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Men Can Stop Rape, But Not Singlism September 17, 2010

Posted by Onely in As If!.
Tags: , , ,

Three awesome teenage men are receiving awards for their work towards stopping violence against women. And you can go see them receive their Men of Strength awards at the National Press Club in DC on September 22nd: for 125 dollars if you’re single and 75 dollars if you’re coupled.

When I got the email announcing the event, I was impressed with and happy for Anwar Muhammad Nur,  Jonathan Wade, and Terrill Wise, who speak out against abuse of women and negative images of masculinity, despite social and media pressure that says alpha males are violent males with minimal emotion. Men Can Stop Rape is right to honor precocious, socially aware teens like these. I was so impressed I thought I might want to actually attend the ceremony, but then I read the not-so-small print:


$100 per person

$150 per pair

$125/$175 at the door

Oh, Men Can Stop Rape or The National Press Club or Unaffiliated Event Organizer! How you hurt my heart. I will not be attending your event, not because I’m mad about the discrimination against singles (though I am disappointed), but because my personal economic situation forces me to stick to double-digit nights out. Which I guess I could, if I were part of a pair.

“But wait!” I thought, looking harder at the email. “I am part of many pairs! Me and my movie buddy Sharon, me and my sushi partner Ben, me and my yoga cohort Debra, me and my writing partner Laroche. Surely one of them would want to come.”  I decided Debra would be most impressed by the boys. I was about to hit “forward” on the email when I thought, “Am I cheating? By ‘pair’, they probably mean sex-and-everything-else partners.  Will Debra and I have to pretend to be lesbian lovers?”

I’m sure no one at Will Call would take us into two separate back rooms and shine spotlights in our faces and quiz us about whether we were romantically involved with each other. But the very fact that upon seeing the ticket prices, I had to stop and ask myself these questions, made me feel less welcome.

Maybe they did mean “pair” in the generic sense of any two people. But I have a feeling that they didn’t. I have a feeling that Debra and I would have been welcomed at the door as a $150 lesbian couple, because we were a couple, but if we’d shown up one after the other, separately, and asked to pay $75 each because that’s how much the coupled individuals were paying–then they’d probably ring for the bouncers (if they have those at the National Press Club).

What do you think, Copious Readers? What does “pair” mean in this case? Have you seen other examples of commercial venues charging more for singles and less for couples? I know you have. Is this ok because it’s a purely commercial Shopper’s Warehouse strategy of bulk-sells-for-cheaper? Or is it perpetuating our couple-crazed culture and the expense of single people?


Photocredit: Alykat


1. Rachel - September 18, 2010

I’d say, stretch that definition! As you, I am sure that they meant couple with “pair” but it’s loose enough to warrant expansion… (And I hope you sent this post to them whether you’re going or not!)

I have experienced similar discrimination, including in a club I am involved in. I am proud to say that I was able to raise awareness there: We will be charging individuals because our costs are per individual…

2. Alan - September 18, 2010

They’re probably thinking of “couple”, but since they did use the neutral term “pair” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a friend instead.

3. Rem Anon - September 18, 2010

You know, offering a discount for two people may simply be a marketing scheme, especially given the topic. It seems to me that (in general) this event is geared towards women; that is, mostly only women will attend it. As such, the male partners of many of those women probably wouldn’t come if they had to pay full price. With a cheaper ticket price, however, they may come.
Similarly, would you have thought of inviting someone along if the ticket price had been the same for all? Probably not. As such, the establishment is selling more tickets by offering a reduced price for two people. People want to save money (per individual, in this case), and they can do that by inviting another person, another person who may, before, not have come.
Just something to consider. 🙂 Not every instance of this kind is (completely) singlism. Especially since it says “pair” and not “couple”, I’d say this is just a marketing ploy, not discrimination.

Frankly, I say just invite a friend and go. 🙂

4. Larry - September 20, 2010

In theory, if the special pricing was a “bulk discount” as opposed to another special perk for couples, they would list a sliding scale depending on the number of people like vendors do sometimes (1 $100ea, 2 $75ea, 3 $60ea, 4 $50 ea).

5. Kathleen - September 21, 2010

My college roommate just had this conversation with the principal at her daughter’s high school. Prom tickets were $50/couple, $30 per single. Erica and her friend tried to buy a couple ticket but the kid wouldn’t sell them at the couple price because the two previous kids had paid the $30 price. Amy called the principal and mentioned that this was discriminatory – the price difference was refunded and prices adjusted to reflect a price of $25/person. Viva singlism!

Onely - September 22, 2010

wonderful! that’s the way things should be!!!

Onely - September 22, 2010

Yay to Amy! I wonder if all the kids got reimbursed or just Erica and her friend?

I did want to note that Singlism is generally used to mean discrimination against singles–even though lots of people understandably use it as a positive word because of its parallel to Feminism. We haven’t really figured out a good solution to this. Bella DePaulo, who coined the term Singlism, originally coined it as a parallel to ageism, racism, etc. But there’s not really a good word yet for singles’ advocacy (maybe Singletude, the name of another blog friend of ours). = )


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