Friday, 21 January 2011

Some resources re sex industry links to violence etc

A lot of people (rightly) ask for stats and proof when the issues surrounding the links between the sex industry's links to violence against women and girls, low self-esteem and mental disorders.

Luckily for me, lots of people have done research in this area that I can point you to. And even luckier for me, the wonderful Bristol Fawcett Society provided heaps of sources, reports, papers and information to the Bristol City Council Licensing Committee to have a look at as part of the BCC's consultation period surrounding the new licensing regs for Sex Entertaiment Venues.

Unluckily the BCC haven't really taken any of these recommendations on board.

But I have reproduced the question asked by Bristol Fawcett and the list of sources so that readers have a useful reading list should you be interested in the gender equality impact of the sex entertainment industry.

Personally, I think it is stupid to ignore the violence, trafficking, abuse and drugs that runs through the sex industry. I would like to live in a world that didn't see women's sexuality as a bargaining chip, reduced to a few moves and facial expressions. Instead, i want to live in a world that celebrates and appreciates sexuality.

Here's the list of articles. 

Question to be submitted to the Licensing Committee meeting on Friday, 21st January at 2011.

The documentation accompanying the Licensing Committee agenda for the meeting on the 21st January includes the following statement under the Equalities Impact Assessment section (page 30):

There is little independent research available on the types of activities that would be regulated under this policy with regard to the potential for a significant impact on any equality group.

Preliminary findings from a piece of ESRC research undertaken by the University of Leeds into lap dancing in England (premises providing lap dancing would be regulated by this policy) have provided some helpful information that has informed this assessment.

Given that the Leeds study is based entirely on those who derive financial reward from the industry, could the Chair of the working party explain why this is considered to be the only piece of "independent research” worthy of informing the equalities impact assessment and, by extension, the policy and why the many other references submitted have been ignored in the assessment of the impact upon Equalities groups?

The Leeds report, given that is using such a narrow methodology, presents a very one dimensional perspective of the impact on women.  The many references submitted to support the adverse impact on women are not acknowledged or referred to in the EIA.  A number of the source documents referred to in some of the consultation responses are listed below:

Page 82 – references quoted in Bristol Rape Crisis’ response:

Bindel, J. (2004) Profitable Exploits: Lap Dancing in the UK. London: Child
and Woman Abuse Studies Unit.

Eden, I. (2007) Inappropriate Behaviour: Adult venues and licensing in London. London: The Lilith Project.

Holsopple, K. (1999) Stripclubs according to Strippers: Exposing Workplace Sexual Violence. In Roche Hughes, C & D. (Eds) Making the Harm Visible:
Global Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls, Speaking Out and Providing
Services, Kingston: Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. Pp. 252-276

Mcleod, J. Farley, M. Anderson, L. & Golding, J. (2008) Challenging men’s
demand for prostitution in Scotland. Glasgow: Women’s Support Project.

Object (2009) Joining up the dots: why urgent action is needed to tackle the
sexualisation of women and girls in the media and popular culture.

Papadopoulos, L. (2010) Sexualisation of young people – Review. London:
Home Office.

Raphael, J. & Shapiro, D (2004) Violence in Indoor and Outdoor Prostitution
Venues. Violence Against Women. 10:126-139.

Page 89 From the Psychology Today report submitted in Ches Chesney’s statement:

Cikara, M., Eberhardt, J.L. & Fiske, S.T. (in press). From agents to objects: Sexist
attitudes and neural responses to sexualized targets. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.
Harris, L.T. & Fiske, S.T. (2006). Dehumanizing the lowest of the low: Neuroimaging
responses to extreme outgroups. Psychological Science, 17, 847-853.
Haslam (2006). Dehumanization: An integrative review. Personality and Social
Psychology Review, 10, 252-264.
Heflick, N.A. & Goldenberg, J.L. (2009). Objectifying Sarah Palin: Evidence that
objectification of women causes women to be perceived as less competent and less
fully human. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 598-601.
Heflick, N.A., Goldenberg, J.L., Cooper, D.P. & Puvia, E. (under review). From women
to things: Target gender, appearance focus and perceptions of warmth, morality and
Loughnan, S., Haslam, N., Murmane, T.,Vaes, J., Reynolds, C., & Suitner, C. (2010).
Objectification leads to depersonalization: The denial of mind and moral concern to
objectified others. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 709-717.
Vaes, J., Paladino, M.P. & Puvia, E. (under review). Are sexualized women fully

Page 92 – From the Centre for Gender & Violence Research:
The research evidence shows that SEVs lead to increased reports of rape and sexual assault against women in particular (Eden, 2007; Raphael & Shapiro, 2004), to sexual  harassment of women in venues and outside to other members of the public (Raphael & Shapiro, 2004; Bindel, 2004, Eden, 2007), to increased possibilities for prostitution and coercion of women into prostitution (Mcleod, Farley, Anderson & Golding, 2008; Bindel, 2004), to risks to children through sexualisation and use of underage dancers (Papadopoulos, 2010; Bindel, 2004), and to drug taking (Eden, 2007).

Referenced in Bristol Fawcett’s first response to the draft policy:
Child and Woman Abuse Study Unit at London Metropolitan University -
commissioned by Glasgow City Council to review lap dancing and table dancing clubs. (
The study concludes concludes that there is evidence that activities within lap dancing clubs are in direct contradiction with equality between men and women, and normalise menʼs sexual objectification of women.

i · Around half of women in England and Wales experience domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking in their  lifetime (British Crime Survey 2008). It is estimated that there were 3,490 rapes in Bristol in 2006/7 (Safer Bristol  Rape and Sexual Assault Strategy 2008-11). 22% of MPs are women. Women working full-time earn on average  16% less per hour than men working full-time and the gender pay gap in the South West is 21.5% (ONS 2009  Annual Survey).
· Daily sexualised messages create conducive contexts for violence, reinforce gender inequalities and undermine  information campaigns about healthy sexual relationships (Home Office VAWG Consultation, 2009). Mainstream  media are pushing a set of norms that undermine women's control over their own sexuality whilst purporting to  represent a liberalisation of sex and women's sexual expression. Such representations serve to value females  primarily for their ʻsex appealʼ rather than creative or intellectual abilities, and in doing so reinforce gender  inequality. There is a clear link between the consumption of sexualised images and the acceptance of aggressive  attitudes and behaviours as the norm (Home Office, 2010)
· "Exposure to the sexualised female ideal is linked with lower self-esteem, negative moods and depression in  young women and girls. Adolescent girls exposed to adverts featuring idealised women have significantly higher  State Depression scores; and frequent exposure to films, TV and music videos featuring idealised images is  linked to lower self-esteem (particularly among Black and Latino young people), stress, guilt, shame and  insecurity.” (Home Office, 2010)
· A considerable proportion of young womenʼs aspirations have been reduced to being glamour models and lap  dancers (EVAW 2008); Women in Journalism (2007); Girls' Schools Association (2010).

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