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.
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.
A strip fan.