Frat House Legislation

Saskatchewan passed new sexist legislation yesterday which makes all sorts of changes to the Liquor and Gaming Act. There are gems in there like how you’re now allowed to serve liquor without having to serve food, in a licensed establishment, how spas and movie theatres are now permitted to sell liquor, and, my own *personal* favourites, increased flexibility in how liquor is served (“e.g., beer ‘towers'”), and allowing restaurants to operate as adults-only taverns after 8pm. Get to bed, you whiny little brat, Mama’s goin’ for shooters.

I have decided to call this Saskatchewan’s “Frat House Legislation”, and you can find a copy of the amendments here.

Now, I was a little unfair up there at the beginning. I said that the amendments are sexist, and that isn’t true. There’s only one amendment that’s sexist, and it reads as follows:

Allow strip-tease performances and wet clothing contests in adult-only liquor permitted premises; full frontal nudity will continue to be prohibited.

Apparently, this means “no nipples”. But specifically, it means “no girl nipples”. Boy nipples are JUST FINE. And TECHNICALLY, the actual clause that’s being amended is in the Alcohol Control Regulations, 2002, is this:

Prohibited entertainment
63(1) It is a term of every permit that no permittee shall permit or allow in the permitted premises or premises for which a special occasion permit has been granted:
(a) any nude activity or entertainment; or
(b) any activity or entertainment that consists of a striptease performance or wet clothing contest.

(2) Section 139 of the Act does not apply to a permittee who contravenes subsection (1).
10 Jan 2003 cA-18.011 Reg 1 s63; 27 Mar 2009
SR 20/2009 s43.

So here’s the thing. The actual legislation itself isn’t sexist. But in its application, it *is* sexist. “Full Frontal Nudity” needs to be defined. Because to me, that means you can strip down to your skivvies. But apparently the Honourable Donna Harpauer, Minister responsible for Liquor and Gaming, has a different, and sexist, definition. First of all, according to @SMillsSK and @SLangeneggerCBC, who were at the media scrum, Ms. Harpauer used the phrase “the ends of the breasts” rather than use the word “NIPPLE”, which is utterly ridiculous, and I’ll get to that in a moment. But more to the point, the legislation apparently defines “full frontal nudity” completely differently from the rest of the world.

Look, if you don’t want people seeing actual female breasts in liquor-serving establishments, then just stand up and say “the Government of Saskatchewan has chosen to continue to prohibit partially nude performances in establishments where liquor is being served”. And you have to make that apply across the board. No ladies’ nights at the bar where some well-oiled young cabana boy comes out and removes his shirt and trousers to the adoration of dozens of well-corked women well into their cups-in-hand.

No more gents in g-strings at the local Blue Oyster Club either. If you’re going to disallow nudity in licensed establishments, you have to go all the way, as it were.

If, on the other hand, you want to attempt to kowtow to a certain population of the electorate, you can come up with a half-baked asinine amendment to, let’s face it, legislation drafted by people with FAR more churchin’ than any of us actually WANT. You can come up with something EXACTLY like what the SaskParty has come up with.

“Let’s let bars feature strippers, but not ACTUAL strippers, because then we’ll lose the moral majority and the old people. But if we allow bars to have SORTA strippers, we’ll gain the votes of the 20-something and 30-something male electorate, and that’ll boost our numbers!”

I’m *positive* that’s the discussion held behind closed caucus doors. There’s no other discussion that makes sense. If “full frontal nudity” means “no clothes on at all, facing the crowd”, then *FINE*. Go ahead and pander. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say “you can have a wet tee-shirt contest and you can have strippers, but you can’t show nipples”. Well you *can*, but it isn’t logical. When you define your own definition by saying “performers must wear pasties”, you’re being sexist. You don’t see it? Let me break it down for you:

When was the last time you went to a chippendales’ show, or a male revue, or whatever, and saw the male performers wearing electrical tape over their nipples? Let’s assume you weren’t at a bondage show. When was the last time you ever HEARD of male strippers wearing pasties? You never did, did you? Do you know why? Because for some reason, female nipples are terrifying.

I did this whole rant on Twitter about that, btw. If you look up the hastag #FratHouseAct and #WhyNipplesAreBad, you’ll see just how offensive I can be in a two-hour window. Okay, not really, but I did go on for an awfully long time about it.

I don’t understand what the SaskParty is trying to accomplish here. One part of me thinks that they’re trying to provide legislation that allows business owners to feature nude (sorry: mostly nude, nipple-free) entertainment; and the other part of me thinks that they’re terrified of having to deal with the small but vocal groups of people who say that it’s morally wrong to watch someone take off their clothes as entertainment.

Listen, we are so fucking behind as a society when it comes to ethics and morals that there’s no reason ANYTHING should be illegal anymore. Trying to pretend that sex and sexualisation and the whole business of arousal is *not* a commodifiable product is narrow-minded and short-sighted and, simply, wrong. EVERYTHING is a commodity. Religion, sex, politics, innocence, violence, emotions, death, birth, health care…they’re all on the same level as winter tyres and holiday turkeys.

In fact, I don’t think you can ascribe ethics to society. I think ethics are something that individuals possess. But a society is a different animal. It’s a different entity. And I think it might just exist outside of morality and ethics. But that’s quite a different argument from what I’m presenting here.

Permitting men to go topless and prohibiting women from doing so is clearly, and obviously sexist. I do not, have not, and will not support a government that passes sexist legislation. Particularly when the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled on MULTIPLE occasions that women have the right to be topless in public. Sure, individual proprietors of business have every right to insist on what is appropriate attire for their customers. And, within reason, what is appropriate attire for their staff.

But when you come up with something as ridiculous as “women performing in licensed establishments cannot display the “ends of their breasts””, you’re being uncompromisingly, and illegally, discriminatory. And really, WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL WITH NIPPLES? Everyone except Jesus has them. And the jury’s still out on Jesus.

Incidentally, the media release on the government’s website says that the “Government modernizes more than 70 liquor regulations”. I’m not sure I agree that these changes are “modernizations”. But whatever. They’re amending more than 70 clauses in two sets of Acts or Regulations (The Alcohol Consumption Regulations, 2002; and The Liquor and Gaming Regulation Act, 1998). These documents are available from the Queen’s Printer Publication Centre if you’re interested in reading them. Warning: reading Acts, Legislation, and Regulations is pretty sad, trompy stuff.

  3 comments for “Frat House Legislation

  1. Mike McCall
    22 November 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Honestly, I think you’re giving too much credit to these legislators regarding their thinking about the sexist part of this law. In the Leader-Post article, it mentions that this brings the legislation into parity with New Brunswick’s. I think the “logic” went: “Let’s do something about the nude + liquor thing while we’re at it!” “What do you want to do?” “Um, I dunno. Let’s allow stripteases?” And then they cribbed New Brunswick’s definition of ‘striptease’, which is a pretty common one.

    Now, I’m not saying it’s not sexist. It is, definitely. I’m just saying that there’s no point in ascribing some kind of sinister, holier-than-thou motive when it looks a lot more like laziness and inertia to me.

    • 22 November 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Okay. It’s laziness and inertia. Two qualities I know *I* value in a government. Especially a new government who promised change.

  2. 28 November 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I have no idea if this is correct, as I’ve only heard it through the grapevine. But rumor has it that the recent change was in response to that stripper group going around Regina and Stoon that has been skirting the laws as best they can and flaunting that they can do so. Exotic Erotic or something like that I think it’s called? The ones that do the shows at the Gaslight Saloon. But who knows, that could just be something trying to make a connection where none exists.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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