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Help me argue that Sexual Entertainment Venues shouldn't be licensed by councils

(56 Posts)
LineRunner Tue 20-Sep-11 16:13:35

I've had an email from a friend who lives down south who is giving a deputation tomorrow at a council licensing meeting which is looking at the policy for licensing Sexual Entertainment Venues e.g. 'lap dancing clubs'.

She only has a couple of minutes to put her points across.

She has asked me, what should she say, to a committee of largely male middle-aged middle-class councillors, to make them see that these venues are far from being a bit of harmless fun?

Personally I think she knows all the arguments and will be excellent - but is there anything that might especially be useful in this arena?

ObviouslyOblivious Tue 20-Sep-11 16:18:25

Would she rather they were unlicensed?

LineRunner Tue 20-Sep-11 16:21:41

The question is, should there be a strict set of criteria before licenses are granted - such as not in residential areas, not next to schools or colleges, etc.

There are no unlicensed ones operating in her city.

However a number of pubs wish to convert to become SEVs, and she is against this.

Tyr Tue 20-Sep-11 16:23:53

Why is she opposing them if she doesn't have enough solid arguments of her own?

southeastastra Tue 20-Sep-11 16:28:04

i wonder if she is from my local who have just had this today, aparently the fat old councillors joked they would have to visit it hmm.

makes me quite mad really - tory sleazebags

southeastastra Tue 20-Sep-11 16:28:44

blimey can no-one really come up with anything on this topic at least??

ObviouslyOblivious Tue 20-Sep-11 16:32:22

Has she familiarised herself with the content of other council's licensing policies? Page 62 of the document linked on this page might be useful.

LineRunner Tue 20-Sep-11 16:33:23

She does, and they are, if I summarise:

1. 'I want to feel safe in my neighbourhood and not be pestered by men asking for sex';
2. There is evidence that some (bit not all) women who work at SEVs are exploited or vulnerable (See: Stop The Traffik).

Tbh I have a concern that SEVs operating as pubs might encourage some men to have a view of women and women's availability that is out of kilter with RL, and I've emailed that to her. Could it be argued that SEVs in residential neighbourhoods normalise the commodification of women?

UsingMainlySpoons Tue 20-Sep-11 16:40:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LineRunner Tue 20-Sep-11 16:40:21

Obviously Thanks for that; that's brilliant, really helpful.

Southeastastra Bloody hell.

LineRunner Tue 20-Sep-11 16:41:11

Using Thanks - this is such useful stuff; I appreciate the rapid help!

UsingMainlySpoons Tue 20-Sep-11 16:42:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mouseface Tue 20-Sep-11 16:46:54

Good points UMS smile

LineRunner Tue 20-Sep-11 17:14:47

Just read the Westminster policy which is very clear:

"Applications will not be granted in proximity to residential accommodation; schools; places of worship; community facilities or public buildings. [The Council] will have regard to the cumulative effect.."

That's what Ms C [pal] wants to achieve.

I hope that the precedent that Obviously has pointed out will help her put her case.

Thanks, everyone.

I do believe that licensed is better than unlicensed; but this is about the criteria for legally sanctioned licensing being stated in a policy that may exist for the next five years.

I wouldn't want my local pub on the corner to be able to convert to a lap dancing club.

AliceWyrld Tue 20-Sep-11 17:25:53

I don't know if we're talking at cross purposes here, but the reason that the council are looking to license them is because previously you didn't need any license. They were regulated in the same way as coffee shops. There was a campaign to get the recognised as something different to buying a coffee, which means LAs not have to go through a process of licensing them and through this placing restrictions on how many, where they can be, what kind of safeguarding they need to do etc. They can set a number of zero, effectively banning them. But most councils are going down the road of setting restrictions.

So now it's not about arguing that councils don't license them, it's about influencing that process. As in the name of the game currently is influencing the licensing process of the LA, not trying to stop them being licensed at all. Of course we can all argue what we want re what the ideal would be, but that won't get anywhere at the moment, as they are responding to the concessions that campaigners did manage to get.

Does that make sense? Or have I missed the point entirely.

And this is the link you need. Under Stripping the Illusion.

AliceWyrld Tue 20-Sep-11 17:28:41

Re the local pub turning into a lap dancing club, prior to the legislation they could just do this. Post the legislation they will need to put in an application that can be objected to. So there's the stage of the council policy (which it sounds like you're at), then there's the stage of protesting about clubs when they try to get their licenses. It's worth trying to get 4 dates in the year when such applications can be submitted (this can be in the council policy) as then you don't have to trawl the applications every week.

