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.


  1. Apparently everything is part of a continuum.
    Using the continuum argument means that ANYTHING they disagree with can be linked to sexual abuse and violence by means of innuendo.
    The argument doesn't have to make any sense, it is merely intended to register in the reader's mind so the reader believes that the writer is saying something profound.

    These articles also try to create the impression that sexualisation is increasing at an alarming rate and that sexualisation is the big problem, even though Savile's abuses began decades ago when there was apparently much less sexualisation.

    1. Ooh no, sex-u-li-sat-tion: the deadly weapon of the Pat-ri-ar-chy! ;-)