Thursday, April 26, 2012

another false statistic from a feminist

On Wednesday on the This Morning programme there was a guest called Samantha Bailey. Samantha used to work as a stripper and has written a book about her experiences called Stripped. Also on the programme was an anti strip-club campaigner called Rosamund Urwin. Samantha spoke first and gave a positive account of her experiences, and then Rosamund replied with this.

"You are ignoring all the ways that it is very harmful to the women involved, to women in wider society and to actually to men. The third biggest cause of debt amongst men is frequenting strip clubs and pornography."

This didn't sound credible to me so I thought I would try to find out where this statistic comes from. It comes from a report by the UK Insolvency Helpline. In the report there are three causes of debt. The first one is drug and alcohol abuse. The second is shopping. The third is sex industry spending. We're not told if there is a fourth category, but these categories are so broad that they pretty much cover everything.

So apparently spending on the sex industry is not as big a cause of debt as spending on shopping. Obviously, we need to ban shopping even more than we need to ban the sex industry. Rosamund Urwin, like many extreme feminists, has used a false statistic to further her cause. She made it sound as if spending on the sex industry is high up on the list of causes of debt amongst men. In fact, it is very low down on the list.

It would have made more sense to have had more categories. Drugs and alcohol should be in different categories. In fact, cannabis should be in a different category from crack and heroin. Then the big category of shopping should be divided up into different categories eg spending on clothes, spending on cars, spending on gadgets. The category of the sex industry should be divided up into lap dancing/stripping, prostitution and pornography. Many men get all their pornography for free from sites like youporn.com.

The report also says that a quarter of people with problem debt have confessed to spending money on sex or pornography. But it doesn't say if this spending is a major component of their debt.

There is no evidence that strip clubs are harmful to the women involved, women in wider society or to men. Some campaigners would have us believe that the introduction of lap-dancing clubs in Camden produced a 50% increase in sexual assaults in the area. The reality is the opposite.

Samantha has been a guest on the JoAnne Good radio show on BBC London, and was a guest on the show on Wednesday too. The This Morning show and JoAnne's radio show are available to see or listen to again on the BBC website where you can hear Samantha.

This is an important issue because in Iceland stripping has been banned (I don't mean the food store).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/25/iceland-most-feminist-country
Jónsdóttir is confident that the law will create a change in attitudes towards women. "I guess the men of Iceland will just have to get used to the idea that women are not for sale."

http://www.salon.com/2010/03/26/iceland_bans_stripping_strip_clubs/
Just last year, Iceland outlawed prostitution, and now it’s squelching “adult entertainment” entirely. (Apparently the near-bankrupt country isn’t buying the pop wisdom that the sex industry is recession-proof.) The politician behind the bill, Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir, explained: “It is not acceptable that women or people in general are a product to be sold.” Johanna Sigurðardottir, Iceland’s prime minister — an openly gay politician, which is a first for a head of government — added: “The Nordic countries are leading the way on women’s equality, recognizing women as equal citizens rather than commodities for sale.”

The argument that the Icelandic feminists are using is that in the sex industry women are 'for sale', a 'product to be sold' or 'commodities for sale'. I don't think this makes any sense. I have never bought a woman's body, only a service or some time. They want to link the 'sex industry' to slavery, but really it is they who are taking away women's options and forcing them into poverty.

This type of feminist wants to dismantle the permissive society that we have enjoyed since the 1960s. They want to take away from women a right, and they are pretending it is not really a right by using false statistics. If they want to do this they should use better arguments than 'women are not for sale' which doesn't even make any sense. If you want to ban things in a way that the Taliban would heartily approve of, then you need to have damned good arguments, which they do not have.

It doesn't matter much to me if I am not allowed to see a stripper. But it makes a big difference in the lives of many women if they are stopped from making a living. There is a recession on and jobs are hard to come by, in Iceland as much as anywhere. The politicians in Iceland should be worrying about how women are going to pay a mortgage, rent or bills. The good thing about stripping/lap dancing is that women can make money from the 'sex industry' without having sex. Some of these women will give up and be poor and others will go into prostitution.

Feminists often wonder why so many women say they are not feminists. Don't most women believe in equal pay and votes for women? Of course they do, but there are different forms of feminism. Most women do not believe that stripping and pornography should be banned. They don't believe the false statistics. Just as the word 'liberal' can mean different things, so can the word 'feminist'. I am a liberal, but I don't support the party that bears that name.

Caitlin Moran in her book 'How to Be a Woman' writes "Men don’t HAVE to see tits and fannies. They won’t DIE if they don’t have access to a local strip joint." True, but then men don't have to read Lady Chatterley's Lover either. In a permissive society men and women should be free to do what they want unless there is a damned good reason why they shouldn't. I don't believe that the state should decide what I am allowed to see.

The other thing that Rosamund Urwin said that annoyed me is that stripping is sad. I'm not sure what she means by that, but I know that some time ago one of JoAnne Good's guests called lap dancing sad. Ben Duncan visited a lap dancing club and said it was sad because the men thought that the dancers fancied them. I don't believe that any man who visits a lap dancing club thinks that the women there find him attractive. I think men should be credited with more intelligence than that; I find this quite demeaning.

Monday, April 23, 2012

walk ups in Shepherd Market

Sometimes I have a little walk around Mayfair. It is the only other place in London where there are walk ups. I did go into one once but it seems to be more expensive than in Soho, so I have never actually punted there. I took some photos a week or so ago. The doorways look the same as in Soho, so if you've never seen the entrance to a Soho walk up this is what they look like. You can click on a photo to get a slightly bigger image.

 The photos are of:-
36 Shepherd Market
50A Shepherd Market
52 Shepherd Market
30 Shepherd Market
19 Trebeck Street
the final photo is of the square in Shepherd Market where two of the walk ups are (36 and 50A)