Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dancers in Chester Speak Out

So as we all know Objectification is a notion central to feminist theory and seen as one of the biggest issues that face SEVs. It is an argument trotted out on every occasion to attack clubs, now one of the issues that are defined within Objectification is defined by Rae Langton as silencing: the treatment of a person as if they are silent, lacking the capacity to speak.

So knowing how that stands one of the things that has been seen whenever dancers speak out is the ignoring of their arguments and denial of the ability to voice an opinion. Whilst not sexual it still reflects exactly what Rae Langton defined in 2009. So we often see discussions that are between the anti sev brigade and club owners who are often seen as the bad guy, the bully or the criminal. Now I don't know every owner but blanket definitions actual make things worse.

However you can imagine how please I was when I found that a local Chester paper had interviewed dancers and their opinions are voiced (here). I want to emphasise the voice of this blog is that we want to see well run clubs that are a good environment for dancers and customers and in the long term that will benefit the owners. There will always be the odd clubs that has issues but shutting well run clubs hurts everyone involved in that club.

So we see that dancers working there have paid mortgages or are planning to open their own businesses which is so much better than on zero hour contracts filling shelves and being abused by management knowing that the workers have very little choice if they want to earn but to take whatever is thrown at them. Dancers creating businesses are not the inert victims who are unable to think, uneducated and submissive. When you read what these women express that point of view seems foolish in the extreme. Sally Haslanger who draws her work from MacKinnon says that for men to sexual objectify women men believe that women are in fact submissive and object like and view this as their nature. Over the years I have met a lot of guys at SEVs and the one thing I have experienced is that none of us view the dancers as submissive or object like. I would not claim that I have never fantasised about a dancer but then I have fantasised about Debbie Harry back in my youth and if I am completely honest I would find my desire comes closer to Haslanger with Debbie Harry than any dancer I have ever met.

So what I am saying here? Well closing well run clubs that the dancers and customers enjoy being at is the least bright idea I can think of. However you do get people who will happily deny dancers their voices and in the case of many anti sev campaigners they treat the dancers as instruments to be used as part of the arguments which as we know reflects Martha Nussbaum's view of objectification.

Sometimes the best way of speaking is with many voices.

TonyN (

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Turn for an Open Letter

Okay firstly I want to explain a bit before flying into this. I was originally working on a template for a letter for clubs to use in response to the templates used by those against the clubs. However this blog has always been against using templates as it stops people being free thinkers and turns them into sheeple. Now I may be wrong but reading the letters sent in against Shades they read like they came from up to 4 templates. The arguments never varied, lines were trotted out almost in a set order and swapping mails with Chasmal reminded me that whilst I could make a template that is not what we are about. Now I am being followed on twitter by a certain Green in the Shades area and maybe he would like to comment on the template issue. So instead I have written an open letter to those decision makers who sit and decide on renewing or granting licenses. I would also say although this open letter covers a lot there is nothing like talking to the dancers to understand the impact a decision can make.

This is an open letter to councillors and MPs who believe that Striptease venues are a risk to society. I have produced this arguments before in the blog but now we have readers from the political spectrum thought it wise to put most of it together.

Dear Politician

I am writing to you to express my concern in your beliefs about striptease venues or SEVs as they are branded by the councils. I have several issues about the beliefs that people have expressed and want to be sure you understand the opposing point of view. Obviously there is only so much that can be expressed in this format but if you open your mind and research further you may be surprised.

Firstly I want to pick up on the claims made by many feminist groups that there is a correlation between striptease venues and rape. This claim is made based on a couple of fallacies. One, the Lilith Report commissioned by the EAVES group, the mathematics used in this report was not examined properly and checked. When it was it was shown to contain errors that meant the data could not be trusted. There is a full systematic tearing apart of the report by Dr Brooke Magnanti if you want to find out how badly wrong the report was. Eaves has now removed Lilith from their website and research by this blogger under freedom of information showed that over a twelve year period including the period that Lilith covered rape figures fell and also fell per 1,000 head of population. Also claims have been made by a member of police in Cornwall that clubs would increase rape. This was later shown to be inaccurate and an online regional newspaper showed that the area concerned had seen a downturn in sexual crime since the introduction of Striptease. While not showing a causal link between reduction of sexual crime and SEVs it certainly disproves the claims that SEVs add to rape crime.

Then there is the claim of increased crime in general around striptease venues, this again is a fallacy and if investigated you will find that nightclubs are between and and 10 times more likely to have crime in comparison. The obvious reasoning behind this is security inside and outside the SEVs and CCTV. The clubs want to continue trading and will be very aware of the issues of crime and do what they can to minimise anything associated with themselves.

Occasionally you will hear people claim that the dancers must be trafficked. As you will know there have been no links to clubs found during both Pentameter and Pentameter 2 and is just a desperate smear attempt to create fears in people who have no knowledge of the industry. Because of the regulations and the ability of councils to inspect venues the whole issue of trafficking would be laughable if the subject matter wasn't so serious.

You will see in letters of objections that mention or imply a view based on morals. Whilst everyone is entitled to opinions the guidelines on renewing licenses say that moralistic views are not to be considered when making a judgement. Therefore any objection based on morals needs to be discarded.

