Monday, April 30, 2012

The New Misogyny

This is the sites hundredth posting and it was going to be about some exciting news that I understand is coming my way. That said, TonyN inspired me to write a new article, so I decided that it should take precedence and that exciting news could wait...

The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women was proclaimed on 20th December 1993. It is a sad fact that the idea that women have a right to a life that is free of violence and fear is a recent one. As we can see it even took the UN 48 years to get around to making a declaration. Nonetheless is was made and I like to think that we are all better off for it. That said the struggle remains in some areas.

There is an interesting background to the Declaration in that one its key aims was to counter the then prevailing view that violence against women was essentially a private matter that didn’t necessarily merit state intervention.Since its inception, things have not always run smoothly. Many people have taken the view that the progress made since 1993 is being threatened by the rising tide of conservatism across the globe. 

In 2003, an Iranian delegate suggested making some amendments, such as the one that called on governments to condemn violence against women where it crossed into territory that was seen to belong to the religious side of things. Representatives from Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan and amazingly the US also raised objections about certain aspects of the wording.

To my knowledge, Object have never raised any issues about the way that the Declaration was worded. 

They just go and ignore it whenever they see fit and justify their actions under the 'fight against objectification'.

What? I hear you say…

Well, lets have a look at the Declarations articles and see what we think…

Article 1

For the purposes of this Declaration, the term "violence against women" means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

Objects entire campaign is based upon attempting the wholesale closure of strip tease and lap dancing clubs, thereby depriving the dancers and other staff their livelihoods, therefore inflicting psychological harm and suffering on the women who fear their loss of income.

The Object website contains details of what clubs to attack, therefore threatening specific venues with closure and almost certainly causing anguish to those whose jobs may be lost.

Despite what Object and its apologists say, dancers choose to be dancers, therefore the campaign to close clubs amounts to an ‘arbitrary deprivation of liberty’.

Finally the possible loss of licensed venues could well give rise to appearance of illegal, unlicensed venues whose operation would lead to ‘physical, sexual’ harm.

On the above basis, Object stand guilty of numerous contraventions of Article 1.

Article 2

Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following:

(a)   Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;

(b)   Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;

(c)   Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.

Object and other groups, such as the Solent Feminist Network have conducted frequent demonstrations outside clubs that have caused ‘intimidation at work’ for the dancers as they attempt to enter and leave the venue.

The empowerment of local councils by Object, to apply SEV legislation to close clubs amounts to ‘psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State’, due to the fear and anguish that is causes those that work in the clubs.

On the above basis Object or indeed any group that have appeared outside a venue, stand guilty of contravening Article 2 (b) and 2 (c).

Article 3

Women are entitled to the equal enjoyment and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.  These rights include, inter alia:

(a)   The right to life;

(b)   The right to equality;

(c)   The right to liberty and security of person;

(d)   The right to equal protection under the law;

(e)   The right to be free from all forms of discrimination;

(f)   The right to the highest standard attainable of physical and mental health;

(g)   The right to just and favourable conditions of work;

(h)   The right not to be subjected to torture, or other cruel,
      inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Object make a point of saying that their campaign is not designed to curtail the choices that dancers make to pursue their chosen profession. But nonetheless, the closure of a club removes the choice to work there, therefore violating womens ‘fundamental freedoms in the economic field’

Objects organised campaign to close clubs also violates womens right to have the ‘liberty’ to choose to be a dancer and the absence of a job violates their ‘security of person’.

The things that Object have written about dancers and clubs on their website violates ‘the right to be free from all forms of discrimination’. A good example of this would be the comments made about dancers in Hackney being trafficked drug abusers that perform oral sex for clients.

Object whole campaign and its objectives violate the dancers right to ‘the highest standard attainable of physical and mental health’, something that would be difficult to achieve if they are unemployed.

Dancers are self employed and they find those conditions to be favourable to their lifestyle and ambitions.  The closure of clubs would remover this option, thereby violating the ‘right to just and favourable conditions or work’.

Being abused as you leave and enter your place of work violates the right not to be subject to ‘degrading treatment’.

On the above basis, Object and other feminist groups are accused of violating Article 3 (c), 3 (e), 3 (f), 3 (g) and 3(h).

The biggest joke of all, is that Object refer to themselves as being a human rights group. Whose rights are they campaigning for though? Its certainly not any of the 12,000 people that work in the strip tease and lap dancing industry.

I suppose this is what leads me to the saddest thing of all, which is how Object squandered the chance the do some real good. What Anna and the gang could have done is work with the clubs to look at working conditions, they could have expressed their views in a manner that was conducive to cooperation and mutual understanding.

Instead they went for the cheap option, declared war on everyone and rebuffed every attempt at mutually beneficial discourse and applied for grant after grant.

Speaking of grants, I thought it might be  nice idea to remind you about those bodies that funded Objects violation of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

They are as follows…

Trust for London
The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd
The Maypole Fund
Charities Aid Foundation
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Allen Lane Foundation
Garden Court Chambers Social Fund
Awards for All (National Lottery)
City Parochial Foundation

Lets not forget the organisations that are happy to be affiliated to Object and its Declaration violating activities…

SERTUC (Southern and Easter Regional TUC)
Unison South East
Unison Kent
Unison South East Electricity 
Unison Yorkshire and Humberside
Unison Eastern Women's Committee
Unison NPS WM

Finally, lets also consider the awards that Object have won for violating the Declaration…

Government-backed Capacity Builders Award - 2009
Third Sector Charity Awards 2009 - 'Highly Commended'
Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize, 2009 - Winner


I find it hard to believe that this blog has reached its century. As I have said in the past, I want it to be more than a site for fighting prohibition and shortly I intend to post some requests for articles and information that could help broaden the scope of what I am doing.

Thanks to all of  you that have read and contributed, made suggestions and in general made StrippingTheIllusion what it is today.




  1. You would hope that Organisations on the Object supporters list would have realised this. However we now hope that they find this out and ask Object to remove their name from their supporters. Perhaps GMB or Equity would or should be pointing out this to Unison (although Charlie Dacke won't like it).

  2. If you look at yesterday's Guardian, you'll see that the Bindel bigot has been at it again - this time, 'reviewing' Dr Brooke Magnanti's new book, The Sex Myth: Why Everything We're Told is Wrong:-