Friday Debate: Gender-specific events are stupid

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Although I usually go solo to a lot of events, going with friends or your partner always makes it more fun. It doesn’t matter what event it is – when you’ve got company, you’ll probably enjoy yourself more. But too bad for you if some disastrous marketing plan decided that this is now a gender-specific event, and some of your friends, your partner, maybe even you yourself, are going to be denied entry.

Before you scoff, just think about the implications. Forgive me for interrupting your reading, but if you don’t mind I’m going to take you out of your chair and put you in the shoes of someone else. This someone else is a person who loves movies, and they have a diverse group of friends that shares the same tastes. So when a special pre-screening for the latest movie in a franchise they love opens, they jump at the opportunity to buy tickets. A few days later, they find out that you’re legitimately going to be denied entry to this event because they’re the “wrong” gender. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, it is, but unfortunately, it’s also happening regularly enough that we need to talk about it.

I’m sorry for being crude, but I’ve never thought that our interests should be defined by what’s in our pants. “Ladies Only” movie nights where they show the latest insipid, interchangeable Nicolas Sparks romance or 50 Shades film are as insulting to me as a “NO GURLZ ALLOWED” event I’m interested in. From a recent event for Logan that was targetted exclusively at men, to a showing of Alien: Covenant last night that tried to bar women from entering the venue, it’s absurd that cinemas are actively trying to stop female fans from viewing movies they are excited about and making men feel uncomfortable if they want to watch a movie that shows emotions or relationships.

At best, it’s juvenile. At worst, it’s straight up discrimination. I’ve seen qualified journalists excluded from industry events based on gender. I’ve heard horror stories about how cinema-goers were discriminated against by management staff, who asked male patrons to “vote” on whether the female patrons should be allowed to stay. I’ve had friends have to give up tickets to events because their partners wouldn’t be allowed to join them.

Maybe this all started with a misunderstanding of the initial intent. If I’m being generous, these sorts of events could be a way to encourage things to do with friends, and not just aim marketing at couples and dates. But, bringing gender into the equation takes it in a whole different direction for me. I mean, come on, even baby showers aren’t women-only anymore. It’s 2017 for goodness sake, it’s time society grew up.

Do you think there’s place in society for gender-specific events, or do you think they’re old-fashioned and stupid?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: May 19, 2017

Tracy Benson

All about movies, board games, cider, sci-fi, fantasy and geek culture.

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