I'm going to be keeping an eye on UK activism, legislation and media coverage against pornography, porn workers, raunch culture, etc.
On that note, if you can cast your minds back to this revolutionary move by Charliegrrl, I did a bit of an investigation. I was appalled that the leafleter apparently punched, kicked and threatened her when I read her post, but given her little twisting of truths (my truths, on one occasion) in the past, I wondered if there was more to this than her account gave out. I know a little bit about the club, as plenty of my friends attend on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure, by their accounts, that the women who cage dance and lapdance are there by their own volition. They are not forced, they are not coerced.
So I wrote to the club owner, intending to blog:
I've never attended your club, but am intending to next time I'm up
north! I'm a feminist with an interest in strip clubs, pornography,
SM, etc (in that I'm pro-all these things).
However, there are a lot of anti-porn, anti-sex types out there,
and I couldn't help but notice that one of them blogged in celebration
about attacking someone who works for you, and your property:
I am intending to blog about this incident myself, and was wondering whether her little write up about the worker attacking her physically was, well, a little exaggerated. Is there any chance you can tell me the other side of the story?
They responded with the following:
Sorry, I have not responded to this earlier, I have been away. Thankyou for contacting us.The otherside of the story is : Basically we had a worker who stands in Manchester Centre promoting our Rock club, and at this point the promotion that was displayed had No Reference what so ever to lap dancing, as we didnt want to upset anybody and obviously are mature enough not to be putting this infront of minors. On the day in question, it was the worker who was approached with some force. However he was not physically attacked himself, but the girl in question made a lurch for the advertising board he was holding, and they began to wrestle over it(tug of war). In his disbelief he let the board go out of his hands, and the girl ran into H&M and hid the board. She then came out of H&M and ran off down Market st. She was no way attacked or even pushed. Our worker infact was slightly shocked but more embarrassed about the situation that he'd been setupon, infront of the busy shopping area.He is a very peaceful young lad who was merely stood there minding is own business with his Ipod on. All our promotion that is conducted in public refers to our club as a Rock venue which it is primarily. The Lap dancing is available and it is really important to point out here that we have an even split of Males and females who attend. Within the Rock community 30% of the females who attend have lap dances from the girls, some of the customers attend are Bi sexual, some lesbians, how does this fit with our said friends views. Surely it is up to the girls who decide to work and also the girls who choose to have dances from the girls. Nobody is forced. I am all for a well reasoned lively debate and think peoples opinions are extremely important and should be respected, whether they be feminist activists, the lap dancers or female or male club owners. What I cant understand is the way she conducts herself, as I am a pacifist and would rather use my brain. I am fully aware that all feminists do not conduct themselves in this manner and understand she muddies the water somewhat. I could go on a real rant about her, but honestly dont feel she is worth the time as I wouldn't expect to get a well reasoned response for her behaviour. What I will say is, I feel she is slightly displaced within herself and is obviously craving some attention to be seen as some kind of martyr.
I am always available for a converstaion and to answer any questions or concerns you may have, I would also like to extend an invitation to come and visit our establishment and would welcome you to speak to the girls who work with us and see how they feel about the job they do.
I hope this answers your question and as I said please feel free to contact me anytime. We honestly have no ill feeling towards your friend and if she wanted to come and check out the club and see how many women attend to put her mind at rest, there would be no problem.
So, we have two very different accounts here. I don't want to disbelieve Charliegrrl. I don't want to think she's lying in order to make her story there seem more dramatic, more palatable. But alas, I don't believe her. I suspect what actually happened was probably somewhere in between their stories, but it is, frankly, embarrassing, that a 'high profile' UK feminist blogger is happy to bend the truth in order to get her point across.
I'm all the way with Ren on this issue. Sure, go out there, educate people about the sex industry, post your views on a blog, set up events, argue, debate. It's all good.
But I just don't see how this kind of action, attacking publicity for clubs you don't really know anything about, and then lying about the actions of people involved in that club, is ever going to wash as exciting, revolutionary action in the name of feminism. It's destructive. It's derogatory and threatening to the women who work at or attend the club, and bewildering to most everybody else.