women were more likely than men to pass comment on SEVs and express un-ease or anxiety about them. None argued that SEVs were a major source of antisocial behavior, or were able to cite any instances of harassment, noise or violence associated with such clubs: concerns appeared to coalesce around the normalization of male-oriented sexual entertainment and the encouragement of sexist attitudes among younger people.' 

This suggests that moral anxiety and disgust, rather than fear, may underpin many objections about SEVs. I almost burst out laughing when I read this! Mainly because the one thing that has been said by the new law is that moral grounds CANNOT be used as a reason to close a venue, and yet here we have research which shows that the only real objections are on moral grounds. Those local authorities that have put 'nil' policies in place might want to consider this.

SEVs which were discrete in terms of their signage, naming and exterior appearance appeared to generate least comment or concern. Sexist imagery and names were objected to by many of our participants. Well have to say this would be fair comment, after all some venue names were not well thought out. In terms of marketing signage should be appropriate.

Thinking about the days the barbers had a candy stripe pole to show who they were. Serious note though: when you look at Shayler's, the venue certainly doesn't look sexy; a balance between advertising and not embarrassing people as they walk past.

Well, the report goes on to outline methodology and the aims of the research. When the full report comes out, I may break these down, but wanted to get the results out. Here we go with the results:

'Our survey found that 22% of respondents who lived in towns with one or more SEVs present were unaware of these premises. One in four of those who were aware of such premises had visited a lap dance venue: of the rest, most had become aware of a venue by seeing on the street rather than reading about it in the media.'

Almost a quarter of people surveyed didn't even know that a venue was in the town. Also 18% of the people surveyed had been in the venues.

The issue with signage does come up here, the fact that venues attract their first time customers by the imagery. A discreet solution? Or maybe advertising that only works after the watershed. This could and should be discussed between venues and councils.

'One in five respondents identified a venue in their town that they thought caused particular nuisance: 65% of these were pubs or clubs, 20% take-aways or off-licenses and 15% SEVs. Pubs were most likely to be associated with noise, take-aways with littering and lap dance venues with crime and antisocial behaviour. This implies only around 3% of our respondents felt that an SEV was a source of particular nuisance. This can be contrasted with another UK survey (n=1875) where 57% of respondents felt clusters of sex premises would have detrimental effects on the vibrancy and vitality of their local high street (cf. 36% for fast food outlets and 19% for pubs/bars) (Local Government Association, 2012).'

Only 20% of people identified places as a nuisance and in real terms, just 3% of people thought venues caused issues. When you take this with the earlier research where people felt venues would cause a problem, it really puts pay to the claim of clubs causing a nuisance.

'Overall, 83% of people think SEVs are unsuitable near Schools or Nurseries, 46% near Universities/Colleges, 65% near religious facilities, and 45% near shops. Only 3% think SEVs are suitable in residential areas, 10% in rural areas, and 15% in industrial areas, though the majority (55%) feel town centres are suitable. Around 1 in 10 claim there are no suitable locations for SEVs. This group is most likely to regard SEVs as promoting sexism, and least likely to regard it as harmless entertainment. This group is most likely to report avoiding walking past SEVs at night. However, this group does not have an over-representation of people with children in the household, even though this was the population most likely to report nuisance from SEVs.'

Okay, everyone seems to have a different opinion here. The majority opinion is that Town Centres are okay. Interestingly 10% are against all locations so 90% are not against venues located somewhere. Very much expecting this with a NIMBY approach by some people colouring the results. I would take the 90% as a positive result although I think the researchers had to tone the results.

'The implication here is that SEVs are not regarded as a significant source of nuisance by the majority, but that a significant minority feel such clubs are inappropriate because they promote sexism, crime and encourage antisocial behaviour. This group appears to harbour concerns that SEVs might encourage and normalize particularly negative attitudes towards women. Perceptions of SEVs therefore appear to be strongly shaped by gender, though men living with children in their household, and those over 40, also appears significantly more likely to be opposed to lap dance venues. Religion and ethnicity made no significant difference to attitudes to SEVs.' 

The key phrase here is "a significant minority": without the actual figures, it will be hard to judge just how significant that minority is. Considering the fact the report said earlier that venues are not associated with nuisance crime reports, the fear of crime and antisocial behaviour is unfounded, and you then have to consider whether that minority willing to change their views, or if they have fixed opinions with little or no truth behind them. As to the negative attitude towards women, the people I have met over the years in venues are the least likely to have them: not saying we are all perfect or saints, but people would be much better looking at the imagery and lyrics in modern music as shapers of sexism in young people.

'Around one in three of our respondents claimed to feel reasonably or very unsafe walking in the city at night. This group was significantly more likely to say there were too many SEVs in their town than those who felt safe, and more likely than any other group to say they would avoid walking past a lap dance club at night. Women were significantly over-represented in this group, suggesting the presence of SEVs in the night-time city may have gendered effects. This was explored in our guided walks, which suggested women were more likely to note, and comment on, the presence of SEVs in their local towns than men. Here, unease about SEVs appeared more related to questions of class, morality and disgust than fear, with SEVs contribution to antisocial behaviour and rowdy behaviour deemed marginal, and in some cases insignificant, compared with other venues.'

Part of the methodology was to take people from the survey around town including walking past venues. The important thing to note is the claims of fear made to the survey suddenly seem to dissipate and become moralistic judgements. The statement we so often read about venues causing women to fear them seems not to be as accurate as we were lead to believe.

'Notably, SEVs that had discrete signage, were well-kept and did not overtly sexualize the public realm appeared least likely to provoke unease among participants in our walk-along events, who were concerned about the impact of advertising on children.'

This comes down to discussing signage with councils. I have no doubt that providing both parties are willing to co-operate a positive result will be forthcoming

We now move onto to the conclusions, some are no brainers others will require a little thought:-

'Opposition to SEVs appears mainly based on perceptions that clubs normalize sexism and promote anti-social behaviour rather than any direct experience of crime. Those who have children in their home appear significantly more likely to describe existing SEVs as a source of nuisance, while women are most likely to argue for fewer SEVs.'

