Strippers who face losing their jobs because of a ban on adult venues will be able to continue working – if they keep their clothes on and stop being sexy, a council has said.
Edinburgh officials are using new powers to effectively ban strip clubs in the Scottish capital, following claims they objectify and harm women, with the city’s four existing venues told they must shut down by next April.
The move has prompted a backlash from the venues, which are planning a legal challenge, and some of the women strippers, who say they face being forced out of lucrative and flexible work.
However, Mandy Watt, the deputy leader of the Labour-run council, claimed the venues could remain open as long as women did not dance naked.
Sexual entertainment venues (SEVs), to which the ban applies, are defined as places with live performances for profit and “for the sole purpose of sexual stimulation of the audience”.
This is likely to mean that having scantily-clad but not naked dancers performing the same routines would not be enough to escape the ban, and suggests they would have to incorporate elements of dances that were not designed to be sexually appealing.
“Dancers are not workers,” Ms Watt said. “It’s not work. They are performers and it is not in the council’s gift to confer workers’ rights on them. Most are self-employed.
“I understand concerns about losing jobs, but the venues could apply to stay open. All they need to do is not insist on women dancing naked.
“I believe the ban was the right decision because these clubs disempower women.”
Edinburgh council voted in March to set the maximum number of SEVs at zero.
If a legal challenge fails, it would be the end for the city’s infamous “pubic triangle”, where there are three strip clubs close to each other.
Campaigners who called for the venues to be shut down claimed there was a link between strip clubs and the abuse, rape and murder of women because they promoted the objectification of women.
Ms Watt’s comments caused a backlash from sex workers, with a union representing strippers also planning a legal challenge.
Georgie, a dancer in the city, said that stripping was “no different” to other jobs that people did to earn money.
Telegraph Media Group Limited