We were recently asked to comment on yet another strip club opening in Brisbane. The new club was dubbed 'Disneyland for men' due to the opening hours and number of staff. We were asked whether council should put a cap on the number of sex industry businesses operating in Qld. From Quest news:
"Certainly council needs to do something about capping or moving towards a society where we don't have women valued for their bodies and women bought and sold and harmed in this way,'' she said.
Ms Liszewski said an expanding sex industry with "brazen'' advertising, was telling young men "it's a valid thing to do to go and purchase sex from a brothel or to go and be sexually entertained by women in a strip club''.
"There's a young generation of girls who are exposed to sexualised advertising who are brought up with this idea that they exist for men's entertainment, and then of course at the other end there's a strip club ready to employ them.
"I hate the term 'gentleman's' club' because there is nothing gentlemanly about it.
"There is nothing respectful about going to a strip club and paying a woman to dance naked in front of you.
"That's not how you treat women when you are wanting to show respect to them,'' she said.
Ms Liszewski said the industry was a threat to womens equality because of the way women were "bought and sold''.
"Women in the sex industry are more likely to experience violence, they are more likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse and particularly with prostitution they are likely to have started at a very early age," she said.
Not surprising, these comments stirred up some controversy. City News interviewed employees of the club who said their job wasn't degrading. They also pointed to their academic qualifications as evidence of that they were not being exploited in their job and had made informed decisions.
Not just harmless fun: how strip clubs harm women
A report launched by the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women Australia (CATWA) has highlighted how strip clubs harm women and argues they should be subject to the same regulations as brothels:
Strip clubs harm the physical and mental health of women who strip, as well as the opportunities of all women who want equal sexual relationships with men. Strip clubs create no-go areas for women, and are responsible for increasing violence in the community. The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia (CATWA) argues that strip clubs need to be understood as part of the industry of prostitution and regulated in the same way as brothels. This means that they would be licensed, subject to planning restrictions, unable to obtain liquor licenses, and owners would need criminal record checks. To ensure that strip club are not seen merely as entertainment venues, like other night clubs, they should be regulated as commercial sex venues.
You can read more about the report and an interview with author Caroline Norma here.