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Should Ladies' Nights in Bars Be Outlawed Because they Discriminate Against Men?

Columnist Steven Chapman has an interesting column arguing against claims that ladies night's in bars should be banned because they discriminate against men:

When it comes to relations between the sexes, a little common sense goes a long way. It's not sex discrimination to bar men from women's locker rooms. It's not sex discrimination to let only females audition for the role of Juliet. It's not sex discrimination to roughly balance males and females in an entering college class. And it should not be sex discrimination to offer favors to one sex in order to benefit people of both sexes.

Why, after all, would a bar offer discounts to women? Not because the owner harbors a deep-seated hostility toward men, perpetuating centuries of oppression. People who run such establishments understand that a lot of men patronize taverns partly to meet women, and that they will come more often and stay longer if women are abundant than if they are scarce.

Since females are generally less attracted to the bar scene, discounts may be needed to draw them out in respectable numbers. The owner of the Coastline Restaurant and Bar in Cherry Hill, the target of the complaint, said after the ruling came down that his male customers are unhappy "because they're wondering, 'Are the girls going to show up?'" ....

Offering a discount for women, to George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf, is no more defensible than charging whites less than blacks. "Sex discrimination is wrong, no matter whose ox is being gored," he declares.

But context is crucial, and relations between the sexes are different from relations between the races. We don't accept racially segregated restrooms, but we do accept sexually segregated restrooms. All-white colleges would be offensive, but all-female schools are not.

Charging whites less than blacks would suggest a desire to drive away black customers because of racial animus. Charging women less than men suggests nothing comparable.

I blogged about some of the legal issues involved in the ladies' night litigation in this series of posts last year. I argued that ladies' nights don't violate the 14th Amendment and that the anti-ladies' night plaintiffs should not be allowed to proceed with a class action case under which they get to be class representatives for male bar patrons as a group; quite obviously, they would be poor representatives of this class because most male bar patrons actually benefit from ladies' nights and would be harmed by the lawsuits' success. I'm far less certain that ladies' nights are legal under the public accommodations provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If they are not, however, that is a weakness in the law, not a virtue.

UPDATE: I had foolishly forgotten that Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 only bans discrimination in places of public accommodation on "the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin." It doesn't forbid sex discrimination. Therefore, ladies nights in bars are perfectly legal, at least so far as Title II is concerned.

UPDATE #2: It turns out that Tim Sandefur of the libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation has recently filed an amicus brief in a California ladies' night case making arguments similar to some of those advanced in my posts on the subject. The brief is available here.

UPDATE #3: Some commenters argue that Chapman's argument can also be used to justify affirmative action. To some extent, this is true. However, my view is that private sector affirmative action programs should be legal. Therefore, there is no contradiction between my positions on the two issues.

Noops (mail):
If those guys win, it is every guy's duty to make sure they never get laid again.
9.18.2008 8:50pm
Jmaie (mail):
If chosen to be a class representative, my testimony would not be complimentary towards my fellow litigants.
9.18.2008 8:56pm
Boose:
Meh, I've heard this before. No one is going to think harder about it than they would anyway. People who make up stupid laws will think of some way around this logic, even though it's right.
9.18.2008 9:01pm
Paul B:
Questions for the lawyers out here: Does the Civil Rights Act of 1964 cover sex discrimnation in public accomodations? I thought that gender discrimination was only covered under the employment section.
9.18.2008 9:08pm
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
Aw, come on, let's describe what's going on in straightforward terms. Unless I'm not understanding this, over-all, the pool of bar-going guys in question is willing to pay, and the women in question are willing to be paid (i.e., accept the financial benefit of lower prices for ladies) the excess revenue the guys provide (minus the house's cut), to arrange the opportunity for the guys to, ahem, "encounter the ladies socially in the convivial presence of lots of booze".
9.18.2008 9:09pm
Jaypher (mail):
It's not sex discrimination to roughly balance males and females in an entering college class.

Does Chapman realize he's making an argument in favor of affirmative action?
9.18.2008 9:15pm
ShelbyC:
So is discrimination OK or not? Are just the kinds of discrimation that Steve Chapman thinks are OK OK?
9.18.2008 9:20pm
Matt_T:
Does Chapman realize he's making an argument in favor of affirmative action?