ThePosieParker Tue 20-Sep-11 17:42:23

It ruins the 'gateway' to the city. This means it, essentially, lowers the tone and is unattractive to visitors and people that want to invest.

Please take a look at Fawcett who work tirelessly to campaign.....Bristol Fawcett.

ThePosieParker Tue 20-Sep-11 17:43:44

So please also look at proximity.

Personally I object to the word 'GEntlemen's" club.....nothing gentlemanly about it.

ObviouslyOblivious Tue 20-Sep-11 17:46:19

Is the council in London?

orangina Tue 20-Sep-11 17:51:33

We had to fight this locally a few years ago. Object, Fawcett, all good sources of material. We got someone from Object to speak at the hearing too.

orangina Tue 20-Sep-11 17:52:20

If you want to pm me, I can send you some of the material we submitted, it might help.....

ObviouslyOblivious Tue 20-Sep-11 18:09:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JessinAvalon Tue 20-Sep-11 18:36:22

I have tons of stuff on this as we have recently had 4 SEV applications in Bristol.

If you want to pm me, I can send some documents through by e-mail.

Below is an excerpt from Bristol Fawcett's objection to an SEV licence. The gaps in the text are where references are. I can send the whole document (with others) through by e-mail.

"In 2005, the Child and Woman Abuse Study Unit at London Metropolitan University were commissioned by Glasgow City Council to review lap dancing and table dancing clubs. Their study concludes that there is evidence that activities within lap dancing clubs are in direct contradiction with equality between men and women, and normalise men’s sexual objectification of women.

When women are valued for their supposed sex appeal this is at the expense of their other attributes and qualities (aka sexual objectification, as encouraged by and practised in SEVs) and it acts to reinforce gender inequality . Sexual objectification dehumanises women . Male domestic violence offenders using the sex industry use more forms of aggressive violence and more controlling behaviours than those who do not use the sex industry . After being exposed to images that sexually objectify women, men are significantly more accepting of sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, rape myths, and sex role stereotypes – all of which act to reinforce gender inequality . Importantly, this increased acceptance of harmful attitudes is not confined to particular women but generalises to women as a group. Objections such as this which cite evidence of harmful attitudes to women and gender inequality arising from commercialised sexual objectification are not employing “moral” arguments but are foregrounding issues of equality, human rights and public policy.

It may be argued that a small number of women or perhaps a very small number of men will ‘benefit’ from self-employment as performers if this licence application is granted given the potential earnings available. However there is evidence that working in the sex industry also exerts a toll in terms of impact on spending habits, drug or alcohol abuse, exposure to assault, and psychological well-being . This is not to single out particular performers in this particular establishment, but to make clear that even claims about ‘benefit’ to the small number of performers in a club are questionable. Otherwise, ‘benefit’ in the form of financial profit accrues to the owners of the premises.

If it is being claimed that the potential customers who would pay for a sexual experience under the terms of this proposed licence would ‘benefit’ then the benefit is only that they would be able to purchase sexual gratification and that they would be able to exercise a sense of entitlement to women’s bodies – both of these ‘benefits’ are deeply problematic and research shows us that they are to the detriment of women and to gender equality. So the council must ask itself whether the ‘benefits’ to customers - who could enjoy a night out at the same premises without SEV taking place, in the absence of an SEV licence - outweigh the detriment to women and to the local and wider community.

The Royal Town Planning Institute guide on Gender and Spatial Planning says that “lap dancing and exotic dancing clubs make women feel threatened or uncomfortable”. There is no mitigation for the feelings of threat, unease and degradation felt by the numerous women who live and work in Bristol and who find the operation of the commercial sexual objectification of women on the high street abhorrent; threatening to their personal safety; and/or an affront to equality."

JessinAvalon Tue 20-Sep-11 18:38:10

ObviouslyOblivious - London have been licensing SEVs differently to the rest of the country for some time. The change in legislation in 2010 was intended to bring the rest of the country in line. It's not mandatory though and councils could choose whether to adopt the legislation (but if they didn't, they had to hold a consultation within 12 months to determine if they should).

LineRunner Tue 20-Sep-11 19:52:18

God, you are all bloody fantastic.

This is as much about speaking up as it is about the content, but it is often hard to do one without the other, so thanks.

AliceW, completely getting you.

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