So, belief that something is wrong rather than fact, which we have said so many times. Remembering that only 3% of respondents describe a venue as being a nuisance, this is such a small minority that until we see that full breakdown of figures, I question the significance of the statement.

'However, not all clubs are perceived to have similar impacts on their locality, and some communities seem more accepting of SEVs. Some clubs are judged to be better managed, and some locations as more suitable. This implies the need for considering each application on a case-by case basis. Irrespective, current approaches based on excluding SEVs from residential areas or near schools appear to be widely supported. However, few regard SEVs as a major threat to children’s safety, suggesting concern is primarily about the normalization of particular attitudes towards women among young(er) people.'

I do not doubt some people will worry about this, but discrete venues should not be an issue. The provision for venues in suitable locations should minimise exposure to children and considering the opening times of a lot of venues changes in signage will mitigate the risks to children. Although nothing will help them with the sexualisation on TV.

'The implications here is that licensing needs to take seriously its commitment to Gender Equity and Equality, and that objections based on grounds of sexism and morality might be considered when determining licensing applications given these might have implications for the appearance and naming of clubs (noting most people first become aware of lap dancing clubs in their city by seeing them on their streets).' 

This sentence took a little aback after all the positive messages in the report. However, we should note that the use of the moralistic approach to judging venues was not put in place in the previous change in the law; so currently trying to take a moral approach would go against the legal position. I would question morals being a guideline especially as they cannot give a standardised approach. So the question is if a moralistic view was taken on SEVs what would follow? It would certainly be interesting to see a test case before the European Court about whether a business be closed on moral grounds.

Overall a very positive report, certainly going back to a case by case review rather than this misfiring nil policy. I think that in a survey that was performed on 941 people and only 10% totally against venues once again shows the moral high ground is extremely wobbly, with nowhere near as much support as campaigners against striptease venues had hoped.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Objects Out Of Date Resources

Tony N spent some time looking at Objects media resources to consider exactly how strong the basis of their argument against clubs really is.....

Object links on Lap Dancing Clubs, have 12 resources they quote so I wanted to examine just what they are and how relevant they are to the UK in 2012.

The first quoted resource is by Julie Bindel and was written to deliberately strengthen the stance of certain campaigners in Scotland. The research is now out of date due to the 2009 changes in Law. Having worked in consultancy to government bodies I can safely say that the end result is usually what the person who commissions the reports wants and so the report is written in a way to show the results wanted at the outset. Given that Bindel has written inaccurate reports in the past and her bias this wouldn't be something I would choose to back my arguments up.

The second piece seems to not be available on the net any more.

The third piece is not found either.

The fourth resource, Eden I is based on Lilith (see below)

The fifth resource is the Holsopple, a really rather old report from America that has no validity in discussing current UK trends.

The sixth resource is drawn from a book dealing primarily with prostitution. The striptease issue draws its information from the Holsopple report so has the same issues.

The seventh resource is based on US Midwest and Melbourne Australia. Not really sure how either applies to the UK.

The eighth resource is everyone's favourite the Lilith report. We all know that it has been shown to be a waste of paper and the fact that Object still trot it out knowing how poor the research is would in my opinion make them liars.

The ninth resource is from Chicago researchers into Prostitution and once again I would question the relation to the UK striptease scene.

The tenth resource is about policy to protect dancers/customers in Scotland. This is partially based on the Bindel report but does not suggest closing so much as changes in practices.

The eleventh Resource is from research and studies in Australia and again I find that I question how it applies to the UK.

The twelfth and final resource is from the University of Florida... think I have said this before but not sure how this applies to the current UK striptease scene.

Also people will have seen the book that Object are so fond of quoting, 'Stripped' by Jennifer Hayashi Danns and Sandrine Leveque. Well this one also gets me, a book written by an ex dancer and co-authored by a then paid member of staff of Object. I found it interesting that in interviews Danns has clearly stated that just closing the venues is not what she wants. So we have a book that is in part written by an organisation that knowingly quotes inaccurate information. 

Not sure I would believe everything in the book.

The key issue that TonyN has underlined is the intellectually flimsy basis of Objects campaign. The fact that the resources page contains so many out of date links also illustrates that Object themselves seem to have lost interest in a fight that in the beginning they thought would be a quick win.....

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Cost Of Living and a Life

As I start writing this posting its about 4.45pm, the sun has set, its cold outside and I am glad to be in for the evening. My dinner is in the oven, I have a coffee on the go and I've just finished a fag (slang for a cigarette for my American readers...just so there's no confusion about my leisure habits). Anyway, as I write this loads of people are on their way home and at least thinking about it, but there is of course another group whose day is about to start, these are the bar staff, door people and of course the dancers that work in clubs throughout Britain.....

I was speaking with a dancer on Saturday who was somewhat concerned about being able to pay her fees. No, not her 'house fees', she was worried about the fees for her degree course, which amount to £7,000 a year. Lot's of people come Britain to study for a degree of some description and a number of them become dancers or work in clubs. Prohibitionists such as Object and UK Feminista don't really believe these people exist, for them dancers are abused, ill-educated and above all traumatised individuals for who the loss of their job would be a feminist blessing in disguise.

Some prohibitionists argue that even if there are dancers and bar staff that are studying for degrees, there is no necessity for them to work in lap dancing clubs. I want to explore this, so lets look at the economics of the matter and what expenses need to be covered....

Cost of Degree Course                                                                   £7,000 per annum,
Single Room with shared facilities - £600 per month or                    £7,200 per annum,
Food and drink on a budget of £40 a week or                                 £2080 per annum,
Phone bill on a budget of £50 a month or                                         £600 per annum,
Clothing on a budget of £50 a month or                                           £600 per annum,
Other stuff on a budget of £100 a month or                                     £1200 per annum.