Moreover, he's arguing in favor of the sort of "balancing" that the Supreme Court has found particularly offensive to the Constitution in the racial context. Then again, I don't think government has any business telling people who they must admit to their place of business, so...
9.18.2008 9:21pm
Alan Gunn (mail):
This analysis seems right for bars, but there are other places with sex-based discounts that are more puzzling. A shooting range (in a gun shop) near where I live is free for women on Tuesdays. Seems odd, and I doubt that they figure the presence of women will attract guys. Perhaps it's aimed at getting couples who might not otherwise go shooting because the woman would rather go bowling or some such but will shoot if it's free. I am pretty sure it's not discrimination against men. They also give active-duty military people half price.
9.18.2008 9:24pm
lucia (mail) (www):
I bet some clever bar owner will change Ladies night into something where you get a discount if you wear a skirt, high heels and bare legs. A few guys will come dressed in drag, for a while-- but not long because you won't impress the ladies that way.

Someone might sue eventually. But it will work for a while.
9.18.2008 9:30pm
A.W. (mail):
Different treatment is discrimination. Maybe the laws should be changed to make an exception. I am not allergic to that. But to pretend it is legal is silly. Of course i am sure they didn't intend to do away with male and female bathrooms, but beyond that base level? We should read the statute exactly as written and leave it to the law makers to change it if they don't like it.
9.18.2008 9:31pm
Ilya Somin:
Does Chapman realize he's making an argument in favor of affirmative action?


I don't know. But speaking for myself, I believe that affirmative action in the private sector should be legal. Therefore, there is no contradiction between my position on AA and my views on ladies nights.
9.18.2008 9:31pm
DangerMouse:
Frankly, this sounds flat-out illegal because if the opposite were true there'd be howls of mistreatment. That is, if there were a "Men's Night" at a bar, where men got a discount and women didn't, you can be certain that it would be ruled illegal.
9.18.2008 9:37pm
Ilya Somin:
Frankly, this sounds flat-out illegal because if the opposite were true there'd be howls of mistreatment. That is, if there were a "Men's Night" at a bar, where men got a discount and women didn't, you can be certain that it would be ruled illegal.

Maybe there would be such "howls." But current federal law doesn't ban this practice.
9.18.2008 9:47pm
Ilya Somin:
So is discrimination OK or not? Are just the kinds of discrimation that Steve Chapman thinks are OK OK?

All rules discriminate in some sense. For example, rules requiring bar patrons to wear shoes discriminate against those who don't. Rules banning those under 21 or those under 18 discriminate against the young. The question is whether the discrimination in question should be legal. That issue is not addressed simply by saying that "discrimination" is going on.
9.18.2008 9:49pm
J. Aldridge:
Boy that commerce clause works wonders.
9.18.2008 9:56pm
whit:

It's not sex discrimination to bar men from women's locker rooms. It's not sex discrimination to let only females audition for the role of Juliet. It's not sex discrimination to roughly balance males and females in an entering college class. And it should not be sex discrimination to offer favors to one sex in order to benefit people of both sexes.


um. yes it IS sex discrimination to bar men from women's locker rooms, etc.

but it's a form of sex discrimination that we tolerate.

if you treat men differently from women, that's sex discrimination.

also note that it's sex discrimination to prohibit men from playing on women's sports teams. it's just a form of sex discrimination that we tolerate. because women are weaker and slower, so it's "ok" to discriminate.

the issue is with these types of discrimination ... are they LEGAL sex discrimination? but to argue they aren't sex discrimination is grossly ignorant.

i recall bringing up this argument with a college prof back oh so many years ago when i was in college... that ladies nights are sex discrimination.

this is especially laughable...


Why, after all, would a bar offer discounts to women? Not because the owner harbors a deep-seated hostility toward men, perpetuating centuries of oppression. People who run such establishments understand that a lot of men patronize taverns partly to meet women, and that they will come more often and stay longer if women are abundant than if they are scarce.


that's great but completely irrelevant to his point that it's not sex discrimination. essentially he's saying that it's not sex discrimination because there is good reason to do it. that's NOT an argument it isn't sex discrimination. that's an argument that it is legal and/or morally justified.
9.18.2008 9:57pm
Toby:
A.W. misses a fundamental point.

There is *nothing* illegal about discrimination. The law often requires it. The law discriminates between ages for school attendnace and for work rules. The law requres discrinating between 17 and 18 yeard actresses in porn movies. The law requires discriminating between people of disparate ages engaging in sex under many circumstances. Discrimination is illegal is one of the fuzziest notions ever propagated. Unfortunately, A.W. is far from alone.

