‘A woman has a choice in the work she wants to do,’ says stripper
Strippers have accused the council and local campaigners of sexist “double standards” for trying to ban women performing but allowing men to go ahead.
Dreamboys, an all-male collective that has spoken out in support of female strippers, is scheduled to appear at Pryzm nightclub in Bristol on Friday.
The performance comes as local MPs seek to shut down all lap dancing clubs in Bristol by changing their licensing rules – with the council currently contemplating a ban on the venues.
Tuesday Laveau, who is based in Bristol and has been stripping for 16 years, told The Independent: “One of the fundamental arguments of anti-sex worker feminists is strippers and sex workers are tools of the patriarchy.
“But they have no problem choosing what men do with their body. We are not mad at the Dream Boys. They are just working.
“The point is the double standards of local MPs and Avon and Somerset’s police commissioner. They have no issue with men behaving sexually provocatively for money.”
The council told the BBC lap-dancing venues and touring glamour performance groups have different licences under which they work.
Bristol’s Labour mayor, Marvin Rees, and Avon and Somerset’s former police commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, who was in the role until last month, and some local MPs and campaigners want the strip clubs to be closed. There are two lap-dancing clubs in Bristol.
Ms Laveau, a spokesperson for Bristol Sex Worker Collective, said attempts to shut down strip clubs in Bristol were “ridiculous” as she warned women should be able to have autonomy over their own bodies.
The 40-year-old added: “Fundamentally a woman has a choice in the work she wants to do.
“You are allowed to be uncomfortable but that doesn’t mean you get to shut it down. You have to allow women to make choices in their work.
“People like to talk about sex work in terms of exploitation, but if you talk to any blue-collar woman who has done hospitality, cleaning, retail, they will have a story about being exploited through their work and sexually harassed.”
Ms Tuesday, who specialises in burlesque dancing, said the two strip clubs currently up and running are both run by a woman and are operating totally legally.
She said there have no been incidents of violence due to the security working there – adding that the female owner has a very good relationship with local police.
A spokesperson for Bristol Council has been contacted for comment.