Strip Clubs & Feminism

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A battle is being declared on London's strip clubs, with many council leaders insisting that no more should be allowed to open.
Feminist journalist Laurie Penny believes that more fundamental issues need to be addressed in the sex industry and banning lap-dancing clubs will not resolve these.

“We're not going bring down the patriarchy just by preventing new lap-dancing clubs," she said.” bbc

In the not too distant past, women who ‘chose’ to work in strip clubs did so because of the coincidence of both gender and and their occupation of a lower socioeconomic class. They had less opportunities than men, but with equal or more responsibilities. In general, though women in a patriarchal society were relatively disempowered - whatever socioeconomic class they occupied -when it came to the lower classes, and women of such classes not being able to avail themselves of lace, teacups and cucumber sandwiches, as might quite a few women portrayed in Jane Austen’s novels, prostitution, strip clubs, were some of the choices left to women.

However, this is not as much the case at present as women do have greater number of choices than their counterparts in the past, albeit severely compromised by the continued existence of the class system. Whilst, on the one hand, we have the equality of opportunity, we do not have equality of access to the resources required to exercise said opportunity. Hence, some women might fall back on the age-old trade of show & sell. Patriarchy, in this context, means less about, ‘men ruling society’, but the elite, whatever the gender, doing so.

Given increased vigilance over the right of women not to be molested sexually within and without the home, proscriptions against marital rape, divorce settlements, and so on, men have increasingly become the ‘weaker sex’ as they do not have the socioeconomic clout that they did in the past to have their way with women. In the past, men were the exploitative users, whilst women were the exploited sex objects. Given the increasing equality of women with men, we can say that the continuing pubescent weakness of men, minus their previously advantaged position, enables women to exploit said weakness.

The acts between men and women in such a situation seem similar to that in the past, but the meaning of it cannot be taken from the past but the reality of gender-equality in the present.
It’s easy to say, in an attempt to absolve oneself of complicity in this dismal state of affairs, that women being exploited also means that women are exploiting their exploiters. Who’s exploiting whom? But to determine whom the exploiters are in such a relationship, we’ll have to look at the presence and absence of equality. So, we can say that a patriarchal state in the past renders women the exploited class. However, when we get to a relatively egalitarian state, and men are encumbered with the same sexual weaknesses as they were in the past, then, the tables are turned. The acts between men and women in such a situation seem similar to that in the past, but the meaning of it cannot be taken from the past but the reality of gender-equality in the present.

In the past, the right to say ‘no’, and have it respected, was more dependent on the gender of the person. Right now, this right is increasingly more dependent on class instead of gender. So, exploitation of women may be true when it comes to those of lower classes, but the legal rights of women make it not as much so.

Women and men sharing power economically, politically and socially, enables women to exploit men because of men’s weakness.For instance, there was some ad I watched on the television not too long ago where a girl, in her early teens, stated confidently, ‘Girls Rule and Boys Drool’. This, amongst a host of other instances evident in pop culture, the media, et cetera, indicate that the ascendence of women is quite dependent on the all-round empowerment of women being simultaneously dependent on the continuing weakness of men - weaknesses that weren’t deemed to be weaknesses because of men’s ability to have their way given the depressed status of women economically, politically, and socially - a man being cross was enough to get a women to uncross. In the past, men’s right of access to a women was dependent on their socioeconomic status. In the present, the woman can say no whatever the socioeconomic status of men.

It seems that the feminist movement, whilst seeking equality with men, has simultaneously led women to become as bad as men. They didn’t bring down the patriarchal fortress, but have sought to share it with men. Thus, for instance, Margaret Thatcher, known as the ‘Iron Lady’, was deemed to be so not because she was a strong lady, but as strong or even more so than many men. Equality between men and women was synonymous with the assimilation of women.

it is men who taught women to be like men by giving them equality on condition that they became as bad as men. Men kept their weaknesses intact, and that just about places women on top, even when they aren’t.It is within this context that we can understand how the patriarchal and exploitative ethos of the ‘past’ might find a new host in women. Strip clubs, prostitution, et cetera, may be relics of a patriarchal past, but remove patriarchy, and such devices become a means to exploit the weakness of men. Look at it this way, women being economically, politically and socially weakened in the past, enabled men to exploit them sexually. Women and men sharing power economically, politically and socially, enables women to exploit men because of men’s weakness. It is men’s fault certainly. But if you think about it, it is men who taught women to be like men by giving them equality on condition that they became as bad as men. Men kept their weaknesses intact, and that just about places women on top, even when they aren’t.


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