*Some* discrimation, however, is illegal. The question here is twofold. Should *this* kind of discrination be legal and why? *Is* this kind of discrimination legal and why?

As a general rule, discrimination that is acknowledged to create an onerous disparate effect, particularly following an odious past history, has been made illegal. I do no think that either is the case here.
9.18.2008 9:58pm
Matt_T:
Frankly, this sounds flat-out illegal because if the opposite were true there'd be howls of mistreatment.

The latter does not establish the former. More importantly, if you're going to let feminists set the standard for your argument about unequal treatment, you've already lost.
9.18.2008 9:58pm
whit:

All rules discriminate in some sense. For example, rules requiring bar patrons to wear shoes discriminate against those who don't. Rules banning those under 21 or those under 18 discriminate against the young. The question is whether the discrimination in question should be legal. That issue is not addressed simply by saying that "discrimination" is going on.


exactly. similarly, requiring an SAT of XXXX discriminates (against dumb people), requiring that applicants to your sports team can actually play the sport well, also discriminates.

"discrimination" has gotten a bad rap, but all it means is to make a choice between better or worse options.

CERTAIN kinds of discrimination - based on sex or race are bad (and usually illegal), but not all.

people are hesitant to admit anything is discrimination because then it seems like its automatically "bad", when in fact it's not.
9.18.2008 10:00pm
whit:

As a general rule, discrimination that is acknowledged to create an onerous disparate effect, particularly following an odious past history, has been made illegal. I do no think that either is the case here.


and there is a big difference between "private sphere" and public sphere discrimination. the former, whether "bad" or not, is usually legally ok, because it's none of govt. business.

if you choose to only let asian people into your own home, and not blacks or whites, that may be "onerous" but it's clearly your choice.

similarly, you can choose to only date attractive women, but if you choose to only serve attractive women at your bar, that would not be ok.
9.18.2008 10:03pm
AndrewK (mail):
If the point of the litigation is to prove certain legislation absurd, that's one thing. If the point is to ACTUALLY get ladies' nights banned, I take offense. As a policy matter, I can easily see how permitting all private discrimination would at least partially select for benign, Pareto-optimal discrimination of the ladies' night variety, while selecting against the forms of discrimination that harm one party or the other.

This is all policy, however, and is simply pointed out because I noticed the litigant in California is ostensibly "libertarian."
9.18.2008 10:25pm
Railroad Gin:
When I was was hanging out with my friends in my 20s, the compliant was always that there weren't enough women at the bar not that there were too many. This is silly.

Except in the 70s wasn't there litigation that shut down men only Monday Night Football nights and the like? Isn't there some famous bar on 86th Street in NYC that was forced to allow women into the bar?

Given that we've gone down this road of insanity, I'm not going to be surprised if this someday prevails.
9.18.2008 10:30pm
smitty1e:
@Noops
>If those guys win, it is every guy's duty to make sure they never get laid again.

Are you suggesting universal marriage? Is that a variation on the theme of conscription?
Those pronouns can be so troublesome.
9.18.2008 10:46pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Isn't there some famous bar on 86th Street in NYC that was forced to allow women into the bar?"

You are thinking of McSorley's Old Ale House which is on 7th Street not 86 St. And yes in 1969 it was sued to allow women to enter. Women had been banned since 1854, and in 1970 women were allowed to enter. I well remember the transition and some men were happy about it while others were not. New York City has plenty of bars, and a woman no trouble at all finding lots of them. I don't see why one tavern should not be free to continue its historical practice of providing a special place for men. Most bars want to allow women to attract men so I don't see a problem. We have traditionally black colleges, so why can't we have one traditionally male bar?
9.18.2008 10:52pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
Justice Thomas might argue that this discriminates against women who would be perfectly happy to pay full price, and would prefer not to be more-than-usual hassled by drunk guys.
These cases are rarely about federal legislation, but come up in the context of municipal ordinances in PC college towns.
9.18.2008 10:55pm
Guessed:
You may or may not be aware that the Chapman article is a reprint from 2004 . . . that is, it was around well before your last posts on the subject.
9.18.2008 11:16pm
theobromophile (www):
Wouldn't the closest analogy be senior citizen discounts that some restaurants are so fond of giving out? It's not rational to expect that 65-year-olds are necessarily less well off than starving college students or single moms, but only one group gets discounts in order to attract their business.

