This was another one of those yelly-at-the-radio days.
Listen, it isn’t very often that I’m actually *ashamed* of the place that I choose to live. I love this place 98% of the time. But then some ninny axes a film employment tax credit or some jackass starts up a petition against frigging strip clubs and I get a little tetchy. So here’s the deal. I’m sure you’ve already heard about this, and if you haven’t, I envy you.
A little while ago, Saskatchewan enabled some pretty sexist legislation. The gist of it is that we have now joined the rest of the filthy, heathen, craven and friendly-to-criminals places in the world that *allow* licensed establishments to feature exotic dancing – specifically, stripping – WHILE ALCOHOL IS SERVED. I know, I know, you’re clutching your pearls and reaching for the little tin of nitrous tablets you keep tucked just inside your girdle. You’re fanning yourself with the programme from this morning’s church service (where the sermon was “Wasn’t Jesus a Nice Guy? Like, He Was Really, Really Nice. Except To Some Of The Jews.”) You’ve screwed up your face into a tight little slit-eyes-and-pursed-lips potato and you are sitting down to write a letter. AND YOU MAY NOT OPEN IT WITH “DEAR” BECAUSE YOU ARE SO UPSET.
There is, of course, a catch to this legislation, but don’t let go of those pearls yet because it ACTUALLY GETS WORSE. Yes. WORSE THAN SERVING LIQUOR WHILE SOMEONE TAKES OFF THEIR CLOTHING IN PUBLIC. If you are a man, you can strip down to your loincloth, but if you are a woman, you have to truss up your milk taps. Because we all know that nipples killed JFK. And started the second world war. Probably at the same time because nipples, as we all know, can time travel. AND ARE RADIOACTIVE. It is, frankly, a wonder that any of us survived infancy at all. Thank GOD the dairy and pharmaceutical companies in the US put so much money into promoting infant formula!
…of COURSE I’m getting off topic.
[Reel it in, cenobyte. Reel it in.]
So MORE THAN TWENTY PEOPLE and groups will be speaking against a business owner who wishes to open a strip club in the industrial area (don’t worry, it’s nowhere near a bowling alley) in Regina. MORE THAN TWENTY. That’s, like, some kind of record. I think we only got seven speaking out against the stadium they’re building RIGHT NEXT TO THE EXISTING STADIUM. [And now we play ‘how many rage-inducing news stories can cenobyte fit in to one blog post?’]
Fine. Whatever. Speak out against strip clubs and show off your “Oral Roberts-Moral Majority-Right wing ultra conservative-Let’s try to get the church EVEN MORE involved in government” political leanings. Trot out your asinine (and, might I add, fallacious) argument that strip clubs mean organized crime, prostitution, and I dunno, probably scurvy. Trot out those arguments with absolutely no substantiation, no evidence, and, frankly, no common sense. If you just came right out and said “look, this is a knee-jerk reaction I’m having because frankly nakedness terrifies me”, I’d be much happier. But there are a few things going on here that grind my gears.
1) To the nutsack on the radio (“Rob from Regina”) who said “to these women who dance in strip clubs and have families, how do you look your children in the eye”, I’d just like to say “the same way you do, buttmunch”. People who choose to remove their clothing for money are exploiting very common human weaknesses: libido and voyeurism. You’re probably jealous that dancers can make more money in a weekend than you make in a month, *just by taking off their shirts and trousers and writhing to some shitty music*. The women and men who choose to dance at nightclubs are, by and large, not forced to do so. Dancing is an art form and a rigorous physical activity. Don’t believe me? Then get up in front of your television tonight and dance for an hour. Leave your clothes on if you’d like because everyone knows naked bodies are unclean in the eyes of the Lord. What is wrong with earning money by taking off your clothes? It’s a STRIP CLUB, not a goddamned BROTHEL. And if it WERE a brothel, there STILL shouldn’t be anything illegal about selling sex, but I fear I’m getting off topic again.
