By: Kari S.
A few weekends ago I was sitting on my friend’s back porch with two of my girlfriends and two young men I had never met before. We were all trying to decide on which bar to attend in the city. The bar we all agreed to enforced a cover charge for men, but women were allowed to enter for free. When we made this clear to the gentlemen, they began complaining in a tirade of ignorance about how women are “so lucky” and if we really wanted equal opportunity then we would have to give up all the free drinks and the free access to bars. I feel like this is one of the most common complaints I hear from men about equality and privilege, and I actually have grown quite numb to it, to the extent that I rarely bother to comment or argue. But today I want to address such complaints and explain why they are illegitimate in their foundations.
First of all, what these gentlemen were trying to articulate is that they feel women have privileges in society that men do not have and yet still fight for equal rights. These men do not understand the goal or the antagonist of feminism. In a simplistic sense, feminism is a fight against patriarchy because patriarchy oppresses many groups (not just women), and creates a male-centered society. (These men also do not understand true privilege, but that is another blog entry for another day.) While the guys were trying to bemoan the privileges of women because we get into bars for free, they failed to ask themselves WHY women are not forced to pay a cover charge. If you really ask yourself to get to the root of this issue, I think it becomes clear that it’s not women at fault for the free access, but in fact patriarchy’s fault. Let me explain.
If men own bars and clubs, and men attend them, then there is a chance that these men are seeking women to dance with, meet, talk to, etc. When there are more men in a club than there are women, there are fewer women for each man to talk to, and more men to compete against. In the constant refrain of whining men, it’s just so dang hard for guys to approach scary women, because being rejected is just a paramount crisis for a man with an ego to maintain. Therefore, a clever plan has been introduced: if men have to pay to get in, and women don’t, then there are likely to be more women in the bar than there are men. The result is that men have less competition and more women to choose from.
At the end of the day, patriarchy is still at fault for all the “privileges” we women “enjoy,” while men have to suffer the five-dollar charges imposed by their own sex in a clever disguise of female privilege. It’s really quite a shame that so many people are fooled so easily. I believe that deep inside all intelligent people is a feminist, because after you actually de-bunk things in life, patriarchy is always the villain.