Local residents object to the Vagina Museum selling alcohol due to a fear of inflamed stag and hen parties befouling the civilsied streets of Camden.
The fact that a Vagina Museum is opening up in Camden, London is a bit of an eye raiser, even if it does sound appear to be a very PC and feminist look at the subject, aiming to be educational about gynaecological anatomy and health – unlike Iceland’s Penis Museum, it will not have a display of actual vaginas from various species around the walls. In fact, it seems so completely right-on, the news that it was applying for an alcohol licence for late night (well, 11.30pm Sunday – Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday) to accomodate parties and film shows is rather surprising.
Less surprising is the fact that local residents are outraged by the idea, believing that the museum would attract rowdy stag and hen parties who would then rampage through the streets, all hopped up on lager and female genitalia. Kathryn Gemmell, chair of the Tenants Residents Association, Camden Town, has stated – without evidence – that “it will attract the types of people who are not interested in the educational aspect of the museum’s collection”.
Well, perhaps it will, though I would imagine that most stag and hen events will probably be looking for more immediate thrills than a museum, even one devoted to vaginas. And we should remember that this is Camden that we’re talking about – a part of London that is hardly an oasis of civilisation and good behaviour. I think local residents already have enough miscreant behaviour in the evening to worry about, and the odd vagina-inflamed partier is hardly going to make a difference.
I suspect the six objections to the licence (in contrast to some fifty representations of support) have more to do with a fear of sexuality than a fear of yobbery. It’s the weird idea that sex – even educational, soberly presented sex – will somehow bring out the beast in men (and, it seems, women). It’s the same argument – again, never actually backed up with facts – that is used against strip clubs. The claims that punters will exit the venues in an anti-social and positively rapey frame of mind is regularly trotted out by opponents, but of course, actual crime statistics show that it’s quite the opposite – these venues are actually connected to less crime and general misbehaviour than most pubs (of which Camden has many).
The decision on the Vagina Museum’s licence will be made tomorrow morning. Let’s hope common sense rules for once. Meanwhile, the Vagina Museum’s opening exhibition, Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How to Fight Them begins on November 16th. Full details here.