Every time I see a "Ladies Night" promotion at a bar or club I become skeptical of whether or not it's actually meant to be beneficial for me. It usually means as the old saying goes, "If something is free, you are the product." I also can't help but ask myself, "So is every other night men's night?"
And this promotion isn't just employed at bars and clubs. I've seen similar advertisements at bowling alleys, shooting ranges, frat parties and even at Phoenix Comicon.
There wasn't a "ladies night" featured at the convention per se but they did have a speed dating event that charged men $20 to sign up while it was free for women. At the time, I was single and looking for some fun but the whole idea of me getting in free while men were required to pay completely turned me off from the idea so I visited the Max Brooks Panel instead and got copy of "World War Z" signed (no regrets there).
I know the intentions of the event organizers were not to be sexist and I understand the practice. If you give women the incentive to be someplace by making the event free, they'll be more likely to attend therefore giving men the incentive to pay the fee and meet women.
But this kind of thinking seems outdated to me. Why is there this idea that women need incentives to participate in social dating activities while men don't? It perpetuates the idea that men are there to pursue, while women are there to be wooed. I don't like the idea of being preyed upon anymore than the idea that men are supposed to play the role of predators.
Ladies nights also reinforce the gender binary and are potentially discriminatory to the LGBT community. The idea that dating culture in 2016 only encompasses cis straight men and women is not only prejudiced, it's completely false.
But I don't expect businesses to change their practices just because it's problematic — they're going to respond to what society accepts and, right now, society does accept this system. It's up to us as a modern society to mature and reject these ideas and skip the events that have those promotions.
I get it. It's hard to pass up on something that's free. Drinks are expensive and a night of free cocktails sounds really great after a long week at work, but should we accept an outdated idea for the sake of free drinks?
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