Let's add all of this up and we see that it comes to £18,680 a year. This number doesn't include travel expenses, text books and other resources or any real provision for an emergency such as a dental problem. So we can see that the average foreign student in the UK, needs either their parents to pay for everything or get a job that after deductions leaves them with about £19,000 a year, or before deductions, the thick end of £26,000. The parents of foreign students tend not to have a spare £26K in the bank, so the students are on their own and they look for a job...

But what kind of job?

Well its got to be one that allows flexibility of hours, let's face it degree courses involve attending lectures and of course essays and assignments must be completed. Furthermore, we must consider that student visas limit the amount of hours that can be worked. 20 hours per week in term time with a full time allowance during holidays.

So what kind of job in the UK can pay about £26,000, is flexible about attendance and involves no more that 20 hours a week?

Lets really make it simple for the clowns in Object and UK Feminista to understand what is going on, by looking at the hourly rate target for this imaginary job that our foreign student is looking for....

36 weeks term time at 20 hours per week..                          720 hours

16 weeks holidays at full time of 40 hours per week             640 hours

So its a total of 1360 hours a year can be worked, if of course they take no holidays at all. Divide the hours by the gross salary and we see that our student needs to a find a job that pays just over £19.00 an hour. I'm not even going to bother to try and find it on a job search site.....but hang on there is one job where that kind of money is easily achievable.......

I now understand why Object et al vehemently deny that dancers may be students. It's really simple. Radical feminist campaigners seek to close clubs, this would of course make lots of people jobless. The uncomfortable truth for the prohibitionists is that an inevitable consequence of their campaign would be the termination of a large number of degree courses and a lot of very disappointed students whose futures would then be in doubt. So as far as Anna and the gang are concerned, its best not to think about it.

Think for a minute what it must be like for a foreign student in Britain. They have studied hard to be able to take their degree course then they have flown sometimes thousands of miles from their families to study in Britain. They have arrived with whatever savings they could muster and must then support themselves for 3 to 4 years. They are on their own and yet they still make it through.

Incredibly, there exists a group of middle class 'feminists' that at best want to see the students that choose to work in clubs made jobless and if their education and futures get screwed up as a consequence, then that's fine because at least they are not being 'objectified'. It's also important to note that not all student employees are dancers. Some are bar staff and they work much harder for less money, but they still work in a club and would be jobless if Object and UK Feminista get their way....

Recently in Pakistan, we saw that a school girl, Malala Yousufzai was the victim of an attempted assassination by Taliban activists, due to the fact that she vocally campaigned for her right to education. In Britain, we see a group a activists are engaged in a campaign to, by default, deny high quality education to the thousands of employees of clubs that need their jobs if they are to afford to live and study in this country.

Is there a difference between the Taliban and radical feminism?

Well Object don't have guns but their intentions in terms of this matter seem almost identical and a cause for shame, that is of course if they had the courage to be ashamed.

So that's the end of my article. I've had dinner, done the dishes, my arse is on the sofa and I'm listening to Steely Dan ('Black Cow' at the moment). The point that I want to make is that I understand how lucky I am to be in a place that is mine, that is secure and full of toys that make life bearable. We must never forget that other people have the right to have the same thing and to seek to deny them that right in the name of an intellectual abstract is inexcusable.

Friday, October 26, 2012

You Must Read This Trash........

Cruising over Objects marvellous Facebook page, my eye was drawn to a link to an article in The Independent written by someone called Louise McCudden. The article seems to seek to make some kind of point, but for the life of me, I cannot work out what it is. You can see the article here.

The title 'Spearmint Rhinos 24 House Strip Club and Page 3 - You're Not About 'Choice' For Women' is cumbersome to say the least but at least it makes some kind of proposition. Let's go into things in a little more detail...

The piece a opens with a view about Spearmint Rhinos proposed trading licence and what kind of person might want a dance at 7am. It then goes onto to fold in some unattributed comments about feminism being dead, Harriet Harman being linked to the conspiracy of silence over Jimmy Saville and finally mentions the tragic suicide of Amanda Todd due to online sexual bullying. After laying out its table, McCudden then asks the killer question....

What do these stories have to do with each other? Not much, perhaps. But they all exist in the same world. We’ve tried a lot of solutions to this and nothing seems to be working. Has the time come for us to ask whether these issues are all part of one destructive tapestry? Some call it rape culture. Whatever the terminology, we need to ask ourselves whether such a tapestry exists – and how we might all, unknowingly, be adding to it.

Sorry I am a bit confused. In the first instance McCudden admits that the stories don't have much to do with each other, then goes onto speculate that they might have something in common as they all part of something that she refers to as 'rape culture'. By the way its all our fault that it exists.

'We've tried a lot of solutions to this and nothing seems to be working...'

We've tried a lot solutions to what? What is 'this'?

The all-important service provision of 24 hour lap dances by Spearmint Rhino has been controversial: the local council allegedly received 22 letters of complaint, including some from those who make use of, or work at, the nearby almost-as-important service, a local hospital - and its maternity wing. Perhaps they missed the memo on ‘choice’.

22 letters of complaint? Just 22? But how would 24 hour lap dancing affect the maternity wing of the local hospital?

'Earlier this month, John Specht, vice-president of those well-known activists for women’s choice and bodily autonomy, Spearmint Rhino (because that’s what it’s all about, right? They support women’s choices; that’s why they’re always showing up on pro-choice demos, right?) encouraged female students struggling with university costs to work for him as lap dancers.'

Sorry Louise John Specht did nothing of the sort because he was selectively misquoted and furthermore, all of this happened last year, not last month, so let's start doing some research shall we?

McCudden then piles into Page 3 and a comment by Neil Wallis in The Huffington Post, who said as follows....

“Why shouldn't a girl stuck behind the bread counter at Tesco, an office girl down the local council, the unemployed, find a new glamorous life via Page Three?”

McCudden really doesn't go for this at all.

And thus, much like Mr Specht, Mr Wallis rather beautifully demonstrates the irony of his own argument.

