Club culture has a sexism problem. And no, it has nothing to do with the time I was let in with expired ID and the dudebro I was with complained that girls have it so good. Dismantle the patriarchy. Stop treating women as objects and hey presto, the ‘ladies drink free’ culture disappears too. I can’t believe I have to say that, I’d pay twice what he’s paying if it came with a ‘no sexual-harassment guarantee’. Ideally, I’d pay 82.6% of what he’s paying AND not be harassed. A gal can dream.
TOO MANY DUDEBROS ON THE DECKS
Clubs have all the misogyny of the real world; compacted into tiny bars and supercharged with amphetamines.
Unlike the well documented lack of female participation in Fortune 500 companies, I couldn’t find any data on the gender breakdown of management in the Melbourne club scene. But I’m happy to put myself out there saying it’s probably got equal (if not worse) gender disparity. Please prove me wrong.
The gender disparity of performers is easier to spot. Rarely do you see more than a single lady on a lineup and far too often it will be cis-man after cis-man after cis-man, dick2dick sets all night long. Thankfully, sassy lady DJs are pushing for greater representation and are running ace nights to showcase female talent, but these are still very much the minority.
Just look at Resident Advisor’s self-proclaimed ‘increasingly diverse’ Top 100 Artists of 2015 Poll. Seven women make the list, equating to just over 6% when you factor in the fifteen extra men that made the cut as a result of groups. Even mining, Australia’s most male dominated industry, dwarves that figure with a comparatively huge 16.4% female participation. Only one lady, Nina Kraviz, scrapes into the top 20. And if you ask men on the internet (never ask men on the internet) it’s sex appeal, not talent that landed her there.
TOO MANY DUDEBROS ON THE DANCEFLOOR.
It’s September 2012, I’m drinking $4 vodka lime sodas and dancing to Post Percy at New Guernica. My friend and I head downstairs in search of a cab. I’m scrolling Facebook. I read that Jill Meagher’s body has been found. I can’t help but put myself in her shoes (those damn heels that were to blame for a man choosing to rape and murder her). A man approaches us and demands a smile. We don’t oblige. He pulls his dick out and shoves it in our faces. I yell after him as he dances down the street to catch up with his mates, they’re all laughing. My friend is talking to security. We should lighten up, he was just having a bit of fun, luv.
It’s October 2016, nobody waits for cabs anymore. Pony is Boney and I’m upstairs dancing to the lone lady on the lineup. A man pulls at my hair as though it’s a good introduction. It wasn’t in kindergarten and it sure isn’t now. I move away. He follows. He grabs me. I push him off and tell him firmly ‘NO’. This happens four more times. I don’t know how many times it would have happened if had I not left the club.
I’m anywhere ever and men are touching, grabbing and grinding; using drugs and alcohol as an excuse to behave badly. Don’t get me wrong - being intoxicated is a great excuse for plenty of things: binge eating Maccas, falling asleep with one shoe on and messaging all your Tinder matches the unicorn emoji. Sexual harassment is not on that list. Being intoxicated doesn’t fundamentally change your values. You don’t stop thinking women are equal because you’ve shelved a pinga. You’ve always held these piece of shit trash bag opinions, it is only now you’re uninhibited that you think it’s okay to act on them.
TOO MANY DUDEBROS. FULL STOP.
Men, it is not okay to grope women as you pass us. We see you walk past men with a tap on the shoulder and the words ‘sorry mate coming through’. I know I’m just an object to you, but I can communicate with words.
Men, I’m sick of feeling forced to smooch my friends because my explicit rejection means less to you than the false belief I might ‘belong’ to another man. Don’t apologise to him. Apologise to me. I know you struggle to see beyond my Triple A tits (that’s a cup size, not an approval rating) but let me remind you, I can communicate with words.
Men, when a woman says ‘no’, please listen. Know that she’s spent her entire night/life saying it and she is fucking exhausted.
Men, call out inappropriate behaviour. I love the girl-code inside clubs, but it’d be really fucking nice if you could step-up. Until other men start listening to our voices, loan us your privilege for thirty seconds and help a gal out.
* Please note:
This article was originally titled "Too Many Dicks" and was retroactively edited to change transexclusionary and transphobic language. This kind of ciscentric and binary language, which equates genitalia with gender is harmful to the trans and non-binary community and we would like to apologise if the original title of this article has hurt any members of our community in any way. As always we appreciate your feedback and encourage you to write in if you have any concerns about the pieces we publish. Thanks for reading!