Girls Night In: The Boycott Symbolic of Our Exhaustion
Girls Night In. A phrase typically reserved for an evening filled with films, wine, and gossip as of last week became endowed with a far more political stance. It is now the slogan for the nightclub boycott occurring in cities throughout the UK during the coming and past week ,a boycott to urge for recent spiking incidents to be taken seriously, and changes to nightlife culture made. The campaign calls for a higher focus on prevention, welfare, and support in venues following upsetting reports surfacing of women being spiked with needles; claims the Nottinghamshire Police, West Yorkshire Police, and Police Scotland are currently investigating. The boycott's response has been mostly encouraging. Individual Instagram pages for cities and universities throughout the UK have amassed strong followings, and allies, in the form of societies and even nightclubs, have made themselves known.
But Girls Night In isn’t only about spiking. It’s a boycott that symbolises the final straw in what can only be described as generations of neglect of us women from our nightclubbing cultures. In all honesty, I think our absence from nightclubs has made our point loud and clear: we are too tired mentally for another night out. Too tired to endure more evenings undercut with fear. Tired of having exit strategies and defense plans lined up and navigating our nights out as if they are some sort of survival mission. Because, if you weren't aware, along with the horrendous incidents of spiking there are also clubs full of women who every evening are drained from having to watch their own backs.
For women, clubbing has always been a much more complex excursion than an evening of enjoyment or a break from reality .Our evening's are constantly disrupted by an inner voice warning us to stay vigilant, be sensible or else we may be the next case of spiking or harassment. Our evenings are clouded with anxiety over our outfit's modesty as we question if the worst case scenario were to occur, would anyone be sympathetic or were we dressed as someone who was 'asking for it?' Our evenings are filled with pangs of guilt, at the presumptions and wariness we must have about the men who approach us. So, it should be no wonder women's final strategy is to stay in.
There has, of course, been backlash to the effectiveness of the campaign. Mair Howells, starter of the Ivebeenspiked Group told The Independent "I don't believe women should be made to stay indoors", arguing women aren't tackling the root of the problem but instead giving in to the trolls that have said "if you don't want to get spiked, stay in". And such reasoning would be sound, had we made any real advances in support of women's safety and been previously offered anything more tangible than the PM's advice to flag down a bus if in danger.
Yes, protective drink covers and full-body searches upon entry won't tackle the root of vile perpetrators that spike people's drinks. However, the actions being made by clubs in aiming to prevent spiking, will perhaps make us feel safer, more seen, more heard. Make us feel as if our enjoyment and presence amongst the night-time industry is valued. Make us feel as if others are finally on our team despite decades of what has felt like a battle against everyone but ourselves. The sad reality of the Girls Night In boycott is we still cannot be afforded the privileges of tackling an issue immediately from its root cause, the spikers themselves. Yet, with the support and conversations that the boycott could allow we can begin on the road to palpable change, and at the very least alleviate some of the mental exhaustion that is bound to being a woman on a night out. So, from all of us women, (although we have gotten this far on our own), we are tired and we need your help this time.
Article by Orla McHale
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