Wednesday, January 03, 2007

In A Funk

Liz Funk has written a piece on the dangers for underage women at bars:

"No cover for girls before midnight!"

"18+ for ladies, 21+ for guys."

These were the general admission policies for many clubs in New York as the city was getting into the holiday spirit. These policies were advertised on club promotion Web sites or barked at patrons waiting in line to be admitted to the bars and clubs.

But the warmer welcome that young and underage women--those under 21--get at bars is not special to the holidays or New York. Throughout towns and cities across the country bars and clubs often offer discounts to young women.

At Club Paris, for instance--heiress Paris Hilton's nightclub in Orlando, Fla.--young women over 18 pay no cover charge before midnight and are admitted free if they have a college ID. Young men, by contrast, are required to pay a cover charge of $10 before midnight and $5 with a college ID.

While guys their age often get stopped at the nightclub or bar door for lack of convincing proof of age, many young women say they are admitted without a glance or question. Once inside, they are often offered complimentary drinks.

"Bars give away free drinks, then guys offer to buy girls even more drinks and then girls dance erotically with them," says Kate Morris, a 19-year-old from Massachusetts, who says she often goes to bars and clubs with her friends in New York City.


While there are no statistics or national studies about the incidence of bars breaking laws and doing what they can to attract young and underage women, Gary Miller, a senior at New York University, said it's an open secret.

The secret burst into the new York City headlines, however, in July 2006. In a second homicide that summer in the city involving a young woman who had been drinking to excess, 18-year-old Jennifer Moore left one of the city's most exclusive lounges intoxicated. Walking alone in the early morning hours along the city's West Side Highway, she was abducted and raped. Two days later she was found disemboweled in a dumpster in Weehawken, N.J.

"Bar and club owners definitely exploit women," said Miller, who wrote an article in November headlined "Girls exchange dignity for attention in trendy clubs" in the Washington Square News, New York University's student newspaper. "Women become a commodity of the establishment that owners use to draw male patrons in. I think the reason most men go to bars and clubs is to find women. This is why they'll pay a cover charge while women get in free; they're paying for the women inside. Bar and club owners know this. They know the success and appeal of their establishment depends on the quantity and attractiveness of the girls inside."

Gulp. A lot of stuff there, and most of it has been already addressed by Amanda, Pinko Feminist Hellcat, Jill, Violet and Shakes. But if you read the split quote I gave you quickly you get the idea that men are discriminated against in the admissions procedures of these clubs but that this is in fact upside down, because it is the women who are really treated disgustingly. They are the tethered goat that is used to get the tigers or the men with the money. They are part of the amenities of the place, and that may be the point Funk is trying to make. But adding that reference to a horrible murder makes her point something quite different, something to do with punishing the underage women for their irresponsible behavior.

Notice the reference to "dignity" in the quote by Gary Miller? It seems to be a wingnut codeword for women who know their place, or at least that is the way the Pope and the Muslim imams use the term "women's dignity". Women lose their dignity if they act in an uppity manner or if they try to excel in something we all know women can't excel in. And it seems that women lose their dignity in clubs, too.

That tethered goat thing. That is what I have the most trouble with, because the tone of the article assumes that the women going to these bars are all hapless victims, looking for who knows what. Marriage? Enlightenment? And the men who frequent these bars are all tigers looking for a quickie. And rape happens, even murder happens, but somehow the perpetrators are never described. You might get raped by the night air, it seems, especially if you are underage.
Ann at has more and also more links to other posts on the topic.