So there is the suggestion that dancers offer sex in these venues. Since the regulations have been introduced by the councils about minimum distance, no contact and the risk of clubs losing their license if anything was to happen you can see that nothing is likely to happen. Once again it is a smear tactic by people opposed to striptease who wish to create fears. Of course the dancers sell a fantasy to the customer in the same way a film sells a fantasy. Because of the moralistic claims of religious groups there is a stigma associated to the performers when if you think about it is more about suggestion than fact.

Now we come onto the biggest issue (apart from NIMBY) that children are going to be corrupted or that churches and schools are at risk. Clubs that open during the day should use discrete signage and the fact that it is behind closed doors means children can't actually see anything. And I have yet to see a school or church that is open when clubs are open and busy. If you feel that neon signs should remain off until after the watershed and the club names need to be subtle then you will receive no argument but to claim that children are at risk from these clubs make no sense when sensible precautions are taken. If the clubs had toys or sweets in the windows then the fears might be understandable but people are imposing their own worries onto a group that doesn't care about SEVs.

Many feminists will claim objectification and to some extent that is true, objectification is natural and about sexual desire. However the feminists are objectifying the dancers by denial of autonomy  and inertness  by denying their agency and giving no value to their opinions. This also creates silencing as it treats the dancers like they are unable to speak. The suppression of natural urges may actually be the most negative aspect of the objectification of the dancers by the ANTI SEV brigade. No doubt some will claim objectification only applies to a sexual nature but this is in fact not the case as studies have shown other areas of objectification.

Finally there is the issue of exploitation, and rather than a long winded discussion I would just point out that all people working are exploited in one fashion or another. Dancers have the ability to withdraw labour far more easily than the average worker and can exercise freedom of choice the same as anyone looking to make a living.

So when deciding to challenge a club please consider the above and also remember the number of people employed in the industry and the suppliers of clubs who will lose business and/or jobs.

Yours sincerely

A strip fan.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tower Hamlets vs Central Beds It gets more Amusing

Okay first the whole farcical battle at Tower Hamlets rolls into more issues. Seems the licensing committee has not recommended the policy on the way to full council. This is not the end of the process nor will it even probably change the long term plans but there is the view the council may have been a little greedy asking £9k per annum for each license. Now remembering that Westminster Council was taken to court by a sex shop over the excessive license fees and told they should charge a reasonable rate should give Tower Hamlets pause.

However this is not the end, in fact it is not even close as when the whole business goes before the council the chances are even though 97% of people are against the changes the council is still in a position to ignore what the public want.

Now Central Beds has pushed through its Nil Policy but they now have guidelines as to where any club could be located. Basically they have put down just about every area in Central Beds as there is a 500m radius of all sorts of things but the absolute best one that shows the mentality of some councilors is parks or recreational areas for or used by children under the age of 1. Now not sure how many under 1s are going to be affected by objectification or by the sight of a front of a building. Obviously every under 1 would be asking their parents what goes on in there late at night when I am asleep? I really need a sarcasm font.

Finally been having discussions about TENs which people are campaigning to have changed so any event that would require an SEV if it was regularly cannot use temporary event notices. More of the moral thought police but it raises the question how do women get to go see the Dream Boys or Chippendales etc? As the venues would need to apply for a TENs to hold the event. So no TENs for adult entertainment means no male striptease, I have checked with a couple of councils about how they license these events and been told it is TENs. So all you ladies that enjoy seeing events like the dream boys watch out as if that TENs law changes it will come bite you as well. Still nothing like radical feminism ignoring any other women so they can railroad they opinion through.

TonyN (

Friday, October 11, 2013

Leeds Vs Watford, No not a Football Match

Okay so a couple of things I want to put on the table.

Firstly Leeds, oh no not again I hear you cry. Well it seems that a feminist group called support after rape want to object to the Leeds clubs (here). Now I would really like to see positive support of rape victims but once again there is the myth that the clubs are linked to rape, drug rings and people trafficking. Now they don't even supply links to support their claims (with Lilith removed from the Eaves site can see why it is a challenge) but rely on peoples imaginations to create an image that has no foundation in reality.

Now 6 clubs are wanting to renew their licenses and the website is calling for objections before the deadline on the 24th October. I would ask any readers of this blog that live in Leeds or have/will use the clubs should also write into the Licensing department at Entertainment Licensing, Leeds City Council, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR or e-mail and to the clubs I would suggest you get your patrons and dancers to write in. Ensure you point out that the claims about rape, drugs and trafficking have no basis in reality and that scaremongering based on unsubstantiated claims only reflects badly on those who cannot be bothered to check information.

Ok now we are going to Watford and Beavers has been refused it's license because of the Police. It seems that dancers were offering more than just dancing to two undercover police. The police also believe there is a person behind the scenes who would be refused a license under normal circumstances. Now as much as I would want to support clubs this blog has always been about clubs being run within the legal guidelines and not about the owners but for the dancers and customers. Of course the clubs benefit from this but the focus is that the clubs know the stipulations and if they can't operate within them then they have no one but themselves to blame for losing their license.

Hopefully in the next few days we will have a piece by long time bog supporter Brute and also some news on Tower Hamlets, I am just waiting on something in writing.

TonyN (