Likewise, airplane seats and hotel rooms (on hotels.com or hotwire) go for all sorts of different prices. The benefit of reduced pricing is not given out on the basis of sex or age, but on economics: there is a very small marginal cost to add extra people to otherwise empty seats on a flight. In effect, a discount given to one group of people can result in a lower, not higher, price for the "full-fare" travelers, because the discount people help to offset some of the fixed costs.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing happen on Ladies' Nights. If they are eliminated, the price for men could increase, too.

There is a secondary benefit to women: being in an environment that is not overwhelmingly male. When there is a heavily male-dominated atmosphere, it is not as if men all compete for women's attention and treat them well; often, they get rather crude and demanding, and create an atmosphere that does not feel safe. Most women don't want to go to bars and feel like they are in a meat market.

DangerMouse: if men got discounts on cooking or ballet classes, I wouldn't complain. The other six days of the week, they would have to pay full price, and it's not like I'm being charged extra.
9.18.2008 11:57pm
road2serfdom:
Whit: "but if you choose to only serve attractive women at your bar, that would not be ok."

I don't think that is against the law. Don't some trendy places have bouncers for that purpose? Ugly is not a protected class is it? Is there any case law on that issue? That would be interesting to read.
9.19.2008 12:22am
hawkins:

However, my view is that private sector affirmative action programs should be legal.


Just out of curiosity, how much support is there for prohibiting private sector AA?
9.19.2008 12:22am
Brian G (mail) (www):
I used to go to Ladies Night every Wednesday night at the Coastline in Cherry Hill. I even used to DJ there for a time. Let me tell you, ladies night was packed. Unless gay clubs are your thing, why would guys want to go to a sausage party? The Coastline was always about 2-1 women to men, which is exactly the way I liked it. And, men spend a ton more money at bars than women do. I used to buy drinks for several different girls every week when I was single.

Nothing wrong with ladies night. I am sure those who are complaining can't get a date.
9.19.2008 12:37am
Tony Tutins (mail):
The bars are rationally trying to attract customers on a night when few come. Having ladies' night attracts both women seeking a bargain and men seeking to meet women. It's a win-win-win as far as I'm concerned.

Fifty years ago, bars could substitute skirt night (or hosiery night, bra night, or high heels night). But not since then.

Maybe handbag night?

Re McSorley's: The bar at the Berghoff in Chicago was men's only until 1969 as well. At the noon hour, men (and later women) would line up to get freshly carved sandwiches of ham, roast beef, or tongue, then belly up to the bar (hooking a foot under the bar rail because the bar had no stools) to wash it down with a shot of Berghoff bourbon, or a stein of light or dark beer.
9.19.2008 12:39am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
If the purpose of the discount is to attract a class of customers that is underrepresented, intuitively, this is not discrimination against others, even if a protected class is involved. For example, although there may be a legal problem, I don't see any ethical objection to, say, a curling rink offering a discount for black people in an effort to attract black people to a sport whose participants are overwhelmingly white. Similarly, suppose that a restaurant specializing in black cuisine were to offer a discount to white people or asians in an effort to expand its clientele?
9.19.2008 12:54am
Alcyoneus (mail):
Yes, yes, Ilya. The law that discriminates against men is always legal, and the law that discriminates against women is always justifiable.

You're an asshole.
9.19.2008 1:02am
David Chesler (mail) (www):
So is there a principle that says you have to let both genders into your public accomodation bar, but you may charge one gender more than the other?
9.19.2008 1:10am
Thomas_Holsinger:
Make it a Title IX violation and require bars to be licensed by the Federal Civil Rights Commission. This will dramatically increase the graft income of the Obama administration.
9.19.2008 1:12am
Randy R. (mail):
" It's not sex discrimination to let only females audition for the role of Juliet. "

Well, perhaps it is. Here in Washington, The Shakespeare Theatre is currently doing an all-male production of Romeo and Juliet.

Which, of course, is the traditional way to do it, at least back in Shakespeare's time.

(And in a tit for tat, another local company is doing an all-female production of the same play.)
9.19.2008 1:15am
Randy R. (mail):
Lucia: "I bet some clever bar owner will change Ladies night into something where you get a discount if you wear a skirt, high heels and bare legs. A few guys will come dressed in drag, for a while-- but not long because you won't impress the ladies that way."

Those bars already exist -- they are called 'gay bars'. And, believe it or not, guys in drag DO impress many people, men and women alike. So much so, they get tips, especially if they do a good lipsync.

