Admiring attractive women or men isn’t gender prejudice, just a case of rudeness to stare.
I recently watched a video on Good Morning Britain from June 2018 in which Telegraph journalist Rebecca Reid compared her experience of a male strip club and a female strip club. The female strip club was “one of the saddest experiences of my life” she said. “I got to expense a lap dance for The Telegraph, still wasn’t a good day for me because it’s incredibly depressing and those places are intended to arouse”. She went on to say “I had a stripper at my hen do against my wish (a male stripper) - it was hilarious, but not sexy, it couldn’t have been less sexy”.
When Piers Morgan (now a former presenter on Good Morning Britain) questioned whether women watch films like ‘Magic Mike’ (2012) and have “any sexual fantasies at all” as these men “gyrate semi-naked with their big muscles”, she said “if you can be aroused in a room full of 3,000 people all watching with their mums and sisters, you’re a better woman than I can”. He continued “you don’t think any women go there because they fancy these guys”. She responded with “we fancy them, but its funny, not sexy, no one’s aroused by it”.
“They see me as a slab of muscle...If you put a large group of a single gender together and mix it with alcohol then things get tribal and raunchy very quickly - and that goes every bit as strongly for women as men” says Javier Barkham, a 29 year old male stripper for five years. “There isn’t a bit of my body that hasn’t been touched during my time stripping - things that a woman would slap a man for if they did that to them happen all the time: women grope your balls and get hold of your penis”.
Javier also alleges he has been scratched, groped and licked by women. Peter, 30 and a fellow stripper, talked “at the end of the show, I go round the crowd with nothing on. I will mess around with my penis - I’m not flicking it in their faces, it’s a tease - but I’ve had girls try and jump in front of it and stick it in their mouth.
“I had a flag wrapped around me and this woman jumped on to the stage, dragged the flag away then dug her claws into my penis and tried to walk me round the floor. I was actually bleeding”.
These comments are shocking as, if this were a man committing these acts on women, they’d be arrested for sexual assault. The Office of National Statistics reports that there have been 153,136 sexual offences and 555,980 cases of stalking and harassment between October 2019 and September 2020.
This prompts the debate over whether strip clubs should be banned. There are arguments for and against the suggestion of closing strip clubs for good. The argument with just that title - should strip clubs be banned? - was pitched in an article in The Bristol Cable.
Real-life sex workers and founding members of the Bristol Sex Workers Collective, Alice and Melissa, support strip clubs. They wrote “it has been proven adding legislation to the sex industry increases stigma for the worker”.
On the other hand, Bristol Cable journalist Kate Jerrold argued for it. She questioned “how will we prevent a whole new generation of #metoo if we continue to see women’s bodies as yet another commodity packaged for instant consumption”.
What’s my opinion on strip clubs? I’ve never been that keen on them. They objectify both men and women - most of whom do it by choice - and I really detest the lookism that runs rampant in them. Is it a wonder that the majority of the girls in their scantily-clad leotards at Hooters are usually blonde, tanned and have hourglass figures? Where’s the plus size representation? I can imagine the policies on sexual harassment at Hooters will be extremely strict. I just think having women dressed like that so revealingly leaves them at risk to exposure to the leches and perves who continue to think groping or making lewd gestures is just a bit of banter.
It’s perfectly ok to look at and admire an attractive woman or man. It’s how you look and whether you’re looking in a pervy or lecherous way - licking your lips, staring at their tits or their arse or their crotch.
I often give a passing glance when I see a pretty girl. The difference is I don’t obsess over it and don’t stare at her excessively. I don’t make her uncomfortable and am quick to move on with my day once I’ve noticed “ooh she’s quite pretty”.
Ogling is just plain rude as staring at anyone is. Not sexist, just rude and that applies to males and females.
Meet Roshan Chandy
Freelance film critic, journalist and writer based in Nottingham, UK. Specialises in cinema.
Roshan's Top 5 Films of the Week
1. A Quiet Place: Part II (in cinemas)
2. Cruella (in cinemas)
3. After Love (in cinemas)
4. Dream Horse (in cinemas)
5. Frankie (in cinemas)
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