Strippers hit back at councillor's claim exotic dancing is 'not work'
Strippers have hit back at claims dancing is ‘not work’ and accused councillors and 'radical feminists' of taking away their freedom to choose.
It comes after Labour councillors were accused of backing out of a pledge to set up a post to help strippers find ‘useful’ work when the ban on the capital’s four strip clubs comes into force next April.
Morningside Councillor Mandy Watt said the council is working on the best way to direct women to the assistance that meets their individual needs.
But Ms Watt insists dancers won’t be forced out of work and claims venues could apply to stay open – if dancers don’t continue to strip or perform naked.
She offered to meet with dancers and the union to talk about challenges they face in the jobs market but added that it would be ‘inappropriate’ for a councillor to meet dancers at their workplace.
The Deputy council leader said she viewed dancers at the venues as performers ‘not workers’ and argues it’s not under council remit to confer rights to them.
A Union representing sex workers is taking the council to court to challenge the ban on grounds it breaches the equality act.
Georgie, a dancer from Edinburgh said: “I say to this to ‘feminists’ such as Mandy Watt, those that feel sorry for me for having to ‘resort’ to this ‘degradation’. Work is work and stripping is real work.
"Many people do labour for the sole purpose of being able to pay rent and buy food. Stripping is no different.
"I ask Mandy and the SWERFS (sex worker exclusionary radical feminists) to directly find me an equal and matched opportunity.
"A job with the same flexibility and pay, the same autonomy and freedom.
"Something that I can live off comfortably with a 12 hour work week.
"Something that is not for a trans-national corporation, profiteering off other’s labour and adding to climate change.
"Because until she ensures that every single dancer that will be affected by the loss of Edinburgh’s strip clubs, has this same equal and matched opportunity for work, in an industry of their choosing, she is doing nothing but pushing women into poverty and taking away their freedom of choice.
"She may believe she is doing the right thing, but she is at best misguided and at worst using personal bias and morality to speak over the lived experience of women.”
Councillor Watt said: “Dancers are not workers. It’s not work, they are performers and it is not in the council’s gift to confer workers rights on them. Most are self employed.
"I understand concerns about people losing jobs but the venues could apply to stay open. All they need to do is not insist on women dancing naked. They don’t need to do that to operate.
"I’m keen to hear from them about any extra challenges they might face in seeking employment. I wouldn’t go to these venues to meet them because that would be inappropriate for a councillor.
"I believe the ban was the right decision because these clubs disempower women. They are not helpful for the view society has of women and their place in the world. I want to see women being treated with respect.”
Edinburgh council said any licence applications are treated on their own merits.