And trust me, these bars are *waaaaay* more fun than boring hetero bars, but that's just me.
9.19.2008 1:19am
SKardner (mail):
The assumption is often that Ladies' Nights work in favor of men by attracting groups of women who quickly self-intoxicate. The problem with this assumption is that men on the prowl are not looking for women in groups who treat bars like their refrigerator. A better means of encouraging hook-ups is to have a Men's Night, where men drink for free during a given period. This ensures that there are plenty of drunk men at the location. Women interested in the attention of men will show and ask men to buy them drinks. Since these cross-gender drink purchases have already been subsidized in the form of free drinks for men, men will have little problem paying for them: they are free.
9.19.2008 1:30am
A.W. (mail):
Toby

I can't say in state by state, but actually, no discrimination by sex is usually illegal.

> As a general rule, discrimination that is acknowledged to create an onerous disparate effect, particularly following an odious past history, has been made illegal. I do no think that either is the case here.

I have never seen a statute on this subject that talks about any connection to bad history. And besides a case can be made that it is invidious discriination. These bars are trying uniquely hard to get women to drink. And the men there are there in part because they hope those women will become easy when they are drunk. Personally, I say God bless them all around, but I am not going to advocate ignoring any statute just because I like the outcome.

Like I said, pretending that a law that says "no sex discrimination in bars" means that ladies' night is alright is just bull. I want them to change the law, but to do so the right way—by a new law.
9.19.2008 2:08am
whit:

And in a tit for tat, another local company is doing an all-female production of the same play



pun intended?
9.19.2008 2:33am
Toby:
A.W.

So you are aguing that all the forms of sex discrimination listed are illegal, from family law to restrooms?

Time to quote Inigo Montoya...

Next, we have the Fast Food Preservation Act, in which the discriminating palate is made illegal.
9.19.2008 9:06am
A.W. (mail):
Toby,

Are you trying to be obtuse here?

Look, if you want my policy preference, it is exactly what Thad. Stevens, father of the Fourteenth Amendment said: "No distinction should be tolerated in this purified republic but what arose from merit and conduct."

But the real subject of discussion is not what your preferred outcome is, but how you want the law to be read. In most states, in this situation, it says it is illegal to discriminate because of sex. To discriminate is to treat differently, period. There are typically no references to historical injustices and the like in the text.

Now what the original post here argued is that we can and should carve out exceptions based on common sense. To make the point that this is appropriate the author points out that most people agree that separate bathrooms, locker rooms and the like are still legal. This despite the fact that if they were racially segregated bathrooms, etc. that would be considered flat out illegal.

Now I say to that, fair enough. But where the author of the post and I differ is on how far they would go creating an exception to the otherwise straightforward language. I wouldn't go as far as the author would, because I feel that this sort of thing should only be done sparingly in uniquely clear situations—and that is not the case with Ladies' Night. Instead I would leave rewriting the law to where it belongs: in the hands of the legislature.

But your point about "discriminating tastes" misses the mark. We aren't talking about what Joe Shmo does walking down the street. We are not talking about private persons expressing private preferences. We are talking about discrimination by a public accommodation.
9.19.2008 11:15am
Will Lewis (mail) (www):
Anybody who thinks that "Ladies' Night" is just about ladies is a moron. Ladies' Night is about everybody. Cheap drinks for the ladies is about greasing the wheels of the mating process. I love Ladies' Night.
9.19.2008 11:21am
A.C.:
Randy --

Are you planning to see the two gender-bending DC productions? I'm planning to see the all-girl one this weekend and the all-boy one next weekend. Both should be fun. Who doesn't enjoy men in dresses and women with swords?

I think a bar that wants to attract more women should try to create an environment that women want to be in. Have someplace to sit down, for example. Heels can be murder if you have to stand in them for a couple of hours. Decent bathrooms, flattering lights, bartenders that actually serve women rather than waiting on all the men first... discounts on booze are probably cheaper, but there are lots of other approaches that could work.
9.19.2008 11:24am
Deoxy (mail):
I would just like the government to get its nose out of private business. I should be able to charge people whatever I want to enter my place, either by sex, gender, color, height, skin color, number of fingers, randomly, weight, party affiliation, or what-have-you.

