Blog of Feminist Activism

The feminist activism of charliegrrl and co

Student Lapdancing Club

Posted by charliegrrl on December 7, 2006

When I heard that there was a lapdancing club for students, opening in Manchester, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, nah, that’s just going too far. Then I met women who had actually seen advertisements for the lapdancing club up at the uni.

So, Rebecca, a fellow ReSister, and I went to check it out.

This is the leaflet for the club.

Student Lapdancing Club

It is students only, and NUS discount, but Rebecca and I obviously pass for students cos they let us in.

I have never been to a lapdancing club before, so I wasn’t Lapdancersure what to expect. The club is dark, with posh lighting. In the centre of the room they have women dancing on a stage. They are surrounded by boys- typical student lads, average age was probably 20. In a seperate room they have a pole used for pole dancing, and a seperate ‘back’ room where they give ‘private dances’.

Rebecca and I obviously stuck out like a sore thumb. When we were in the toilets, a drunk lesbian came up to us to asked us what we were doing here. We chatted with her about how degrading the club is, and she agreed. She was there as her friend was one of the lapdancers. She was very drunk, so we managed to get loads of info out of her. The lapdancers get £20 for turning up; for each lapdance they give, they get £5. She told us how the men, unsuprisingly come onto the lapdancers.

She was telling us about her friends who go pole dancing, and at that point her friend came in to the toilets, and showed off her arm muscles from her pole dancing lessons.

The drunk lesbian tried to tell us that her friend earns £150 in a night, so this makes it alright. And also, she is clothed, not fully naked.

We left plotting action against the club, so watch this space…

The club are holding a Playboy Mansion Xmas party. On thePlayboy Mansion Xmas Party night, there will be scouts looking for potential models for ‘advertising campaigns’ and ‘modeling contracts’. The prize for the Playmate model winner is a model portfolio, a free hair appointment at Nicky Olivers and a gift voucher for Harvey Nicholls.

What struck me about the club, was how it was a lapdancing club, dressed up as a trendy student bar, to cover up the seediness of it. The clientele were the sort of lads you would sit next to in a seminar. There were many women in the bar, out having a few drinks with friends. It is exactly the same as lads mags- lads mags are porn but marketed as a lifestyle magazine with women ‘showing off’ their bodies; this club is a lapdancing club, but marketed as a trendy student bar where women can have fun learning how to pole dance. It’s sexual exploitation and degredation re-marketed under the guise of sexual empowerment and leisure.

If you would like to complain, here are the contacts

Address: Ohm Nightclub, 28-34 High Street, Manchester

Tel: 01618341392 or 07962345026

Email: playonwednesday@yahoo.co.uk or kelvinellis@aol.com

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17 Responses to “Student Lapdancing Club”

  1. Grace said

    It’s amazing how they do it! They just manage to cloak sleeeeaze and smut in fun and liberation so seemlessly!

    That is bloody shocking I have to say – it’s just bringing lapdancing into women’s entertainment so that it can be even MORE socially acceptable – it includes women, makes them part of the fun and shows them how to keep the real focus on them when their boyfriends are drooling over the employees (and do they get to PAY for the privalege of degrading themselves into being taught how to lap dance?)

    It’s also financial exploitation – the club only has to pay the dancers minimal amounts because they make all their money of the sleaze bag punters – but the punters dont sign a contract which adheres to trading standards! They can do want they want and the owners will turn a blind eye because they’re making easy money off the bar and entry fee (obviously this applies to all clubs of this kind).

    Now i’m up for having fun and going out, even though as a student I didn’t do too much of that because partly it was too much effort to pretend I was a ‘birmingham uni girl’ (as we like to call them – ie the make up girls with their sparkly clothes, all bought with student loan cuz their parents are paying for EVERYTHING including food) – but isn’t the actual point of going to university to get a degree? And to get involved in things that actually make a difference like Nightline and Charities officers, and helping the local community and getting all sorts of lovely things to put on your CV and make you stand out from the crowd of graduates? Not to spend every waking hour preparing for or being out on student nights? And now they all seem to be orientated around this same subject like the night that was mentionned on lonergrrrl.blogspot.com at Loughborough Uni.

