York lap dancing club to remain open

Upstairs is to remain open despite campaigning by the York Feminist Network

Upstairs, York’s only lap dancing venue, is to remain open despite objections from the York Feminist Network (YFN).

Upstairs, which is situated above Mansion on Micklegate, appealed to have their 12 month licence renewed in November.

The York Feminist Network, a York city feminist group not connected to the University, began a petition calling on City of York Council to reject the application for renewal of licence from the club.

Credit: Upstairs

Credit: Upstairs

The petition stated: “Lap dancing clubs have no place in our community. They promote sexist stereotypes, create ‘no go’ areas for women and local residents, and impact negatively on the character and reputation of York as a welcoming, family-friendly city.”

In a quote on the YFN’s blog, Tony, a Skeldergate local, said of Micklegate: “It is sadly unsurprising on any given evening to hear them [young men] wolf whistling, leering and even see them masturbating in the streets.”

One respondent to the petition said: “I think lap dancing clubs send out the message that it’s perfectly acceptable for women to be dehumanised and objectified.”

The YFN also cited the venue’s proximity to premises of ‘sensitive use’, such as churches, several nurseries and organisations working with vulnerable people such as the nearby York Women’s Counselling Service.

They also claimed that the club made women feel threatened or uncomfortable.

Andrew Whitney, the owner of Upstairs, denied this, saying that the club was promoted in a discreet way and that closure would result in up to 40 dancers losing their jobs.

Feminist societies across the country responded to the petition, with the Edinburgh University Feminist Society denouncing the petition as “whorephobic”.

Upstairs’s 12 month licence was renewed 2 weeks ago by the council’s licensing committee. According to licensing manager Lesley Cooke none of the grounds for refusal were established.

YUSU Women’s Committee were divided on the issue, telling Nouse: “Within the YUSU Women’s network opinions are divided on the issues at play surrounding the lap dancing club remaining open. We are unaffiliated to York Feminist Network’s campaign.

“Although lap dancing clubs are in many ways problematic, we understand a need for feminist and women’s movements to respect the agency, opinion, safety and welfare of the women involved in the clubs.

“This is one of many areas which cannot be defined in polarized terms and the opinion of the YUSU Women’s Network as a whole acknowledges this.”

The YFN have confirmed their commitment to re-launching the campaign next year, saying: “We are confident that with time and more education on gender equality, and the harmful effects of sexual entertainment venues, the outdated views of the councillors will change.”

They also described their disappointment with the council’s decision and regretted that they had not joined councils such as Leeds and Oxford, which had “prioritised women’s safety and said no to the objectification of women – as advised by the Equality Act 2010”.


  1. What gives these sexist feminist the right to control mens sexual desires?

    I don’t use strip clubs but no sexist feminist has the right to tell me that I can’t, if the women involved are consenting adults.

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  2. York Feminist Network (YFN) is an sexist, extremist organization which should be banned.

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  3. In reply to SS you shouldn’t just ban an organisation because you disagree with what they have to say.
    Banning clubs like this would just create a black market for this sort of thing which would be dangerous to those involved, hence the club remaining open is a good thing.
    As for the clubs ”promote sexist stereotypes” I would like to see some solid evidence for that.

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  4. Wasn’t this just Helena Horton trying to grab attention with another pointless, bound-to-fail petition? Shame everyone got sick of her antics last year..

    Also, are women banned from strip clubs? I have rather a few female friends who would be very upset by this premise

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  5. I’ve seen ‘SS’ on a couple of comments thread’s now. SS is pretty fitting for you, to be honest…

    Go back to the Third Reich.

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  6. 12 Feb ’14 at 10:37 am

    Helena Horton

    No actually I did not try to ban the strip club, surprisingly not every feminist action ever done is by me…
    I didn’t take part in the cat and mouse act either before you ask

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  7. Having worked in such clubs and being a feminist, and a Phd researcher, these campaigns frustrate and sadden me. They ignore the female workers in the clubs. Any ‘feminist’ should be campaigning for increased safety, better working conditions and to decrease stigma. I write about such campaigns here: http://www.plasticdollheads.wordoress.com

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  8. Sexist feminist attitude is that men have no say over women’s sexual desires and activities but feminists have God given right to control men sexual desires even when consenting women are involved.

    Who gave these sexist feminist the authority to speak for all women? did all women in the country elect them to speak on their behalf?

    Feminism is a irrational, ultra-conservation, hate movement which should be banned.

    No woman who has an I.Q over 120 would join such a contradictory, irrational, double standard hate movement, unless she has mental issues.

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  9. I agree with you these frustrated women will never stop the sex business as it is as old as the hills men and women love it I myself have been to lap dancing clubs I had a great time and I am a WOMAN!!!! They do not speak for us all

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  10. 13 Feb ’14 at 2:45 pm

    Deng Xiaopeng

    Glorious revolution must take place before the end of November

    remember, its doesn’t matter if it is a black cat or white cat, as long as it catches the rat.

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  11. Daft sloots jealousy of slightly less daft sloots.

    Stripping is the most profitable profession for women after hooking, fact.

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  12. Wonder if people would object to a male strip club ;)

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