The government shouldn't be involved in this at all.
9.19.2008 11:27am
mjb (mail):
Bars need to be more creative. They need to have a Ladies' Night and a Men's Night. Ladies Night is Friday, women drink cheap and everyone wins for all the reasons described. Men's Night is Monday. Men drink cheap, women stay away, men get to watch football in a relatively lady-less environment and the bar gets to make up the difference by stuffing the men with overpriced buffalo wings. And no discrimination because men and women get the same deals only on different nights. It's a win-win-win.
9.19.2008 11:59am
Elliot123 (mail):
How about a Black Night to ecourage diversity in bars and restaurants? More blacks would come to the establishment, giving everyone more of a chance to really get to know each other and foster a post-racial society.
9.19.2008 12:07pm
David Schwartz (mail):
Anybody who thinks that "Ladies' Night" is just about ladies is a moron. Ladies' Night is about everybody. Cheap drinks for the ladies is about greasing the wheels of the mating process. I love Ladies' Night.
The fundamental question is, for those who believe private discrimination by sex should generally be prohibited, should it be prohibited even if it benefits the vast majority of people?

The argument is essentially that laws that prohibit discrimination aren't supposed to benefit the people who would be discriminated against individually. It's supposed to benefit the class as a whole.

Since ladies night benefits men generally, and only harms a few individual men, it shouldn't be prohibited.

If you accept a collectivist justification for such laws, why not a collectivist exception for where the law fails to benefit the collective it was supposed to help?
9.19.2008 1:22pm
A.W. (mail):
Okay, is it just me or are virtually no women talking about this in the thread?

Maybe VC needs a "ladies night" to get them here. :-)
9.19.2008 1:43pm
Randy R. (mail):
AC: "Are you planning to see the two gender-bending DC productions? I'm planning to see the all-girl one this weekend and the all-boy one next weekend. Both should be fun. Who doesn't enjoy men in dresses and women with swords?

Of course! I certainly will see the all male version first. It will be fun to see the some on the audience squirm with the male-male kiss. Perhaps I should take a date with me and we can 'warm up' the audience in the lobby beforehand!
9.19.2008 1:45pm
Randy R. (mail):
It's always fun to see the trouble heteros go through to get laid. In gayland, we already know that the other guy wants, so you just have to say "hi" and things go smoothly from there. I suppose that's why a lot of guys hate gays and like to beat us up. Our revenge is that we get more sex.

Course, now that I'm a bit older and grayer, that's getting less and less frequent.....
9.19.2008 1:48pm
A.C.:
Oh, Washington audiences are used to male-male kisses by now. Or did you miss "Edward II" last season?

There are at least two women here that I know of, theobromiphile and me. Anybody else?
9.19.2008 1:51pm
A.C.:
Sorry. Theobromophile, isn't it? I'm spacing out as I think about "Edward II." Wild show.
9.19.2008 1:53pm
theobromophile (www):
Okay, is it just me or are virtually no women talking about this in the thread?

At least two! What, do you think that many men go around talking about mood lighting or how high heels are rough on the feet? or announcing their undying love of chocolate through their nomes de blog?

I dunno, A.C.. Maybe we're not real girls.
9.19.2008 1:59pm
Randy R. (mail):
Darn it, I missed Edward II, and I really wanted to see it. Glad to hear that audiences are warming up -- I know for a fact that Judge Bork used to attend the Shakespeare Theater, but maybe not since he heard that the Director and most of the men on stage are gay. You know, he probably just can't stand the fact that traditional theater and arts are supported and produced mainly by the very people who he things are destroying our culture.

Anyhoo -- You'll be going to Reel Affirmations next month, I hope? There is nothing like seeing a gay movie with 1200 other gay people, and we get ALL the jokes.

If you heteros feel left out, join us! You won't have more fun that seeing a good drag show, and yes hetero men do attend. Usually with a female date.
9.19.2008 2:02pm
Sigivald (mail):
all-female schools are not [offensive]

They aren't?

I'd think they should be, to women, who are told that they're incapable of learning well in the presence of males, by the very existence of "women's colleges".

And to men who might want access to the academic content of such a school, but are forbidden purely because of their sex.

I see no substantive difference between "whites only" and "women only" in terms of a college.

(I see a difference in terms of bathrooms because there, genitalia are actually relevant, and there's a much more plausible compelling interest in sexual segregation for privacy's sake - and of course bathrooms really can be "separate but equal" [or at least equivalent, since making them "equal" would paper over real differences in biology that make urinals a good idea for a men's bathroom and a stupid idea for a women's].

