So there were strippers. So what?

StripperThe Guelph Mercury, 4/29/2009

Oh heavens! There were women taking their clothes off, you say? In a community centre, no less?

My, oh my. Let me catch my breath.

So let me get this straight. For 40 years or so, the Erin District Lions Club has held a private fundraiser that has raised tens of thousands of dollars for projects around Erin, and for medical research for diabetes, breast cancer, and the blind.

The annual Elimination Dinner is one of their most popular events, sells out regularly and features food, standup comics and, umm, strippers.

It’s that last part that caused a commotion recently. This week, the fundraiser was killed off after protests by two sisters, Mary Traversy, 20, and Sarah Traversy, 22.

Their complaints garnered plenty of news coverage, and the Lions’ international leadership stepped in and put the kibosh to the whole thing. The Traversy sisters claimed they tried to attend the event, but a Lions Club member old enough to be their grandfather wouldn’t let them in.

Headline: Crusty old men refuse entry to sisters planning to liberate semi-naked women.

But Mary Traversy and her sister never intended to take part in the fundraiser — they wanted the event to be stopped: “When I heard about it, I thought it was vulgar,” Traversy told a reporter after the incident. “I think it’s absolutely backwards and ridiculous.”

Being turned away was the best thing that could happen to them. The young women could say their rights were being trampled, though one suspects they never really wanted to see the strippers in the first place.

So ends a fundraiser that has been running for decades, drawing crowds that might not normally shell out for other Lions Club fundraisers, or otherwise contribute to fighting breast cancer or similarly worthwhile causes.

The dinner was never a secret. Town officials were long aware of the fundraiser and said the Lions Club broke no laws. A proper liquor licence was always obtained for the event, and there are no bylaws that restrict the use of strippers at a town-owned facility.

The Erin Lions didn’t invent ogling for charity. Groups across Ontario and North America have long used naughty nights out — using male or female strippers for male or female audiences — to raise money for good causes.

Oh, the objectification of people’s bodies — just like those poor firefighters who strip down for fundraising calendars, or teachers who show off their pecs to help fight cancer.

It’s not clear what was really at the heart of this Elimination Dinner protest. Was it that such an event was being held in a public space, in a room partially paid for by the Lions themselves?

One of the sisters pointed out that the community centre is attached to a nursery school and a high school, as if the presence of Saturday night stripping would somehow soil occupants of the entire building when they came back on Monday. Or was it simply that women were stripping? If that’s the case, there are far worse offenders than members of the Erin Lions Club, who at least give their proceeds back to the community.

If stripping is what really offends the Traversy sisters and their supporters, they have their work cut out for them. What of all the rowdy bachelor parties, the shady strip clubs that give nothing back to their towns, or the countless peep shows that do no measurable public good?

In our extreme sensitivity to anything that offends us, some of us may have lost sight of the good done by the Erin Lions, despite their old-fashioned ideas.

Stripping is not family-friendly. That goes without saying. But does it warrant such a shocked condemnation? So there were strippers. So what?

12 Responses to So there were strippers. So what?

  1. Maggie on May 17, 2010 at 8:39 am

    So— just because it has been going on for a long time doesn’t mean it is right. It’s about time that these men get their heads out of the stone age and think about ways to raise money that do not involve discrimination. Every other lions club seems to be able to do it. Shame on you Erin Lions.

  2. Junior on December 7, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Are you serious?? What makes it wrong? Discrimination? Were those women held there against their will and forced into anything? I think not. Time of some people to pull their heads out of their own asses

  3. Sally on December 7, 2011 at 7:59 am

    These girls are jokes, in fact maggie your comment is jokes too. I’m pretty sure there are far worse things in this world, life, or town to worry about then one night a year that funds the city. If i have a party, your not invited either Maggie! are u gonna sue me for discrimination. next they will sue their neighbours because they left their lights on in the middle of the day. This is such a joke and if i was the judge id close the case, make the sisters pay for all fees that has been caused by this and punch their lawyer in the face for being such a dumby. that town is such a beatiful place with great people, then theirs dirt bags that fill the place up and crumb it down. I had to move because of have the crap lying around and these sisters just add to it. If this is your goals in life you have better things to worry about, like getting a life.

