You might have read recently about the all-male charity event, hosted by a UK organization called the President’s Club, where dozens of the all-female wait staff – ordered to wear tight serving uniforms and sexy shoes – were subjected to an onslaught of sexual harassment so bad the 33-year-old organization disbanded one day after the story came out.
If just the first part of that description – an all-male gathering of rich guys who call themselves the “President’s Club” – doesn’t already scream “sexual harassment city,” then I don’t know where you’ve been, dude. Welcome back to planet Earth!
But it’s worth taking a step back and looking at why an all-male event might be inherently problematic versus an all-female event. Is it fair to assume a bunch of rich dudes getting together is fundamentally different in a bad way than a bunch of rich chicks networking and chewing the fat? After all, women-only or women-focused events happen all the time, and yet those are considered good things by basically everybody who’s not a Breitbart enthusiast. “It’s reverse sexism!” screams my MRA cat, Jenkins.
No, it’s not reverse sexism, Jenkins, and here’s why.
Since this event was specifically segregated by gender, we’ll consider that particular dynamic rather than the class or race dynamics, which were also in play but less relevant to what happened. The event was designed to stroke the attendees’ egos such that they felt an extreme sense of power, thereby creating the illusion that they were worth more and could afford to donate more to charity. Psychology 101 right there. Want someone to give you money? Make them feel like a million bucks.
The question becomes, then, what does a stereotypically powerful male look like in our society? Let’s do some word association.
Male power = easy access to sex/females, money, wealth, status
Now let’s flip the gender.
Female power = ……………………………?? Easy access to fancy clothes, maybe? A powerful husband? Lots of babies (please no…)?
The truth is women are almost never in positions of extreme power the same way men are. Women are by no means immune from being corrupted by power, but the idea of how that corruption manifests is significantly different for men than for women.
Think about it – if you’re trying to create a power fantasy for a group of women specifically based on their gender (so they donate more to your charity), what kind of party would you throw? Would you have a bunch of male strippers as servers? The ladies would probably find that awkward and annoying – not that women don’t lust after men, but it’s not part of our power fantasy (Let’s be honest – the vast majority of women can easily catch a dick if they wanted, no matter their level of attractiveness. When it comes to sex, women usually have more decision power than men – one of the only facets of life where this is so – which is why rape is at its root about asserting power over women rather than being overcome with lust). Would you have the MC gush over how pretty they all are, maybe offer free makeovers for everyone? Again, weird. Offer free designer clothes? …What?
There isn’t a female equivalent to the stereotypical male power trip, and that’s why an all-male event is ripe for problems the way an all-female event isn’t. Now you know; tell your friends. I mean, you can try to make the case this isn’t true, as Jenkins keeps trying to do by howling in my ear and calling it a debate, but shut up Jenkins.