I have been spending some time broadening my understanding of the industry and looking at researchers and projects from around the world. From the political disaster that is Iceland that has passed very touchy feely laws but is unlikely to get the revision of it's constitution through to the Christian right in American and their plausible but ultimately untrue arguments about strip clubs. Wasn't how I was intending to spend my time but you read a little here and a little there and next thing you know you have lost a couple of day and your eyes have gone squinty.
Judith Lynne Hanna... never heard of her? Well I hadn't until the last few days and yet this woman is a powerful acedemic and is a Senior Research Scholar in the Department of Dance and Affiliate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, an educator, writer and dance critic. Hanna has been an expert witness in more than 100 cases around exotic dancing all over America and there is one statement she makes more than any other that sticks out for me. The naked truth is that the separation of church and state is under siege and our civil liberties—free speech, women’s rights, and free enterprise are at stake. And once again we see sections of feminists partnering with religious organisations that are likely to be more oppressive to women than the most exploitative club manager. As she points out the Christian right has been against all forms of dance over the years.
I also enjoyed reading an interview with her where she pointed out a different view to some radical feminists. She points out that objectification can actually give women power over men. She points out that in America the dancers are primarily educated and dance for the money as well as the empowerment. Her expertise on dance means that she can analyse striptease and make value judgements on the industry. I have been fascinated with her work and the fact she is so aware of the big challenges and who is really leading with them.
Now of course there are people putting forward all sorts of theories and it is easy to cherry pick those that most fit our personal views. I would not be human if I wasn't subjective in my attitude. However I like to think I have an open mind I will listen to empirical evidences. My brain is geared far more to mathematics than language (can't you tell from my grammar and typos?). Single test cases whilst interesting need a control sample and clearly defined terms of reference. Having read Eden, Lilith, Bindel 2004 and the latest report from Professor Hubbard I have seen a lot of discourse about clubs. What I haven't seen is commentary from say a customer of 20 years or a dancer of over 5 years. The podcast from Moronwatch and information on this blog as informed from the industry side as it could be.
So dancers have started to unionise in the UK, this is a positive you would think, however there is the issue with the political correctness in the Union hierarchy. Recently the Scottish Trade Union Congress offered to host Sex Work Open University events. And then withdrew the offer, which considering the GMB has an adult workers branch is pretty harsh. It also suggests there will be a backlash against dancers who unionise. So here we have an organisation that has been promoting rights for works who is starting to ignore those workers that do not fit in with someone's theory of how things should be. Now considering the National Union Teachers has recently been commenting on porn and the lap dance culture and how it will affect young boys and girls. I have a few issues with the stance taken as who are the most vocal members of NUTS? Who are likely to be out there with an agenda? Could it be a feminist or two? We have already commented on this but lets be sure we all understand that within the political agenda there are subsets and those are the ones I fear.
So we have this whole issue about porn and lap dancing and how it causes young men to turn into out of control sex beast and rapists. So I thought well they didn't have striptease going back in history but rape still occurred So unless I missed something and the Vikings all popped into Spearmint Valkyrie before going off pillaging. Or the Romans had a high speed feed from the walls of Pompeii with all the naughty bits on the walls causing them to behave the way they did? Actually apart from cultural issues and war the average human being deplores rape, yes even me that horrible sex beast that has spent so much time inside the dens of iniquity. It is not the environment that causes people to descend into animal behaviour. Sometimes you have to accept that there are people that are arseholes out there and it is nothing to do with where they go of an evening but what is hard wired into their brain. Just remember when you label a whole group that has fans across all aspects of society you objectify everyone you have labelled as you say they have no agency,
Amazing isn't it everything these people protesting about objectification do seems to involve objectifying others but that's okay as they are doing it for the right reasons (at least in their minds).