From Clubs to Equality

Back in the 1990s, I was going out to clubs quite a bit. There were the usual clubs and bars throughout Manhattan—The Cubby Hole (which then became Henrietta Hudson; the current Cubby Hole is in a different location), the Dutchess, Crazy Nanny’s, Julie’s, Meow Mix, and a few others. There were also others in the outer boroughs of NYC, not least of which was Spectrum, which started out life as the 2001 Odyssey, the club in Saturday Night Fever. There were clubs that had “ladies’ nights,” there were mixed gay men and women clubs, there were clubs that were generally gay friendly, and there were clubs that were strictly for men.

Then there were the circuit parties. A company (or a couple of people) would host parties at different clubs throughout the city. One-night-only types of things, or a few times. There was one company, in particular, called Shescapes, that was very successful (and is still around today). They chose really nice venues—iconic clubs like the Palladium (now NYU dorms), Irving Plaza, and the Roxy—as well as chic, new places (a couple of times, we even had the basement club at The Plaza Hotel). They hired great DJs, and did a fabulous job of marketing because the places were always jammed.shescape

I remember having some incredible times with my friends at these clubs. Dancing all night long, then heading out at 3 or 4 or 5 in the morning to get breakfast. One time, they hosted a party at Club USA (or was it Club America? Both existed.), which was famous for its giant slide in the middle of the club. My friend and I went down the slide together in a moment of silly, good-natured, drunken fun. Then there was the time when three of us got all girlied up in skirts and heels and wound up in a spotlight dance on the dance floor. Good times. Yeah, good times.

The problem with these circuit parties was that the prices were high. There was the entrance fee, which wasn’t cheap to begin with. But where they got you was the drinks. A Coke was $5 back in the late ‘80s, when I first started going to these parties, so you can imagine what a mixed drink cost.

While I completely understand why they had to charge high drink prices—the cost of the venue, the bartenders, servers, DJ, etc.)—it didn’t change the fact that women often scrimped and saved and blew everything they had to go to these parties. (Remember, it was the ‘80s and ‘90s, and places for women to meet and socialize were still somewhat limited, although that was changing, especially after “lesbian chic” became a thing.) Some women never got to go at all. Toward the late ‘90s, my partner and I stopped going to these parties, partly because the music began to change and we both hated it, and partly because we had just purchased a house and could no longer afford to spend the money.

The purpose of this long-winded story (aside from a sad attempt to entertain you with tales of my youth) is to voice my dismay at the continued unequal treatment of women.

It’s a plain, undisputed fact that men make more money than women for the same work. You put two women together, they will statistically have a lower household income than both heterosexual couples and gay male couples. And, of course, less disposable income.

The U.S. Soccer Team won the World Cup, yet it was actually being debated as to whether they should get a parade along the Canyon of Heroes in NYC. (Fortunately, they gave the parade the thumbs up.) But more important is the disparity in pay. An editorial in AM New York stated that the U.S. women’s team won a record $2M, but the German men’s team won $35M for its win last year. Overall, the women’s teams shared $15M, while the men’s teams won a collective $358 MILLION! How in any way whatsoever is that acceptable? Simply put, it isn’t. It’s outright discrimination and misogyny. It’s telling the world and the players—who just brought an outstanding win to the U.S.—that women do not deserve the same amount of money as men.

I think it’s disgusting that this is allowed. How can anyone justify this? I’m hoping that with the attention that the World Cup has received, and all the interest that it’s generated in the sport in general, that things will change. I’d like to see things change in all women’s sports. Equal pay for equal work.

In fact, let’s make this the case across the board. Because, frankly, I’m just as valuable as a person with a penis. My genitals do not generate the work I produce—my brain does.

So, congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team for their victory! They’ve not only won a trophy but a place in history. And perhaps their win will be the impetus for change.

us team

Sorry about the rambling nature of this post. I’m easily distracted.

ADDDENDUM 7/9/15: Although the ticker-tape parade through the Canyon of Heroes is slated for Friday, July 10, there’s been some controversy about it. Why? The cost. It will cost NYC $2 million. Plus, it will mean many street closings, which is always a nightmare for those who drive into/through the city. Normally, I’d say I totally understand these issues. But what bothers me is that I don’t recall too many people bitching and complaining when the parades were for men’s teams. Here’s a sampling:

February 7, 2012—New York Giants’ victory in Super Bowl XLVI.
June 17, 1994 – New York Rangers, winners of the Stanley Cup championship.
October 29, 1996 – New York Yankees championship in the World Series.
October 17, 1998 – Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs right fielder, for hitting 66 home runs that season.
October 29, 1996 – New York Yankees championship in the World Series.
October 29, 1999 – New York Yankees championship in the World Series.

I want to know how many people complained about those. I’m sure there were some non-sports fans who grumbled at the gridlock, but did it make headlines? ABC.com ran an article this morning, “12 Things You Need To Know About Friday’s Ticker-Tape Parade In NYC For The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team”.

Here’s the first line of the article: “How much will Friday’s ticker-tape parade for the U.S. women’s soccer team in New York cost the city, and what is the parade route?”

‘Nuff said.

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6 thoughts on “From Clubs to Equality

  1. No apology needed, R.G. It is very relevant rambling! When I talk about our misogynistic culture I get strange looks especially from young women … I am afraid we need a new women’s movement – yet again – because too many people didn’t get or don’t remember or haven’t learned about the previous ones!

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  2. Yes, agree, RG. We’re so proud of our team who amazingly came third with almost no coverage or encouragement – happily, they’ve raised the profile of women’s sport loads this year. But all the rest of what you say holds true for the UK and many other countries. Oops, forgot to say a big congratulations to the US team!

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  3. Congratulations to the U.S. ladies team! I totally agree with you RG and the other comments. I am reminded of a period in the early 80’s in the part of the UK where I lived. There were no clubs for gay women and a gay men’s bar let out a room one evening a week to lesbians. What really infuriated me was there was a gay men’s club, but would only allow lesbians in if ‘accompanied by a gay man’ We were all fighting for equality so why were they making it more difficult for women!! We were lucky enough to have a lesbian disco on a Friday night at the local Polytechnic College. After the disco which ended about 11:30pm, a group of us decided to ‘protest’ outside the gay men’s club every weekend, and did this until women were allowed in unaccompanied! It may not seem a great victory to some, but it was a start. It is true, young people don’t realize what sacrifices were made to make it easier for them today.

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    1. Wow, it’s amazing that that was still going on in the ’80s. It’s reminiscent of when women weren’t allowed to be in any bar/tavern without being escorted by a man. Discrimination against women across the board!

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