I am sorry but I do not see any irony in either comment by Specht or Wallis. Happily McCudden then goes onto to make herself look stupid with the following comment.

I’m keen to hear to examples of millionaire women with either earned or inherited wealth choosing to pose on Page 3 or give lap dances at Spearmint Rhino. I’m keen to learn how many heterosexual rich white men are choosing to wear a thong and gyrate against men they don’t fancy for money.

Well of course you don't see this, people with earned or inherited wealth don't generally need to work at all. What's the point of the above paragraph? People work in clubs and pose on Page 3 because they want to earn more than the average salary and because they are equipped to do the job. What was McCudden trying to prove by mentioning 'heterosexual rich white men' working as strippers? Is the point that because rich people don't work in clubs or Page 3, then the less well off certainly shouldn't. Why isn't McCudden wondering about gay black men that work as strippers?

The No More Page 3 campaign has nearly 50,000 signatures so far, but The Sun, like Neil Wallis, is apparently more concerned with the issues that “really need addressing.” For example, the paper has joined others in spitting juice over the BBC’s part in the Jimmy Saville scandal. Curiously, The Sun’s own rather infamous investigative skullduggery does not seem to have been turned on the likes of Saville either, however. Perhaps they were too busy counting down to Charlotte Church’s 16th birthday.

Neil Wallis gets a kicking again because he believed that 50,000 people signing a petition against Page 3 was less of an issue than the fact that Jimmy Savile ran a one man campaign of sexual abuse that lasted over 40 years with the knowledge of certain parties in the BBC. Well, Wallis and The Sun are correct and making comments about The Sun not picking up on Savile in the past is an utterly stupid thing to say because to my knowledge The Times, The Guardian and The Independent seemed to miss it as well.

At the heart of all this misdirection lies a failure to understand the difference between consensual sex between equal partners, and sex as a negative thing; as a power transaction. Whether the manifestation of it is referring to adult university students as girls because they dance naked, or a sneering panic about too much sexual pleasure, we are too quick to blindly accept the notion of sex as a miserable commodity, and increasingly unable to understand it as anything else.

What the fuck has Spearmint Rhino and Page 3 got to do with 'consensual sex between equal partners'? McCudden seems to be one of the ignorant few that believe lap dancing clubs offer sexual services and they do not, but nonetheless she doesn't let this fact get in the way of her.....article.

There is no simple explanation for sexual abuse but if we’re serious about it then every thread in the tapestry that facilitates and normalises it needs to be challenged. And I’m terribly sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, but I’m afraid that at some point, that might even include questioning the implications of the idea that there is some basic societal need for 24 hour access to naked female bodies, if you can afford to pay for them.

McCudden states that there 'is no simple explanation for sexual abuse', but then goes on to imply that there is a simple explanation and its Page 3 and Spearmint Rhino and then goes onto make the point that only a certain sector of society can visit the club because it can get a bit expensive.

Louise McCudden, your article only made me uncomfortable because I couldn't see any sense in it. Indeed, someone made the following comment on the thread that accompanied your piece...

I do wish the Indie would re-employ some subeditors - they at least would try to restrain this dreadful rambling. The conclusion is so far from the start as to be two separate pieces. The conclusion asks a good question, it would have been a better place to start and work towards rather than finding the original idea for the piece had no conclusion.

Please follow the link to the article and read it through for yourself. Maybe I am wrong and it all makes sense, but I really struggled to see the point that was being made. That said, if this is a typical expression of prohibitionist thinking, then we have no worries at all, because no one will be able to work out what they are arguing against and why.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance in Prohibitionist Campaigning

I want to prove a point.

I believe that the greater bulk of prohibitionist campaigners actually know that what they are doing is wrong  and spend a lot of time desperately trying to justify their beliefs to themselves and others. Lets consider some key issues....

Groups such as Object have been engaged in what almost amounts to a ten year campaign to close every club in Britain. They know that this will lead to thousands of people losing their jobs as dancers, bar staff, cleaners and doormen. They know this but still they proceed with their campaign. But at some point, some of them started to feel uncomfortable with the idea of women making other women jobless, uncomfortable with the idea of women telling other women what to do. Let's face it,  isn't the key feminist battle with the 'patriachy' one for female freedom of choice? A freedom that Object wish to see removed.

At some point in the past prohibitionist campaigners started to consider that as they were essentially campaigning to reduce female choice and freedom then what was the difference between them as feminist campaigners and the patriarchy that they so despise.

Justifications had be sought, reasons for their actions that brought them back into the prohibitionist comfort zone. So let's introduce the concept of Cognitive Dissonance.

The phrase Cognitive Dissonance was coined by Leon Festinger in his 1957 book, 'When Prophecy Fails', which was about a UFO cult that fervently believed in an impending apocalypse a subsequent rescue of cult believers by space aliens. The apocalypse didn't happen at the predicted time and date and this was justified by the cult members not by admitting the entire premise was horse shit, but that God had decided to spare the Earth and as a result they should go forth and proselytise.

Festinger developed his cognitive dissonance theory on the basis of his observations of the cult members. The theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance).

Festinger stated that a powerful motivation to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational and sometimes maladaptive behaviour. According to Festinger, we hold many cognitions about the world and ourselves; when they clash, a discrepancy is evoked, resulting in a state of tension known as cognitive dissonance. As the experience of dissonance is unpleasant, we are motivated to reduce or eliminate it, and achieve consonance (i.e. agreement). We do this by coming up with or accepting sometimes ludicrous justifications for what we believe and how we act.

Is this starting to ring some bells for you, especially in terms of recent prohibitionist campaigns?

As I said at the start of the article, prohibitionist campaigners know that one end result of their activities will be unemployed dancers. They know that they as women are campaigning for female freedom but at the same time, are campaigning for certain freedoms to be removed. This conflict creates a dissonance that must be reconciled. Lets look at some reconciliations that we have seen over the past year...

Dissonant Event: We are taking the right of the dancers to earn money in the manner that they see fit....

