Feminist Network Campaign Corner

Happy Monday feminist friends!!

After the wonderful success and advancement of our female council candidates in the recent elections across the country, here’s a reminder that this is your last chance to submit an objection letter re this year’s Spearmint Rhino relicensing application,deadline is the end of the day tomorrow, Tuesday 15thMay,so if you feel that this campaign is one that you would support then please do write in to the council licensing department, factors to take into consideration could be the longevity and quality of employment, in addition to the promotion of positive mental health, public sector equality duty, and the safety aspects concerning the employees of the club, in addition to members of the public.

Submissions via email are permitted,a sample template letter is provided below which you may adapt for your use.

Licensing Service, Sheffield City Council, email to: licensingservice@sheffield.gov.uk
To Whom It May Concern
I wish to register my objection to the application by Sonfield Developments Ltd c/o 161 Tottenham Court Road, London for renewal of a Sexual Entertainment Venue licence for Spearmint Rhino, 60 Brown Street, Sheffield S1 2BS on the following grounds;
Strip/lap dancing clubs are a form of violence against women, promoting the idea that women’s bodies can be bought, treating performers as commodities. This is dehumanising. If the performer really wanted to strip she wouldn’t need to be paid to do so.
Testimonies from men who admit to using such establishments demonstrate that those men eroticise their power over the performer, getting a sexual thrill from control over her. This is related to the negation of, and absolute disregard for, her feelings within the financial transaction. This is toxic, abusive masculinity.
Many ex-strippers describe psychological harm experienced as a result of the work. This is trauma caused by dissociation, the act of separating minds and feelings from their bodies, in order to cope. Often, it is only when they have stopped stripping that the impact of that harm is realised. This is similar to the experiences of women leaving abusive relationships
Condoning, by licensing, a club which is set up to profit from the objectification of women gives a message to everyone in the city, not just the men who use it, that Sheffield Council thinks it is acceptable for women to be treated like this. This is not consistent with the Councils Equality duty to foster good relations between men and women.
Research suggests that men who hold objectifying views of women are more likely to be violent and to attribute responsibility (Victim blame) to women for violence perpetrated against them. Thus in licensing Spearmint Rhino the Council may be compromising its own Domestic and Sexual abuse strategy.
Many women have advised the Council of feeling unsafe in the vicinity of Spearmint Rhino and avoid walking past it. No woman should feel unsafe anywhere in the city.
The Council states explicitly that it is committed to reducing the normalisation of the objectification of women. SEV’s of this type do not contribute to that aspiration. Spearmint Rhino actively contributes to the normalisation of objectification of women and actively discriminates against women by promoting negative and limiting gender stereotypes and impacting on women’s comfort and freedom in moving round the city. Neither is this consistent with the Councils obligations under the Equality Act 2010.
Spearmint Rhino is situated in a residential area that is now undergoing major and extensive re development. The area has become increasingly residential with sites of cultural interest, charities providing support to vulnerable people, education providers and recreational areas in the vicinity. This gives further basis for refusal of the licence on the discretionary grounds available.

In conclusion Sheffield should be a city that aspires to promote fairness and equality for all. As such I would ask that Spearmint Rhino’s license renewal is declined.

Concerned about Spearmint Rhino? Clock ticking – Act now
A national coalition of organisations spearheaded by Not Buying It and supported by the Fawcett Society, Southall Black Sisters and Rape Crisis and a local campaign involving Zero Option, local organisations and the Women’s Equality Party are challenging the re – licensing of the strip/lap dancing club Spearmint Rhino in Brown street Sheffield.
Local business and Universities are also concerned.
You have the opportunity to have a say. Submissions to licensing must be sent in by May 15th to licensingservice@sheffield.gov.uk.
You will need to raise objections on the grounds set out in the councils Sexual Entertainment Venue Policy.
Template letters available by email Sheffield@Notbuyingit.org.uk or from Zerooption@gmail.com
Permission has also been granted for a Judicial Review of the above policy and the gender equality implications of licensing such establishments. This can only be granted if an application meets the threshold of significant public interest. The coalition would value any contribution to the legal costs.
Please follow link via https://sheffield.digital/posts/spearmint-rhino-legal-challenge or
if you would like to donate.


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