But "women need special women-only colleges"? Insulting to women as well as to men.)
9.19.2008 2:17pm
A.C.:
Straight men looking for women should get out of the bars and cultivate an interest in the arts. There are a lot of straight women who would like to find dates who will sit through Shakespeare or opera. Any man who will do so willingly, with a nice jacket on and without complaint, can probably get all the action he wants.

(I won't even mention ballet because I just don't see it doing much good, but classical theater and opera can be very butch. Try it. You may like it.)
9.19.2008 2:21pm
theobromophile (www):
Sigivald,

You're erroneously conflating "want" with "need." Women are capable of learning in co-ed environments; they often choose not to. Furthermore, as a historical matter, it made sense to have all-women's schools when the other schools would not allow women to be admitted, no matter how smart. These days, women have other options, but choose schools like Wellesley and Smith for the atmosphere.

Do you find all-male colleges (both historically and currently, such as Hampden Syndey in Virginia) to be offensive?

As for those poor men who don't have access to the course content: boo frickin hoo. Like there is some huge deprivation in taking calculus at Hampden Sydney and not at Sweet Briar.
9.19.2008 2:33pm
A.W. (mail):
theo

Ah, the hazards of going on limited and anecdotal evidence.

I did not mean to impugn your femininity. :-)
9.19.2008 3:22pm
Toby:
A.W.

Now that you have moved past "Discrimination is Illegal" always and everywhere, toe "Sexual Discrimation is Illegal" always and everywhere, you are half way there.

Illegal Discrimination is Illegal.
Illegal Sexualt Discrimination is Illegal.

Discrimination is defined as Neutral discernment; The act of discriminating, distinguishing, or noting/perceiving differences which exist

As many have pointed out in this thread, there is a whole host of forms of discrimination that are legal, forms of even sexual discrimination that are legal. That's why statutes tend to say titles like "Sexual Discrimination in Employment", specifying what they are talking about.

Of course there is another standard, that which says words mean whatever slogan was said last. This position is attributed to Humpty Dumpty.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all.'

But for those who favor plain english,
Inigo says it best
9.19.2008 3:29pm
A.W. (mail):
Toby

I am not going to argue with you anymore. You are hallucinating stances I didn't take. Because your hallucinations have shifted you falsely believe my POSITIONS have shifted, when in fact all you have done is force me to repeat what I had already said.

I never said all discrimination against any and all things or persons in all situations was illegal. There is a new concept in the English language. Its called CONTEXT you complete moron.

I never said that all sex discrimination was illegal. I specifically mentioned the example of separate bathrooms, in my first post.

What I said was that most state laws in their plain language banned all sex discrimination without exception within certain areas, usually including public accommodations and that we should not create exceptions to the blanket rule because we think we can read the legislative minds, except under rare circumstances. Separate bathrooms justified a judicially-created exception; Ladies' Night does not.

Either accidentally or out of an abundance of stupidity, you have literally never understood the words I wrote, or you chose to ignore what I wrote and stated that I argued for something that I didn't.

Since you are incapable, mentally or morally, of discussing my actual argument and arguing for or against it, you can kindly f--- off.
9.19.2008 4:14pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
A shooting range (in a gun shop) near where I live is free for women on Tuesdays. Seems odd, and I doubt that they figure the presence of women will attract guys.
As a gun nut, if I were in the market for a wife/girlfriend a woman's willingness to participate in shooting sports would be a lot more attractive than her willingness to get plowed and laid.

The gun club I belong to holds an annual NRA Women on Target day to encourage female shooters. It's sponsored by our local adult education program. I have the privilege of teaching the handgun portion. It's October 4, if anyone is near central Texas.
Different treatment is discrimination.
While literally true, I would hope that the law would only be used to prevent situations where people were discriminated against. Certainly there should be a defense against legal action where both parties benefit from the practice. The perpetrators of actions like this one are those who believe, "It's fun, therefore it should be illegal."
9.19.2008 6:02pm
A.C.:
The primary reason I would go to a women-only shooting class, or class in auto mechanics, or any other stereotypically male activity, would be to avoid getting bossed or shut out by men who considered the activity to be part of their area of natural expertise. In my experience, that sort of thing is a barrier to my learning.

I assume that many men would feel the same way in a cooking class, class in child care, or something else that is stereotypically female. Assuming they are are there to learn, that is, and not to pick up women.

That's not an issue when it comes to bars. I assume that everyone, of whatever sex or orientation, can figure out the mechanics of getting drunk and having sex.
9.19.2008 6:38pm
A.W. (mail):
A.C.