Reconciliation: We are in fact rescuing the dancers because they are so abused that they have gone crazy....

It is an increasingly common justification used by feminists that the dancers are so essentially so traumatised by their work that being made jobless is the only way to help them. If you think I am joking, take a look at the frame grab below....

If you read it again, you can almost see the cogs turning in the writers brain as they justify ignoring dancer opinions and any academic study that contradicts the standard feminist viewpoint.

Dissonant Event: We tried to rescue the dancers from their traumatic circumstances, but they protested against us in public.

Reconciliation: They protested because they were forced to. Therefore we must redouble our efforts to rescue them by closing down the club where they work.

The above frame grab taken from the Portsmouth on-line newspaper was a reaction to the protest held by dancers outside the Town Hall. The writer justifies their stance by stating that the dancers were coerced, which in this persons view is an industry norm. This therefore justifies the campaign to make the dancers redundant because the campaigners are actually doing them a favour by removing them from a life of coercion. We also see a half baked attempt to brush over the job loss issue by dismissing it on the grounds that maybe the dancers can get jobs in the other places that will open and better still, they will be paid more as well, so everything is good really.

Dissonant Event: The evidence produced to counter the prohibitionist campaigns is well thought out and contains statistics that we find hard to argue with.

Reconciliation: Its all a load of lies and they would say that anyway..

Wiggle made a detailed submission that contained statistics and analysis that demolished the campaign run by Object and the Solent Feminist Network. This was not appreciated by the campaigners, as we saw the other week...

Wiggles submission can be ignored apparently because 'it is full of lies'. Dr Brooke Magnatis demolition of the Lilith Report was based upon statistical analysis of publicly available figures on the incidences of sex attacks in boroughs in London that do and do not have clubs. It was not about opinion dressed as fact. Lilith is the cornerstone of prohibitionist campaigning and feminists were very upset to see it demolished. Some were so upset about the implications of Magnatis work that they just had to dismiss it...

We can see above how a thorough, rigorous analysis of the shortcomings of Lilith are dismissed by feminist campaigners on the basis that Magnati 'would say that sort of thing so can be ignored'.

Dissonant Event: The Licensing Committee considered the SEV applications of seven clubs and after due process, awarded the licences to all of them.

Reconciliation: We need the views to other experts that maybe agree with us and anyway it was all a conspiracy anyhow.

A previous article on this blog, discusses how Leeds councillor Rebecca Charlwood is leading an SEV Working Group that has Object lined up as an 'expert' on the industry. Read more about it here where you will see some Tweets that try an imply the existence of a councillor who is apparently highly knowledgeable about lap dancing clubs in Leeds.

I could go on, but the entire feminist campaign to close clubs is based upon cognitive reconciliations and is therefore intellectually suspect. In many respects the views and justifications for the prohibitionist campaigns is strongly reminiscent of the UFO cult that Festinger wrote about.....

Rebecca Charlwood, SEV Working Group and a Mystery Councillor

We all knew that the Charlwoods would not leave the decision to licence 7 lap dancing clubs in Leeds alone. We know that they tried a petition that went essentially nowhere, so now it seems that Rebecca Charlwood has set up a 'SEV Working Group'. Now, do not get the impression that is a group that is seeking better understanding of the industry. No, its a group that seems dedicated to finding new and exciting ways to close down at least half of the cities clubs, starting with red Leopard and Wildcats (largely due to their location on the main drag, opposite the Town Hall).

Let's have a look at a cut and paste compilation of their Tweets, where we will find something interesting in the conversation....

The first interesting thing, is not I admit very interesting, just completely predictable and it refers to their 'experts'. I am not sure who the 'academic' from Leeds  University is and they don't name the person, but it might be a ham fisted attempt to imply that it was Dr Teela Sanders, who I doubt would give these fools the time of day. Who or what the 'P from equality unit' is, but I imagine they lectured on how lap dancing clubs violate some aspect of equality law a la Object. Speaking of Object we can see that they are lined up to speak at the next meeting along with someone from the Domestic Violence Unit, who will attempt to link clubs with incidences of abuse.

So in terms of 'expert' advice, it seems to be exclusively those that have things to say that the 'Working Group' wants to hear. I tried looking some minutes on Leeds Councils website, but couldn't find any reference to the group, so that tells me that this is an unofficial undertaking.

Now, I am sure that you are sure that you spotted the interesting stuff in the above exchange. Alex Sobel asks who was on the 'expert panel' and right on time Andy Charlwood opens his gob again and makes a comment about the identity of a Leeds councillor being 'an expert on Leeds lapdancing clubs'.

Alex in his innocence requests clarification and Andy Charlwood asks him to guess the name of the Councillor. At this point some discretion in demonstrated and Alex Sobel quite wisely declines to play the game and states that he will 'leave this alone'.

I have a couple of observations to make here. The first is that for these people to be indulging in public 'nudge nudge wink' antics about a councillor that they won't name, is of course very childish. The second point is that this clearly one of their conceptual platforms from which they plan to reverse the Licensing Committees decision to license the 7 clubs. Yes readers, it was all a conspiracy orchestrated by a Leeds Councillor that secretly visits the venues....

The clubs in Leeds are very lucky that the primary opposition to their existence is people like this who will, lets face it, shoot themselves in the feet every chance they get. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how things develop.....

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Guardian in Positive Article About Strippers Shock

No, you're eyes are not deceiving you.

No you are not experiencing a hallucination.

There is actually an article in The Guardian about strip tease that is positive. Go here and read it and make some positive noises as well. In fact go there quickly before Polly Toynbee finds out and has it deleted.

The comments make predictable reading of course, but for The Guardian to publish something like this is quite frankly unprecedented. The author, Susannah Breslin is running a blog project, 'Letters from Men that Go To Strip Clubs', which is as it says and maybe its worth a visit, you can find it here and make a contribution as well.

This is all happening right in Objects backyard and maybe this signals a change in perceptions, then again maybe not, but still its better than the kind of stuff we are used to reading....

