When I first started going to shows in Los Angeles, entry was easy and made sense: pay a ticket price, online or at the door, get inside and enjoy the show. As I spent more time at shows and clubs, first as a hobby then as an occupation, I was exposed more and more to the seedy business side of promoters trying to fill their venues.
Though it hasn’t affected me much in Los Angeles, hubs like New York, Miami, London, and certainly the nightclub (different from venue club) scene in LA was fraught with gambits to fill their clubs with more women.
Women get in free before 11!
Men $140 Women $100
1:2 or more get free shots at the door!
Admittedly, I never thought to really dig into the reasoning behind it any deeper. It didn’t affect me, and so I didn’t see a purpose in educating myself. Though, with the Black Lives Matter protests over the past month, I’ve learned to not take everything at face value, educate myself, and ask “Why?” when looking at systemic problems.
When The Ritz Ybor in Florida yesterday announced a show with Blunts & Blondes and restricted entry for men to 21+ and women to 18+, my critical thinking alarm was set off.
“Hold on, this doesn’t seem right…”
Sure enough, the flyer caught the attention of many people who felt the same as me, but even more who have been aware of the issue for even longer. Two days before the show was even announced, @Quantum_King_ was already voicing his concerns:
I once saw an advert on TV for like an event or something. then they were talking about the attractions as per Food, Drinks. They mentioned 'Girls' as part of the attractions.
— TinyDarkBaby (@_Ope_e) June 21, 2020
@_Ope_e hit the nail on the head in her reply: “They mentioned ‘Girls’ as part of the attractions.”
Having a proper ratio of men to women or finding women at the club has been a part of the nightclubbing experience for decades, and from a promoter’s perspective, they’ve had no incentive to change anything. When a club has more women, it attracts more men, and when more men are there, they spend more on alcohol and the club profits.
But the lascivious tactics of attracting women and thus men to a club in the pursuit of profits needs to be addressed. Whether the end result that @Quantum_King_ mentions is the driving force behind the tactics is a necessary question, but the end result remains the same.
I just like free alcohol 🤣
But I definitely hear you. Even the ‘ladies free before 11’ angle. They’re ensuring that the ladies will all be there settled, intoxicated and ready for when the men arrive.
— Ruth Nadi (@RuthNadi) June 22, 2020
When you add the “Females 18+, Males 21+” restriction to the mix, then you get another issue: underage drinking. First off, there’s no legal or logical reason for the age restriction — there’s nothing biological about a 21 year old man versus an 18 year old man that makes them different in so much as a “club attendee.” (The Ritz show has since been updated to 21+ for both men and women.)
The difference is that 21 year old men can buy alcohol, and 18-20 year old men can’t. When you couple that with not-legally-allowed-to-drink women, who will no doubt face of-age men trying to give them alcohol anyway, it becomes a predatory atmosphere.
When you have women, who naturally have a lower alcohol tolerance, in clubs earlier and drinking earlier, it becomes a predatory atmosphere.
When you’re advertising that your club has “so many beautiful women” as a marketing tactic to entice men to your establishment, you’re treating women as an attraction and something you come to the club to either enjoy or attempt to “acquire.”
Why even go to a nightclub in the first place? Alcohol is cheaper when you purchase it at a store. Loud music and lights can be set up at home for cheaper, and even EDM shows can go for as low as $10 a ticket providing a more entertaining alternative. But for some men, clubs present a setting for showing off wealth, appealing to women, and trying to “score.”
Exactly. That’s the subliminal message they’re pushing, and they barely try to hide it
— TJ 🇱🇨🇯🇲 (@Quantum_King_) June 21, 2020
Of course, not every club is like this and not all men are there to take advantage of young women. And if this doesn’t apply to you, then you know it. (#NotAllMen, anyone?) But it’s the atmosphere of predatory behavior that these certain clubs enable that is so troubling and distressing.
There are plenty of depictions of this in movies and media, as well. The amount of times I’ve seen a character try to ask for guest list ahead of a night out only for the bouncer to ask “how many girls do you have,” or scenes of women getting let in ahead of men are innumerable. And it’s a culture thing — it’s been this way for so long, it has become a part of the clubbing culture. But not all cultural norms are still appropriate, or ever have been.
Clubs, at their core, present an opportunity for people to have a fun night out, probably spend more money than they ever intended, and maybe go home with a partner. Dancing and drinking alone have a way of letting you escape from the hum-drum of the work day, and to that effect, clubs have their place. But it’s the marketing that taints an otherwise would-be wholesome experience.
Doing away with free covers for women or arbitrary age restrictions are a good first step in correcting the issue. Better security from the club and, very importantly, other people in the club looking out for each other are other steps in ensuring the safety of everyone inside. That includes keeping your own friends accountable.
Ultimately, the few clubs that utilize these practices are few and far between, and the men who take advantage of them a little less so, but that doesn’t mean that the problem should be overlooked because it’s not pervasive enough. We’ve learned better.