> Assuming they are are there to learn, that is, and not to pick up women.

Don't you know that everything men do is about sex?

(Follow for very funny futurama clip.)
9.19.2008 7:13pm
David Schwartz (mail):
But, A.C., stopping precisely that is the reason for these laws. We understand that people would prefer to discriminate. If people with blond hair are over-represented in the prison population, it's very easy just not to hire people with blond hair. Why bother investigating the individual and giving them the benefit of the doubt?

The whole point of those laws is to say to people who would prefer to do that -- tough. You will have to evaluate people as individuals. You will not be able to insulate yourself from those who might discriminate against you. Integration is the decision the law compels.

I understand why people might rationally want to engage in the "bad kind" of discrimination. If I'm hiring people to work in a day care center, I might prefer not to hire any people who meet the typical profile of a child molester. I might prefer, for good rational reasons, only to hire married women. But the law won't let me do that.

Rational discrimination is just as problematic as irrational discrimination. In fact, it's more important to prohibit rational discrimination, since it's less likely to disappear on its own.

Not that I agree with this position, but it's the position behind laws against private discrimination.
9.19.2008 7:20pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Alan Gunn (mail):
This analysis seems right for bars, but there are other places with sex-based discounts that are more puzzling. A shooting range (in a gun shop) near where I live is free for women on Tuesdays. Seems odd, and I doubt that they figure the presence of women will attract guys.

A private range could consider the economic advantage of an expanded customer base. Shooting is traditionally a men's deal and gun shops and ranges are looking for a new clientele. Especially when you consider that women control the purse strings in many marriages (speaking of mine, here) and a shooting wife would object less to gunshop charges on the credit card statement. Or so the thinking goes.

Many women (especially newbies to the activity) also express a preference for shooting in a gender segregated atmosphere. I've seen lots of guys turn into flaming A-holes when they begin teaching the "little woman" how to shoot. Learning to safely handle a firearm can be a stressful activity--especially if you've been culturally conditioned to fear weapons--and who needs more stress injected into the process?
9.19.2008 9:12pm
SKardner (mail):

Straight men looking for women should get out of the bars and cultivate an interest in the arts. There are a lot of straight women who would like to find dates who will sit through Shakespeare or opera. Any man who will do so willingly, with a nice jacket on and without complaint, can probably get all the action he wants.



Yes. If what "action" means is sitting through Shakespeare or opera.


They need to have a Ladies' Night and a Men's Night. Ladies Night is Friday, women drink cheap and everyone wins for all the reasons described. Men's Night is Monday. Men drink cheap, women stay away, men get to watch football in a relatively lady-less environment and the bar gets to make up the difference by stuffing the men with overpriced buffalo wings.



This is wrong. You are assuming that any Men's Night is going to be at a sports bar and involve sedentary viewing of sports on large screens. Sports bars are different than other bars, and women generally don't go to sports bars to meet men.
9.19.2008 9:35pm
Volokh Groupie:
the thing is this argument defending ladies night doesn't really work for gay men, who probably don't have any interest having more women at a bar and who are probably excluded by such a policy...it has the double effect of discriminating based upon gender and de facto discrimination based upon sexual orientation

saying 'well gay bars exist' is tantamount to claiming that as long as their are separate but fair accommodations for a minority group it's ok to discriminate against them--and we know how well that arguments works out before the SCOTUS
9.19.2008 11:35pm
David Schwartz (mail):
Groupie: If we don't allow separate but equal in private accomodations, we get some real absurdities. Can a grocery store offer traditional Jewish food without offering tradition food for every other ethnicity? Can you even have a Catholic Church?
9.22.2008 4:07am
Randy R. (mail):
AC: "Straight men looking for women should get out of the bars and cultivate an interest in the arts. There are a lot of straight women who would like to find dates who will sit through Shakespeare or opera. Any man who will do so willingly, with a nice jacket on and without complaint, can probably get all the action he wants."

Right on, AC. Any idea of how many women I know, married or not, who want to go the theater with me? They have no one else -- husbands, bfs, or no one, they can't get anyone to go. Me, I'm happy to go by myself, principally because it's easier to do so at the last minute and get the rush tix. But when I go with a galpal, we have to plan it in advance, and dinner is usually involved as well.

So -- I have all these dates with women. If hetero men only knew this, they could get laid a lot more often, but they assume, as SKarnder does, that opera doesn't lead to sex, but bars do.
9.22.2008 5:52pm