Its been a better year than I dared imagine for the industry and Object and its group of middle class supporters have suffered defeat after defeat....

The Horns opened in Islington,
Wildcats, Red Leopard, Black Diamond, Liberte, The Purple Door, Silks and Deep Blue in Leeds all had their licenses renewed,
Urban Tiger was re-licensed in Northampton,
Portsmouth has allowed its existing club to stay open (also Wiggle won its planning appeal as well so will be staying open. Never mind eh Charlie),
Leamington Council rejected the Nil Cap so Amara stayed open and Shades got its licence,
Newmarket rejected the Nil Policy so Heaven Awaits remains open.

When I started writing in this blog in January, I hoped that it would act as a focus for opposition to the Nil Policy enthusiasts. I never imagined  that almost 28,000 page views later that we see so so many successes and Object trading out of a flat in South London.

This is not a time to be complacent though, prohibitionists are almost certainly planning to cause some kind of trouble, but for the time at least, the pressure is off. So go and visit  'Letters from Men That Go To Strip Clubs' and tell the world why you are part of the scene.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Let's All Go To Ampthill

Lets face it guys, we have to support the new lap dancing club which I am sure is opening soon. In preparation for our journey I thought it would be a good idea to write a brief guide to the town, just to ensure that we know what we are getting into.

Well Ampthill is a small town in Bedfordshire with a population of 6,767 people and here are a few things that I bet you didn't know about it.....

The name 'Ampthill' is derived from the name Aemethyll, which was the name of the first settlement. 'Aemethyll' means 'ant-hill' or 'ant infested heap'.

Ampthill has a market every thursday and has been doing this for over 750 years, which by coincidence is the age of some of the stall holders.

Property prices in Ampthill are very high, in fact it is one of the most expensive places in Bedfordshire to buy a home, unless you are The Queen or at least was once in the band of the same name.

Ampthill doesn't have a railway station, because it was closed in 1959 by the Government in order to discourage local residents from going to London because of the high levels fail they were responsible for generating everywhere they worked.

Ampthill is famous for the quality of its hairdressers, of which there are 56 in the town centre.

When Waitrose announced they wanted to open an branch in Ampthill, local residents tried to resist because Waitrose wasn't seen to be 'middle class' enough.

Ampthill is a haunted as fuck! Locals have reported seeing strange lights, heard strange noises and there have been rumours of murder, ritual sacrifice and live burials, but the police couldn't get enough evidence to prosecute anyone.

When someone tried to open an alternative clothing store in Ampthill, local residents tried to resist because they didn't want 'vampires walking the streets'.

The night life in Ampthill has been described as 'a handful of shitty pubs and an even shittier 'nightclub' which you can't even really call a nightclub'.

When someone tried to open a tattoo parlour in Ampthill, local residents tried to resist because they 'didn't want those kind of people' on the streets.

Did you know that the people of Ampthill will get their kit off at the drop of a hat for charity? Here's the guys...

Bigger boobs than the dancers in Shaylers club.......
Here the girls......

Whatever must their children think......?
Did you know that recently over 700 local Ampthill residents attended a protest against the opening a lap dancing club in the town. 

Did you know that Ampthill has links with the Beatles? Local resident, Emily Atack has a grandmother who is Paul McCartneys cousin.

Speaking of The Beatles, they were once booked to appear in Ampthill but were driven out by a mob of enraged locals because of the 'unacceptability of their hair styles' and 'drug songs'.

Center Parcs are building a new resort near to Ampthill, much to the annoyance of the locals who don't want outsiders shitting in the streets and being sick everywhere.

Ampthill even has a football club, Ampthill Town FC and did you know that they were the South Midlands League champions in 1959 and in 1999 they were runners up in the Spartan South Midlands League Senior Division. Wayne fucking Rooney or what?

Did you that the 1972 John Boorman film Deliverance is based upon the James Dickey novel of the same name. James Dickey never visited Ampthill at all, which is a fucking shame, given the inspiration the town could have given his writing.

Did you know that is it rumoured that the girls in the lap dancing club are rumoured to be East European and Brazilian, but somehow I doubt that any of them will be arsed to make the journey up from London.

And another literary is possible that John Wyndham, author of The Midwich Cuckoos (later filmed as Village of the Damned) drove through Ampthill once and if he did, what inspiration did he draw from his time there?

Did you know that Ampthill has my almost undivided attention at the moment and that this blog has a world wide readership?

Did you know that when someone tried to open a lap dancing club in Ampthill, the locals tried to resist because there wasn't a sneaky side entrance they could use to get inside without being seeing by their wives?

Did you know that some of the locals are worried about how the town looks to the outside world?

Did you know that no one outside Britain even knew that Ampthill existed until I started blogging about it?

Did you know that this protest has given the club quite literally priceless publicity and that the locals still haven't worked out that had kept their mouths shut it would have all been over in a matter of months, but now half of England is going to want to visit the place.

So that's Ampthill for you, a place like no other (outside Iran) and I bet you can't wait to visit it......

In The Wake Of Portsmouth - A Message For Paul Nelson

It was inevitable that prohibitionists in Portsmouth would become agitated at the failure of their campaign, in fact  there have been some really cool responses on the Portsmouth on line newspaper. One however really stands out and it was made by you, Paul Nelson. You are clearly very upset by the submission to the Council made by Wiggle Club. This is what you had to say about it....

According to you Paul its all lies. I am familiar with the submission and as result can comment on your allegations.

The submission does not claim that 'all the people who oppose these clubs are a member of either Object or the Solent Feminist Network. What it does illustrate is that Object and SFN were the prime movers behind the campaign.

I fail to see how you can be bemused about anything because the submission clearly shows frame grabs from both Object and SFN inviting objections and assuring people that they do not have to be residents of Portsmouth to take part. What is hypocritical about using comments from the news website? They demonstrate local depth of feeling and I bet an analysis of the IP addresses would reveal the geographical location where they were made from and I bet its Portsmouth.