    Are all the dancers working to pay their way through uni as well? Or to pay off student loans or the like? THAT looks great on a CV doesn’t it? Well…I suppose that depends on which fat cat your future boss is…

  2. Rachel H-G said

    So much wrongness on the advert alone. The ad girl’s excessively skinny frame, the use of childlike words and fonts in conjunction with what it is selling, more pornification disguised as “a bit of fun”.
    I’m glad I’m not going to Manchester uni next year.

  3. stormcloud said

    Sneaky sleaze at its most surreptitious.

    It is clear by the maths that the dancers are making the majority of the money via tips, as £20 for turning up and £5 per ‘dance’ *cough*, would require 26 ‘dances’ in order to make £150.

    It shows that the clubs *cough*, pay bugger-all (directly) to the entertainment (one would assume that each woman would do perhaps 4-5 ‘dances’?) That would make the club’s outlay to each performer around £40-£45 – absolute peanuts.

    Most clubs seem to be set up whereby the performer has to pay the club a fee to dance in the (sleazoid) establishment, and ALL their income is derived from tips from the punters johns. Perhaps in time this club will revert to this arrangement.

    By making the ‘dancers’ reliant on tips for income, this puts a lot of pressure on the women to put up with a lot of abuse (unwanted touching etc), and also pressure to do ‘private dances’.
    See Julie Bindel’s Lapdancing in the UK report.

    Getting back to student life – good grief, how can those boys afford to go out and ‘party’? When I was at uni, just buying a few beers at the cheapest off-licence was a massive expenditure (as well as irregular occurrence). But then again, I did put myself through uni (no Bank of Mummy & Daddy).

  4. Thanks for the maths Stormy! I didn’t dawn on me how many lapdances they would have to do to make up £150! I suppose they might argue, it is better than working for an hour in a supermarket…

    What is happening to universities these days..? Nowadays it seems to be all about bar crawls, pulling, lads mags in student unions, and now we’ve got lapdancing!
    I was quite happy to read my books and get stoned.

    This ties in with one of the reasons why I decided to focus on lads mags- I hate student lads culture- lads boozing, jeering at women, perving over lads mags in their breaks, and now they’ve brought lads mags promotion nights to student unions, and lapdancing clubs into student nightlife. Young lads who see women as sex objects, in charge of entertainment at student unions- I suppose it was inevitable.

  5. Linda said

    Hope it was worth the £4 then Charlie! – yes definitely worth taking action. I would suggest starting with the planning & licensing sections at Manchester City council since it’s a fair bet that they may be breaking either the terms of their license or don’t have planning permission for what they do…

  6. It wasn’t worth £4. I hate spending money on misogyny, but we needed to get an idea of the club. The toilets are suprisingly nice though. They have huge arty pictures of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn…and they have decorated the backs of the toilet doors with arty modelling photos. Such a shame their toleits are so arty and pretty- cos they won’t be for long- I’ve heard they will be expecting a visit from a masked feminist avenger…

    Yeah, we’ll discuss the planning stuff at a meeting.

    I’m interested in the conjunction between alcohol and sex…because when I was at uni I learnt that the alcohol industry aren’t supposed to link in their product with sex. I wonder if we can get them done for the way in which they are advertising their club..? Blatently advertising getting drunk along with lapdancing…

    Anyhow, we will work out a way to shut them down 🙂

  7. SLP once said in response to Lads mags on sale at uni that how could peers be having respectful discourse one moment and then slobbering over objectified women the next. I do not see how a place of *learning* on many levels, (not only academic educational) can be touting this as fun and cheap (£) fun at that. Not that in my eyes the other god you know *money* holds much standing.

  8. stormcloud said

    Charlie, in doing more ‘math’, if the entry fee is £4, one would assume that the club’s outlay to performers would either mostly or totally, be covered by the entrance fees collected.

    Interesting point about advertising drinking and ‘sex’/lapdancing. With the Gov’s new drinking/consent law proposals, I wonder if any of these establishments could be challenged?