This may be the same nincompoop who said “I don’t want my children to have to see that every time we go to the pet store across the street; if this club opens, we will shop elsewhere”. a) Probably the businesses won’t notice your leaving, unless you drop several thousand dollars there a week, but the sentiment is appreciated; b) way to teach your children that avoiding an issue you feel strongly about is the best way to deal with it. Classy. Reeeeeal classy; c) I’m not making any judgements here, but when I go shopping for pet food with *my* kids, I choose not to stop at the strip club with them. I mean, that probably makes me some kind of Hitler, but the last time I was in Calgary and had to pick something up at a business across the street from the strip club, I just left the kids in the car with the windows rolled up and the doors locked and the engine shut off because safety first. They *were*, of course, wearing their safety helmets. It’s okay; I wasn’t gone more than a second. And they had their portable DVD players and watched reruns of Dora anyway. They kept begging me, “Mom, can we PLEASE go to that building over there that’s clearly closed in the middle of the day and has no windows and vomit in the parking lot? That place looks like a LOT of fun!”, but I just said no. Because sometimes, you have to say no to your children.
2) The legislation itself is ridiculously sexist, and the application of it appears to also be sexist. It’s always really bothered me that strip clubs that feature women dancers do not have a cover charge for female patrons. I don’t understand that decision, and I don’t like it. I’ve been to several strip clubs, some “classier” than others, most featuring godawful music and a distinct aura of deep and abiding melancholy sadness and misery, but some of those dancers were bloody amazing to watch. I never much liked the lap dances, but then I read something about Astarte/Ishtar, who was a warrior goddess who embodied sex and fertility (her sister Asherah was the mother goddess, showing a distinct separation of sexual passion and motherhood, which some of us appear to have forgotten), and how she could control entire armies by dancing. She danced and inflamed the soldiers’ passions until they fought among themselves and kind of forgot to attack the thing they were going to attack. Then I think she killed them all and showed no mercy, but you know, this is why she is often represented as an “evil” goddess – we simply cannot abide women having any sort of power.
Again, I’m off-topic. I have a huge problem with the sexist nature of this legislation. I still don’t understand what makes female nipples so bloody terrifying; do strippers shoot acid out of them? Is that why female strippers need to wear
electrical tape pasties? Are female strippers’ nipples wired to terror cells in the middle east so that crazed “radicalized” jihadists can personally identify western leaders and target them? [waves at the NSA – hope you enjoy the blog. Stay for some cookies after.] Oh, oh. *I* get it. Women’s nipples remind politicians of their grandmothers. THAT’S why they’re so scary.
3) You have no problem building your house within spitting distance of an oil refinery or a steel plant that probably pump tonnes of toxic whatever into the air right around the yard your kids probably don’t play in because teevee, but you’re getting your knickers in a knot over some people taking off their clothes in front of drunks? What is the worst that’s going to happen at a strip club? Some guys will have too much to drink and will try to touch one of the dancers or will start fighting over who gets to slip a $20 into Cinnamon’s thong, and they’ll be kicked out. Maybe some police will show up. Some woman will end up crying in the bathroom because her boyfriend whatever-whatever drama God I don’t miss my 20s. How is this different from *any other nightclub*? Gee. Call the national guard. Tell them people are morons when they drink and that someone, somewhere in your city has nearly naked boobies on display.
Why are you so afraid of men and women being sexually aroused in a public place? Do you not understand how SAD that really is? It’s the furthest thing from dangerous there is. Some poor schmo goes to the strip club to see naked people dancing (sorry: almost naked), has a few drinks, then goes home to have a sad and lonely wank over the Penthouse centrefold from January 1999. Or a bunch of women get together and actually can’t come up with anything better to do as a fundraiser or a night out together than to go to the strip club and watch oiled beefcakes shake their packages in sequined speedos. Several drinks later, those same ladies will be scrapping on the bus over some stupid thing that one of them said to someone else’s room-mate’s sister’s seventh dog’s previous owner.
Sex is entertainment just as much, if not more than, it is an intimate display of affection. Let’s just think about what else there is that we do which has been commodified, commercialised, and exploited. Sports, art, music, broadcasting, exercise, pregnancy, family, education, health care, agriculture, resource mining, renewable resources, food, labour, trades…Find me something that hasn’t had a reality show made about it, and I’ll concede that there’s a possibility that it hasn’t been exploited for money (yet). So why vilify the sex trade at all? And why vilify this pretty innocuous portion of the sex trade?
It’s just boobies, people. Just boobies. And junk. But mostly boobies. If you live in Regina and have an opinion on this, there’s a committee meeting tonight about it. Go have your voice heard. Whether you’re a pearl-clutcher (who is probably apoplectic after this rant) or not.