  4. Butcher on December 7, 2011 at 8:17 am

    The lions club Erin is formed of many fine men of the community and the work they do for the community is excellent . In the stone age we are not . It is clearly you that is in the stone age if you would read the article in full : no laws were broken – put that in your self righteous pipe and smoke it .

  5. Stripper on December 7, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Stripper stripper stripper. BIG WOW. The men enjoy it. The women make good money and it’s all been fine. Why did the girls want to go? Not to enjoy the show or promote equality. They went there to cause an uproar about their values and solicit there feelings to the community. Next time I’m having a girls night I hope theres no brothers in this family. A shame a group of men can’t have fun and raise some money. Families, woman stop being offended by the job its childish old fashioned and really makes you look stuffy and rude.

  6. Stephanie on December 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Dear Maggie,

    You’re absolutely clueless to what these men do for the community of Erin and should probably do some research before making one pointed comments. These girls disgust me and should be banned from Erin after they give the lions back all the loses they’ve caused. Due to this lawsuit, the Lions haven’t been able to continue the level of support that they wish to contribute. The Lions is filled with a majority of older men that do need to look ahead, however their contributions to the town of Erin is fantastic and has given the community so much. These girls should be ashamed of themselves and the entire town can’t wait till March so we can roast them out of this town forever. The whole reason they did this was to get the daughter a good mark on her school project. Talk about taking it way to far! As the title reads… So there were strippers. So what?

  7. diane on December 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Any woman who is offended by this and has attended a stagette at a strip club or gone to the Chippendales show should not have an opinion here. Don’t sling mud when you have been at the same events.
    This is being discussed as though there is a sex club going. It’s strippers. There just down in Brampton if you want to go & talk to them. The loss of the revenue is far greater than the “point” made by these young ladies. And they are young. And if they think that they will stop men from wanting to look at ladies taking their clothes off they are sorely mistaken. Time to grow up a bit. Your man isn’t going home with one of the strippers.

  8. Tj on December 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Maggie, you are in the stone age if this upsets you. Get a grip and move past it and concentrate on real problems like who will fund climbers in the parks, the uncounted donations to various charities that Lions have before. To Greg Mercer, the article is excellent and is being recirculated via facebook as of today and the hearing will be well attended with Lions supporters.

  9. B on December 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    The fact that this even got any media attention is ridiculous. So– just because these sister who aren’t involved and have never been to the event oppose the event that financially supports the community and brings amusement to others as well as supports the women trying to make an income through exotic dancing. BE REAL AND GROW UP. How about just don’t, you yourself, become a stripper and stop hating!

  10. Anonymous on December 9, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    You need to wake up lady. Sexism is overrated, you think stripping is discrimination? I didn’t see guns to their heads forcing them to undress on the stage. They do it for a living and it’s here to stay whether you like it or not. I can almost guarantee they did it with the same purpose in mind as the Erin lions did To raise money for the community and other debilitating diseases. But clearly your judgement is to blinded by your need to get your feminist opinion heard by a buncha people who could really care less. If you have such a big problem with it do somethin proactive and let’s see you find a better fundraiser that raises more then that fundraiser has over the years.

  11. J on May 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Did the sisters get an undisclosed ammount of compensation and did they give it back to the community, if they did so then I will believe
    in their integrity, if not, it’s open for debate .
    What was their true purpose in going, knowing what was on and entry would be refused .
    They must have known they would damage a charity, it’s name and it’s ability to raise funds for their own community.
    At 20 and 22 was it their own idea .
    There are still men only and women only clubs and why not.
    Maybe Maggie will raise future funds, instead of those bad men with their heads in the stone age.

  12. J on May 8, 2012 at 11:05 am

    When did they decide to sue the charity, after tickets were refused or before they went, obviously they had no intention of attending,so were they really discriminated against.
    I’m afraid some times like Maggie,as has been said, many times, the law is an ass, this should never have reached court.
    Women watch male strippers it’s the same both ways, nothing has changed and no one has gained from this, except the two women .
    The charity has in some eyes been smeared and the community has lost a good fund raiser.
    The charity should continue with the event and sell tickets to any adult.

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