Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ladies Nights and Vegas

I have a piece in The New York Times today about a complaint filed against the Las Vegas Athletic Club claiming their discounts for women constitute discrimination against men. If the Nevada Equal Rights Commission rules against LVAC, it could have a far-reaching impact on the Vegas nightclub scene where ladies-free and ladies-drink-free promotions are an important part of the business model.

The piece is here.

Any thoughts? Are any women offended by getting discounts?

5 comments:

BSquared said...

With all the actual problems in this world that need fixing I'd have thought people would have better things to do than make frivolous claims like this one...but I guess that's where all law leads...down a rabbit hole. Frankly I think if you own a business you should be able to do whatever you want there...if you only want to serve white folks (or only men or only gay folks or only midgets with one leg)...fine. I reckon the market place would take care of such businesses pretty quickly as I don't know too many people who would do business with 'em. I've experienced some discrimination in my time (I'm a woman working in a very male dominated profession) but I've found that building relationships with people has had far more impact on changing discriminatory practices than any regulation.

I'll get off my soapbox now.

For the record I'm not offended by ladies nights...I simply don't attend. I gave looking for things to be offended by years ago.

THE STRIP PODCAST GUYS said...

If the marketplace was so efficient at stamping out discrimination, it never would have existed in the first place. I'm not commenting on the merits of this case, but I wonder if people would be as dismissive of the topic if the situation was that women were being charged more than men for the same services. There are many examples of that around -- dry cleaners often charge women more for cleaning the same shirts that men bring in, for instance. Is that appropriate?

V.S. said...

"if you only want to serve white folks ... fine. I reckon the market place would take care of such businesses pretty quickly"

I reckon it wouldn't.

Historically, the marketplace has been a non-player in securing social justice for those to whom it has been denied. It was only after the marketplace was totally unresponsive, for centuries, to the rights of Blacks or the needs of the disabled, just two examples, that government had to step into the breach with the 1964 Public Accommodations Act and the '80's ADA.


You can argue that government has no moral authority to force people to provide ramps for wheelchairs or rent an apartment to a Black person-- that's a separate issue. But there are ample historical data to prove that there would have been little social progress during the last fifty years without governmental activism.

Actually, Steve nailed it in a sentence, "If the marketplace was so efficient at stamping out discrimination, it never would have existed in the first place."

BTW, how is Shecky Greene doing these days?

BSquared said...

I don't agree that there is ample historical data to prove there that there would have been little social progress during the last fifty years without governmental activism. Politicians are great at jumping in front of parades...they work out when enough of "the people" want something to change and then they make a big song and dance about putting legislation in place to force that change to happen...but they aren't the ones that come up with the idea to change in the first place. They wait until there is a strong enough groundswell of public opinion and then they do something. From my admitedly limited knowledge of American history it appears that it was Rosa Parkes, Martin Luther King and the million man march that prompted modern anti-discrimination practices far more than any government. Certainly in Australian history it is possible to work backwards from any new government anti-discrimination edict to find the people, community groups, unions, NGOs etc who REALLY made the change happen. Governments are always the last cog in the chain, never the first.

If governments were so all fired up about ensuring there is no discrimination in the world they would all legilstate to ensure equal rights under the law for same-sex partners (virtually non-existent in the world). However they know that although there is more support for such a thing than there was 20 years ago it still is (probably) a minority of the population. When the needle clicks over the 50% the politicians will see that and then you'llsee a swag of "progressive legislation".

We should give ourselves more credit and our governments less IMHO

BSquared said...

And on the subject of dry cleaning - people charge what customers are prepared to pay - it's a fact of life. Women's clothes cost more to buy and to clean because women are prepared to pay more. Women's hair cuts cost more than men's because they are prepared to pay more. Do I like that? Not particularly. Do I think it's discriminatory? No - it's life. If we (women) refused to pay the suppliers would have to change their pricing structure. But we don't so they don't. I certainly don't expect any government to fight a battle that I'm not fighting myself (I buy clothes and get my hair cut at the current prices).