Paul, you clearly didn't read the analysis of Lillith at all. It clearly illustrates errors in the original authors mathematics and highlights shortcomings in the statistical analysis methodologies employed. There is a very nice graph there as well, which clearly shows that incidences of rape and sexual assault actually fell in boroughs that had clubs.

Paul, I note that you chose to keep quiet about the analysis that demonstrates the dramatic drop in crime around 'Wiggle', but then again you probably think its all lies.

Now Paul, lets its time to look the 'HARD FACTS!!!'.

In the above comment that you submitted against an article in, that has been frame grabbed for all to see above, you make some very serious allegations. You said the following...

'...........I have been met with abuse, lies and threats from the Wiggle/Elegance mob...........'

Its grown up time now Paul and I want answers to the following questions.....

1. You state that you have been met with abuse from a party that you refer to as the 'Wiggle/Elegance mob'.
    What form did this abuse take?
    When did this abuse take place?
    Who conducted this abuse?

2. You state that you have been lied to by a party that you refer to as the 'Wiggle/Elegance mob'.

     What lies were told to you?
     What evidence can you provide that what you was told was untrue?
     Who told you these lies and in what format were the lies told to you?

3. You state that you have been threatened by a party that you refer to as the 'Wiggle/Elegance mob'.

    Who threatened you?
    What form did the threat take?
    When did the threat take place?
    Did you inform the police about the threats?
    What action are the police taking?
    If you didn't  report the threats to the police, can you please explain why not?

4. You state that you are neither a member of Object or the Solent Feminist Network.

    Can you confirm that you are not an associate member of either organisation?
    Have you an association with someone called Charlie Dacke?

Making allegations in a public forum about 'abuse, lies and threats' is a very serious matter and I look forward to your responses. Surely it is in the best interests of the prohibitionist campaigners for you to prove your allegations.


5. Paul, how accurate is the following comment about you?

Brilliant comments on Paul Nelson. When a friend of mine started the Facebook support group ( Paul Nelson joined under a fake name after blocking the creator and admins of the group so they couldn't see his comments. He then went on to do pretty much what he did in your example, while throwing in a few personal slurs about the group's creator too. He was eventually removed from the group and blocked and his comments were also taken down, so unfortunately you can no longer appreciate the sheer joy of some of the statements. I know him and can assure you, Rick is alive and well and living in Paul Nelson.

Paul I am so sorry....I remember you now and I have to apologise for taking you seriously. Still, let's have some answers and lets have them fairly soon, just for the sake of my personal amusement more than anything else......

Lets Look At Some Comments

In my previous posting, I said we would look at the anonymous comment made about the person who would prefer to remain nameless. Well, this afternoon has been a bit quiet, so I took their text and broke it apart into easily arguable chunks. Depending upon your connection, the image may take time to load...

If people make comments like this I will treat them in this manner, largely because its fun to do so and we all need a laugh at times. But the important issue is that the above level of comment is essentially as good as prohibitionist comments actually get. Lets look at the issues....

Are prohibitionist comments all  like the above because they have nothing else to say and they know it?

Why do nutters always use BLOCK CAPITALS to make their point?

Will I ever get a comment from a prohibitionist that actually takes some time and thought to argue against?

Don't you find it weird it strange that the one workplace where men groping women or making lewd comments would never be tolerated is a strip club?

Does this mean that strippers have done more to promote the equal treatment of women than any feminist in existence because they have immediate access to people willing and able to deal with morons?

By the way, glad to back and will be blogging again soon.

Lets Look At Freedom of Speech....

In terms of the subject area I choose to write about, my blog examines the views of other people and criticises them. As you know, I allow comments to appear unmoderated. I have no interest in suppressing freedom of expression, If you have a point to make, please feel free to make it.

I wrote a piece some months ago which mentioned as a sideline, some comments a particular individual made about clubs and the 'damage they do to society'. I am not going to mention the name of the posting for reasons that will become clearer later in this article. Anyway, my piece attracted the attention of someone, because this comment appeared in response......

(Person X)  totally understands the concept of civil liberties just the same if not more than you. I think the point you quite obviously can't comprehend is that the fact that these ladies are exploiting their sexuality for a job is wrong within it and is sadly representative of society as a whole. Because of this, women in this society are set certain expectations which unfortunately men are not and this is clearly imbalanced and further unequal. Have you ever seen an advertisement/magazine/movie accentuating the penis of a man? Do men have a certain sexual image to live up to?Do you see a valid proportion men jumping around working as lap dancers and flopping their penises around? Furthermore, a study done by Jacobeson and Mazur (1995) states that both MEN and WOMEN are more likely to read women's magazines. Why? Because this society PROMOTES THE EXPLOITATION OF FEMALE SEXUALITY. Furthermore places/jobs like these are perpetuating this matter and it is completely wrong. It is not about liberating the 'society' as you so beautifully put it, it is about liberating a gender that is completely and utterly degraded to a state where only sexuality matters and brains are not! (Person X) totally understands the concept of civil liberties just the same if not more than you. I think the point you quite obviously can't comprehend is that the fact that these ladies are exploiting their sexuality for a job is wrong within itself and is sadly representative of society as a whole. Because of this, most women in this society are set certain expectations which unfortunately men are not and this is clearly unequal. If you still can’t comprehend, then answer: Why is it that women of higher statuses are expected to fullfill a certain image and men are not. Have you ever seen an advertisement/magazine/movie accentuating the penis of a man? Do men have a certain sexual image to live up to? Furthermore, a study done by Jacobeson and Mazur (1995) states that both MEN and WOMEN are more likely to read women's magazines. Why? Because this society DISGUSTINGLY PROMOTES THE EXPLOITATION OF FEMALE SEXUALITY. Furthermore places/jobs like these are perpetuating this matter and it is completely wrong. It is not about liberating the 'society' as you so beautifully put it, it is about liberating a gender that is completely and utterly degraded to a state where only sexuality matters and brains are not! 

