So back to that document from Bindel and firstly I want to draw on her methodology. The covert interviews with both customers and dancers has some ethical questions as to why dancers could not be interviewed face to face? Certainly Saunder and Hardy did that in their work and reflected exactly what the dancers said. Was there a worry about the dancers saying things that would not reflect the direction the report wanted to point? So we have now look at how the dancers and customers were selected? Was there a demographic reflected in the work? A totally random sample of 20 customers and dancers should have thrown up a wider range of answers. It appears that the selection may have been on a criteria that was given to the interviewers and we have no idea why any were selected. The worry I have is that no customer was interviewed in Spearmint Rhino in London, the reason given was the customers were unapproachable. I would love to know what that means and how it was decided a customer was approachable. The structure of the methodology for the covert interviews raises questions on how and why people were targeted. This also applies to people interviewed outside the clubs as the use of the word random raises questions. If you are going to interview 20 people then 10 of each sex would seem appropriate but we are not even sure of that.
There was a diagram (figure 1) which is suppose to show the drivers that "cause" the possibility of prostitution. As no study was done in the research about the average earnings of dancers the diagram is a generalization that has no facts to back it up. In fact when you look at the research in 2009 by Leeds University and the earning power of the average dancer of £232 per shift after paying fees the indication is that dancers are quite capable of earning over £4k a month. This makes the claims in figure 1 seem rather invalid, one can only assume that dancers gave the interviewers the I am going to earn nothing story to try and get the interviewer to spend money, as no validation seems to have been done by the interviewers and we cannot assume no dancers were earning from working. So the drivers given by JB are assumptions and we all know what ASSumption are.
Now to look at table 2 again, there is an awful lot of not knowns, in fact I would estimate 50% of that table is not known. And even better is the no special conditions for Legs and Co where the table makes it appear that under 18s could get into the venue even though standard licensing laws would preclude that. And to be honest that truly is a misrepresentation of the club as the report acts as though no licensing laws apply to venues when as they sell alcohol they obviously are governed by licensing laws.
Interestingly the report make claims that the clubs are run by criminals. However licensing laws would preclude people with unpsent criminal convictions from obtaining a license. There could of course be people who are suspected of being criminals which are being referred to, but nice to see innocent till proven guilty being applied (not) if this is the case. Police have the ability to stop alcohol licenses and if a criminal applied they could easily stop the issue of licenses. Ignoring the police's abilities and yet making claims about crime you wonder just how the police is seen by the author? Certainly with freedom of information the public can easily find out about crime around the clubs if it exists.
Bindel does offer some support for dancers when she states “There is little doubt that improving working conditions and contractual arrangements for the dancers would, nevertheless, be of benefit, at least in the short term.”. Why the short term you ask? Well I would take a wild stab in the dark that someone expected venues to close in the longer term. It is a shame there wasn't more support of those women who choose to dance from the radical feminists along these lines rather than the close the clubs and don't worry about the impact it would have on female employment. Interestingly not every feminist has that view including a lot of dancers who see themselves as feminists but are being told that they can't be feminists because they don't fit in with the radical feminists belief in how the world should be.
The use of drugs is something that has me scratching my head, the report says some dancers use drugs and yet I can point out that some doctors use drugs, some investment bankers use drugs, some academic staff use drugs. I know a couple of dancers that will smoke pot but club owners are very aware of the damage drugs being found on the premise would have for their license so they are very against drugs. Certainly I haven't seen any epidemic among dancers in the 20 plus years I have been on the circuit. No doubt there will be the cry they use drugs to dull their sense or they couldn't dance, given that an estimated one in three adults have used drugs at some point in their lives then sorry if you tried to close every industry that used drugs they would be no industries. And how many feminists use drugs? Should we ban feminism because some feminists use drugs? Lets be honest woman found with joint doesn't look like getting a headline but if it was lap dancer found with joint suddenly the whole thing changes. It does show the very two faced nature of these sort of claims.
Still more gems are buried in Bindel's report and all I can say is that in my opinion it has no value now. It may have had a little value in 2004 and that would be generous but in 2013 the report bears no reflection on the current state of the industry in the UK and some of the bibliography quoted in 2004 has even less value. Certainly with Lilith being withdrawn there is now a spate of documents that were previously supporting the radical feminists have lost their importance. Anyone using the Bindel report in 2013 as a resource for the trying to close clubs needs to have a serious rethink!!!!!! I look forward to the chance to debate the validity of the report with anyone who believes it is worth defending.