Vol. 14 No. 08: August 3, 2010
Gender Absurdity Lowers the Bar
By Sally C. Pipes, President and CEO, Pacific Research Institute
Last month, we noted some good news for women, who now outpace men in higher education and are faring better economically during the recession. Women who go out to celebrate, however, might run into some problems, at least in Minnesota. That state’s Department of Human Rights has ruled that “ladies’ night” at bars, when women get special prices on drinks, constitutes illegal “gender discrimination.”
This absurd ruling will interest Contrarian readers for a number of reasons. It was not based on a complaint from the National Organization for Women, the American Association of University Women, or any individual woman, feminist, or otherwise. Rather, the sole plaintiff was a man.
Mr. Steve Horner, described as “balding and bespectacled,” told reporters he had not set foot in any of the bars where the gender discrimination allegedly took place. He fancies himself as a defender of the Constitution but, according to news reports, he has raked in $6,000 in damages. Comedy Central saw fit to lampoon Mr. Horner’s crusade, which is good for more than a laugh. Indeed, the case confirms that men are fully capable of adopting the gender-grievance mindset of militant feminism.
Political correctness in general, and gender absurdity in particular, make no sense, as we have often pointed out. Unfortunately, they are accepted at face value by an unquestioning media, and thus garner plenty of free advertising. The gender-grievance mindset also permeates government bodies such as the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, and of course many others, state and federal. In the politically-correct rule book, men and women are “undifferentiated,” which everybody knows is untrue, but any challenge to that dogma must be rejected. Big Brother eagerly volunteers for that task.
The ladies’ night crusade also reveals ignorance of economics and business, where price differentials are, in fact, common practice. At the grocery store, for example, a woman who clips a coupon will get a lower price on an item than a man who fails to clip the coupon. This practice has been around for decades and courts have not seen fit to rule against it.
Anyone who frequents movie theatres will know that they charge different rates for senior citizens, children, students, and so forth. This too has continued for decades, without any ruling of illegality. Likewise, restaurants offer early-bird discounts for seniors, a group that includes women, and special meal prices for kids, a group that includes girls. Developers offer special deals on homes for first-time buyers, some of whom are women, and so on.
On ladies’ night, men may not get the same price as women on a margarita, but they benefit in other ways. More women are likely to patronize that particular establishment, which will doubtless prompt no complaints from men to any human rights commission. In a free society, bar owners are free to offer ladies’ night, or not. Customers are free to patronize those establishments, or not.
It’s worth taking into account what bar owners think of the ladies’ night crusade. Kenn Rockler, executive director of the Tavern League of Minnesota, told reporters, “I think common sense tells you that if you’ve got one person complaining in 17 years, it looks to me like you’re looking for the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.” Good point, but by giving attention to a non-problem, the Commission has certainly lowered the bar on common sense.
That only gives aid and comfort to the gender-grievance militants and encourages more government intervention in our lives. We should not be surprised if the crusade against ladies’ night spreads to other states. As always, the Contrarian will keep an eye on the gender police.
Ms. Pipes’s new book, “The Truth About Obamacare” is available online at Amazon.com and major bookstores everywhere.