Today: 19.09.2018
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18.09.2018

Girls-only clubs aren’t progress — they’re shameful.

It’s the latest craze in women’s empowerment, cast in soothing and nontriggering pastels: Next month The Wing, a shared work space/social club designed exclusively for those who identify as women, is set to open in an abandoned tape factory in the trendy Dumbo neighborhood. The Wing’s impending arrival in red-hot Brooklyn was met with gratuitous...
Time: 23:13     Date: 11.01.2018
Last US News - Opinion: Girls-only clubs aren’t progress — they’re shameful. NY Post 24 - US News

The Wing’s impending arrival in red-hot Brooklyn was met with gratuitous slavering and a “sneak peek” published in Vogue. The glossy, female-friendly fashion and lifestyle magazine giddily praised the venture’s chic and soothing superficial aesthetic, in which “it’s easy to imagine sipping on a sparkling rosé cocktail while learning how to negotiate your next raise or considering the future of democracy.’’

All this amid “a library with color-coordinated books by female authors and a cafe.’’

There’s also lactation and “glam’’ rooms decorated “with pinks, yes, but also with hues inspired by the building’s surroundings’’ — including blues — reported Vogue, evidently tone-deaf to the patronizing and infantilizing verbiage.

But with all the cheering over The Wing’s rose-heavy palette and female vibe, the club, whose annual dues run up to $2,700 a year (or up to $250 a month), not a mention was made of the male-female segregation, masquerading as gender equality, at the core of its business plan.

I would expect that the opening of a men-only establishment, perhaps one decorated in leather and deer heads, would spark a fierce outcry, protests by angry women’s activists and possible legal action.

Modeled after late 19th- and early 20th-century women-only professional and social clubs, which operated at a time when the fairer sex was excluded from many aspects of working society, the first New York City Wing chapter opened in 2016 with little fanfare in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District in the Flatiron section of Manhattan. This is where privileged women of the late 19th century gathered in elegant department stores to shop ’til they dropped, and their present-day sisters were expected to empty their wallets in a high-tech equivalent.

Then an unprecedented bombshell exploded.

In October, The New York Times published an exposé of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual villainy, sparking an avalanche of similar accusations against high-powered guys, from Kevin Spacey to Louis CK, and launching the snowballing #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

The Wing’s initially risky business model transformed overnight into a guaranteed money-maker, cynically capitalizing on the mass suspicion, bordering on hatred, of men. A second outpost opened in Soho and the next is set for Brooklyn, with plans afoot for a gently colored club to pop up in Washington, DC, as well as elsewhere in America and, ultimately, around the globe.

Its co-founders are Lauren Kassan and Audrey Gelman, a press aide for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and longtime friend of Lena Dunham who dated the photographer and accused model sexual exploiter Terry Richardson. But if her résumé suggests possible complicity in the activities of an alleged predator, the numbers suggest an overwhelming willingness to forgive and forget, provided the woman displays requisite feminist credentials: The Wing attracted 1,500 dues-paying members, Forbes magazine reported in November — “with a waiting list of many thousands more.’’

Ironically, women-centric ventures like The Wing are taking off as strongholds of the patriarchy are dying off like dinosaurs. In 2012, the elite Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia accepted its first two female members, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

A year earlier, operators of a city-run transit line serving two of Brooklyn’s heavily Hasidic Jewish communities was ordered by the city’s Department of Transportation to quit encouraging women to sit in the back of buses.

I wonder if the very idea at the heart of The Wing — excising men from professional and social society — is essentially a bigoted goal, destined for backlash and failure.

When did discriminating against males become the end game?

When did #MeToo transform into #OnlyMe?

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