Saturday, 6 July 2013

On the banning of harmless fun...the case of Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival

Not a good week for Parish Councils I'm afraid - this time it's Hebden Royd Council (which covers what we more usually call Hebden Bridge). These fine upstanding representatives of the people have banned Hebden's Burlesque Festival:

"The Picture House Committee does not feel that it is appropriate for Hebden Royd Town Council to be associated with the Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival. Burlesque arouses strong feelings, and many people feel it is demeaning to women, and raises issues of gender equality. It is also inevitable if held in the Hebden Bridge Picture House that it would be seen to be associated with Hebden Royd Town Council, so the committee declines the approach to host a part of the Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival.”

Now while I'm resisting screaming out "political correctness gone mad" this strikes me as a typical judging (and ignorant) decision from a local council spoilsport - in this case a left wing spoilsport.

The Burlesque Festival is - like Earth - mostly harmless and it's banning an act of po-faced puritanism. And some local folk think so too and have got up a petition where they say:

Far from being demeaning to women burlesque has enabled the organisers (both women) to run their own very successful business, employ other people (both male and female) , support local businesses and provide some jolly good entertainment, both comedic and titillating but never sleazy or demeaning to women. The council has also overlooked the fact that around 70% of burlesque audiences are made up of women. Women do indeed find certain things demeaning and patronising, one of those is having their decisions made for them and assumptions made about what they find offensive.

Absolutely - especially the last sentence. You can sign the petition here.


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