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6:58pm on Thursday, 18th March, 2010:

Men and Ladies


This is a poster outside the nightclub on Colchester's High Street, Liquid:

Uh? I guess that kind of thing must still be legal, then. "Men" have to pay £15 to get in on Friday but "ladies" only pay £12?

OK, so given that this isn't a gay club, I can see why they would do this. They generally want a balance between men and women ladies, but more men want to go than women ladies want to go. By charging men more, they reduce their numbers (and, furthermore, give those men who do attend the impression that there will be lots of women ladies there because it's cheaper for women ladies to get in).

I think it's disgraceful that they are allowed to do this. Imagine the furore if West End musicals charged men less to get in than they charged women! They could reason that lots of husbands are reluctant to go to these sorry affairs, therefore their wives don't get to go either, but if they charged the men less then they would go, which would mean two people in the audience who wouldn't be there if they charged the same amount. Yet there would still be pages of newsprint devoted to it, virtually none of it complementary.

What particularly annoys me about this kind of thing is that when change finally does come, it's generally because women feel they're getting a bad deal. Nightclubs that charge men more than women ladies are basically using women ladies as bait; they are trying to get more women ladies to go, because the more women ladies that go then the more men will go. That's demeaning (or whatever) to ladies women, therefore it must be stopped. Yes, I can see that being used as a reason to make women ladies have to pay the same as men, but I can't see its happening purely on fairness grounds.

I seem to recall the 1970s British Rail practice of charging women less for InterCity train travel was finally banned for this kind of reason (ie. it implied that men went out to work whereas women stayed at home), rather than because it was unfair. The last case I heard of when such a gender-based price differential went to court was for a woman who had her hair done at the same establishment as her husband and she was charged twice as much; judgment went against her because it took three times as long to do her hair than it did her husband's.

It's sad when so much anti-sexism is itself sexist.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).