Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Victory for Feminists in Leeds - But the War's not over

Leeds' Mezz Club has licence suspended over 'rape' ads

This is an excellent conclusion to a very disturbing concept - of appealing to misogynistic tendencies in promoting a night out. The original video which promoted a student-orientated night in Leeds city centre is no longer available, but this early article from Leeds Student Online gives an upsetting synopsis of what is envisaged as appealing to student punters.

Clearly, only the male punters however - female attendees at this night are presumably on a par with the music or the drinks, merely an attractive feature. What I found even more disturbing was this line in the Leeds Student article on the closure of the club:

Among the issues raised were reported cases of severe overcrowding in the 400-person space and their conduct on social media.
To me, that indicates that this club night, for all it's disgusting attitude towards gender equality, has been quite popular. Indeed, Tequila UK - the night at the centre of the controversy - will instead be held at Halo nightclub just beside university campus. No doubt it will be very popular with students celebrating at Christmas. I hope some enterprising journalists ask the women at this night just what they think of the promotion - and what that means to them, or about them.

 I am heartened that a vocal backlash has been co-ordinated by groups like the Leeds University Union Feminist Society. Victories like this are great cause for celebration, but the bigger picture must be considered - and I salute the effort to challenge complacent opinions on equality and freedom from violence and sexual abuse.

The great campaign "I Need Feminism Because..." is a great idea because rather than just an open-and-shut battle with misogyny like protesting Tequila UK, the hard truths about the dangers women can face at any time are being openly discussed. Beliefs need to change, and the best way to do that is a long and protracted campaign of education.

Students are here to learn, and I certainly hope they're going to learn more from FemSoc than they do from a night that endorses shocking attitudes towards women.

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