This quite wonderful stream of consciousness comment was withdrawn because it names the person who I wrote about in the blog. This is important because I later received an e-mail from Person X, which reads as follows....

As you can see I have redacted everything I can and I have to say that the request was made in a polite manner and that is why I agreed to it. That said, I wish to make a point.....

Anyone that makes a comment on a public forum that I feel is noteworthy, will attract a comment from this blog. If people do not wish to attract the attention of this or any other blogger, then don't make comments in public. The character that made the comment stated that Person X 'totally understands the concept of civil liberties just the same if not more than you'. Well I quite obviously can comprehend that they clearly don't when they email me and demand that I remove all reference to them in a posting and then go on to instruct me that I cannot write about them again.

Freedom of expression is critically important for a healthy society. Anyone can say what they wish, but others will comment upon it and that must be accepted. I will not, without very good reason, withdraw a posting or even part of one again.

At some future point I will go through the above comment in detail and highlight what I view to be its flaws, but in the interim I would advise whoever sent in the comment to not write things like that when they are drunk, because it undermines their ability to make lucid arguments and it also means that write the same comment twice and fail to notice.

Finally, speaking of comments, I also had this one appear as well, written in response to a piece I wrote about Cath Elliot in January...


I really don't know where to start with this one, maybe someone can help me.....

Victory In Portsmouth

After a month long lay off I can say that things are somewhat clearer in my life and as a result, I can return to blogging. That said, not at the same rate as I have done in the past but you can expect an article a week or an article whenever there is something worth writing about. Happily, we absolutely have something worth writing about as well.....

Friday 12th October saw Portsmouth Council meet to decide the future of lapdancing clubs in the City. As you know it has been a long and hard campaign and clubs have been subject to a variety of  tactics by prohibitionist campaigners. We have seen Facebook campaigns, anonymous mailshots, untrue accusations of  trafficking and protesters appearing outside venues trying to intimidate customers and staff. I am glad to report that the anti-club campaign failed....

Although Portsmouth Council declared a Nil Policy, existing venues can remain open, although there will have to be a compelling reason for anyone new to try and establish themselves in the City and be allowed to trade..

I was unable to attend the meeting, but I have been given a flavour of what happened. The Solent Feminist Network attended and tried to defuse the clubs counter argument about job losses. This was a silly idea because any campaign to close clubs will lead to widespread redundancy, but I gather the view presented was that this was necessary for the 'collective good'.

I am also informed that certain people were very unhappy about the clubs and this blogs campaign to counter their arguments and tried to sell the idea that the presentation of arguments contrary to their own amounted to harassment. Really? If that's harassment, I wonder what their name is for people standing outside a club and screaming their heads off.

The Solent Feminist Network commented on their Facebook page....

I find it amazing that the letters from women complaining about harassment never thought to report it to the police at the time, but let's face it, they always appear at licensing time and we do know that this tactic was pioneered by Object some years ago and as a result, Councils tend to ignore the letters as they are somewhat doubtful.

There is one group that will be free from harassment though and that is the dancers and bar staff of the clubs in Portsmouth, because no longer will they have to run the gauntlet of feminist protesters outside the venues. Perhaps the most incredible statement from SFN is the assertion that they are not 'anti-stripper'. Is this some kind of joke? So we are expected to believe that a campaign that aims to close every club in Portsmouth is not 'anti-stripper'?

Lets look at it another way....

Radical vegans start a campaign to close every delicatessen in the City, but they assure us that they are not 'anti-butcher'....

Racist clowns start a campaign to close every synagogue in Britain, but they go onto assure us that they are not 'anti-semitic'.

Of course SFN are 'anti-stripper', because dancers are seen as 'gender traitors' and therefore are letting down the side.

The most contemptible part of the SFNs statement is the 'society where women and girls are not for sale'. So once again, we see the dancers insulted by being referred to as prostitutes and for good measure, SFN throw in the nudge nudge wink, 'girls' angle.

One of the most heartening results from the meeting in Portsmouth was when SFM tried to use their well worn 'the girls are exploited, traumatised and don't know what they are doing' angle, they were firmly slapped down by the Council. Councillor Les Stevens said as follows...

"We listened to well-thought out, eloquent arguments from both sides who were for and against changes to policy.

"Our decision was to agree a policy where the number of current sex establishments premises were sufficient for the city and when considering any new applications there would have to be very persuasive argument to agree to any more. We took our lead from public consultation which was overwhelming in its response against adopting a nil policy.

"We listened to people working in these venues and felt that the current sex establishments have not caused a rise in crime in the area. We noted the women working there did so by choice and were extremely well looked after and adopting a nil policy would put jobs at risk."

97% of respondents were against the Nil Policy furthermore the Police confirmed that crime in the areas around the clubs has in fact decreased. A resident from the flats opposite Wiggle stated that they were initially very worried about the club opening, but since then had learned that their fears were unfounded and that residents felt safer due to the constant presence of security staff. This blog made the same point some months ago.

So there we are, another shattering defeat for Object (especially after Leeds), but what will the future bring? It will bring more protests of course, because feminist campaign groups cannot be seen to have failed in what they promoted as being a landmark campaign. So where does this leave us? It means that the dancers and staff in the Portsmouth clubs can now look forward to the next year with some degree of security and maybe even make some concrete plans for the future. In terms of the Solent Feminist Network, it leaves them making plans to ensure the dancers and staff can't make any plans at all.....

I am told that this blog has played a part in these campaign victories and I know that prohibitionist feminists read it. They must also be aware that I am reducing my postings, but do not misunderstand me, if the need arises I will post everyday. I wish to make another point as well, I do not wish to learn that any dancer, club staff member or venue has been the subject of harassment by feminist groups frustrated by their lack of campaign success. If this happens, this blog will do its upmost to ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Stuff Coming Up...

Over the next week or so we will look at freedom of expression, stupidity in Oxford, middle class horror in Ampthill and look at some of the stranger comments this blog gets