    If the Masked Feminist Avenger (MFA) is game, adhesive action in the little boys room could be an option? Smelly though!

  9. tcupnewt said

    Urgh. That makes me feel so disgusted. Funny how lapdancing is promoted to women as difficult, physically exhausting work and to men as a bit of play so they can relax. Obviously no power relationship there. *sarcasm*

    There is something disturbing about the “play” sign. Completely infantilising, disasociating and trivialising the entire experience from what it really is, removes all responsibility for bad behavior.

    I’m sick of our degradation being called our empowerment.

  10. womens officer said

    As the current womens officer for a university in manchester ( prefer not to disclose) i am disgusted to think that our students are either letting themselves be drooled on by men that are paying £4 to see them walk around in scantily clad clothing. what is even more distressing is that these are students in our universities, do our courses. i understand we have got to make a living whilst at uni but is this the way to do it. they are completly degrading themselves and one pay day im sure their happy with their pay but is it really worth how their going to feel in 5 yrs time when they are still being treated like a piece of meat. what is discerning is that they are giving offers to birthday boys adn girls, as well as clubs and societies. is this the part we have got to, we cant go out and have a good time without seeing someone either puking in a street or wearing nothing for money. will it stop or will someone decide to run a student prostitution service. we need to end this now, its not fair on the girls who are doing this or women in general

  11. What are women’s officers doing about such sexism on campus- cos I can’t see much going on..? We need to challenge this to make sure that lads mags aren’t included in the entertainment in fresher’s fair next year..?

  12. womens officer said

    unfortunatly we cannot ban lads mags as there seen as peoples opinions, when matters do arise that a female student finds to be inappropraite it is taken to your student council were if there is a majority vote we remove that piece from the union. we had a circumstance come up last term were a female student found that an advertisement for cosmetic surgery was inappropriate it went and was put down by council due to the fact that it is a womens choice to have this done. it has got to go through procedures to ensure that it is removed entirely. it is not allowed to be pushed in ppls faces, thus they cannot advertise around our unions but we cant stop someone reading a mag. many ppl could disagree with feminist magazines. but things are changing it just happens very slowly. if u want to change things then come to your student council and put a motion through. what uni are you at

  13. I’m not a student anymore, but I’ve heard about loads of sexism at Uni’s, for example lads mags doing stripping nights in Student Unions as part of the entertainment in freshers week. Jen from East Midland feminists went to her student council to argue against such a thing at Loughborough Uni, but they voted in favour of having lads mags at the Student Union.

    Women’s Officers should be pushing for lads mags to be banned from campus, on the basis that they are misogynistic. Lads mags are more than ‘people’s opinions’- they promote misogyny which is inappropriate on campus. Alternatively, women’s officers could push for lads mags to be put on top shelf or to be placed behind the counter- so that men have to ask for them.

  14. womens officer said

    i can try but guarantee you this i will be hitting my head off a brick wall, as unions are full of bureaucrats that are only interested in making money. it has got to be petitioned or through council for them to change and as our uni is mostly male we know what way it goes, evry time

  15. The problem is you’ll come up with the no-win argument of censorship if you call for banning them. It is probably best to have a national concerted campiagn amongst women’s officers to push through a top-shelf behind the till policy. It would be harder for men on campus to argue against a top shelf/behind the till policy than a full on ban, so would be easier to acheive. Good luck with whatever you do!

  16. womens officer said

    our only choice is to see what nus womens have got to say for it and the other womens officers in manchester think, as if i go on my own its impossible, but we will keep you posted on hopefully closing that sleezy place down, all my friends are banned from going within 50 ft of the place. its a start

  17. Laura said

    I understand the dilemma that the Women’s Officer might face; however, is it not possible at least to ban student societies and teams from attending lap dancing clubs? Most societies are partly funded by universities and, where I study anyway, are not permitted to organise offensive events such as a night to a misogynistic venue.

    On a related note, I studied in the UK a few years ago and never experienced anything like what’s happening in student unions now (FHM, strip nights etc). It’s disgusting and I applaud the work feminists in these areas are doing.

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