Jess McCabe // 18 September 2006
Women in Birmingham will soon have the chance to visit the nation’s first male lapdancing club.
In a report for the Guardian, Ellie Levenson remains unconvinced:
Although Tricky Dicky’s is likely to see a lot of business from groups of women – when its opening was recently delayed Power had to cancel 48 pre-booked groups – it would be wrong to think that the club is providing a service to women, or trying to bridge the gender gap by providing equality. It seems to me that this club isn’t set up to please women, but to exploit them. Not perhaps in the traditional way that sex workers can be exploited, but by taking women’s money for a sexual experience and almost certainly leaving them unsatisfied. As one of the women I spoke to said: “I would much prefer to spend the money on a manicure”.
Back in school, a number of my friends had 18th birthday parties that involves male strippers. I think the universal reaction to those who were subjected to what were basically lapdances was… well… disgust. It was funny – but in a yucky way, not in a ‘this is secretly turning me on’ way.
Was it because the men were unattractive strangers? Wearing gold lycra pants? Being paid to do it? Probably a combination of all these things, but somehow it is true that girls, at least, have a bit of a weird relationship with male strippers. I suspect the same would be true of male lapdancers.
And yet, it seems to be the trendy thing for women to go to female strip joints. At least in America, at least according to Female Chauvanist Pigs.
Women haven’t been socialised to a) accept the idea of paying for sexual gratificaton, b) to think that it’s OK to be on the receiving end of sexual attention that the man (not necessarily woman) is not interested in.
None of which has to do with whether or not women are turned on “visually”.
John Lenkiewicz, director of the London-based Institute of Sexuality and Human Relations, and a psycho-sexual therapist, believes that women are unlikely to be turned on just by watching. “They would go for a laugh rather than for sexual gratification,” he says. “Women are interested in attention, protection and humour rather than physical attributes.”