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 (


  1. Dancers getting their individual voices heard and making themselves known as real human beings to the general public - what could possibly be more scary to radfems who've tried to co-opt them without their consent as 'victims'?

  2. As for the 'objectification' Debbie Harry, I daresay that it's all a matter of proximity, and that you'd have taken a different view if you'd been a regular at CBGB's.

  3. Yeah agreed and great to hear the dancers speaking out. I think it sends out a powerful message and certainly one that will give a few headaches to the so called feminists who object to the clubs. Also good to see the Platinum Lounge can still operate, with the potential of a legal challenge.

  4. The campaign in hackney was pretty dancer centric and this is what shows that they are there by free choice. Of course you get the argument that the "patriarchy" is influencing those choices, but I am starting to think the patriarchy is shaping the choices of the anti sev brigade. They are trying to stop women earning good money, stop them having freedom to learn and better themselves in fact the anti brigade are trying to drive women back into the home. So here we have those so called feminists actually working against women because the patriarchy has shaped their thinking.