Along with feminism came the critical question of whether or not it’s sexist and reinforces gender norms to buy drinks for girls at clubs and bars. On face value, the answer is yes. In the 21st century where women fight to be perceived as equal, why should they receive handouts which consolidate an image of them as subservient and objects to be bought? While this argument has a lot of merit, it is my belief that regardless of how antiquated the tradition is, buying drinks is not only justified, but actually necessary as a crucial mechanism for equality. In a patriarchal society this tradition helps level out the playing field: for every drink a man buys, he is doing his job to even out the pay gap.
It is a fallacy to assert that we have reached anywhere close to equality. Frequently, people attempt to shut down discussion by saying we are better off than we were before. Yes, a lot of things are better off than they were before. Sure, we’ve stopped forcing people to fight to the death as entertainment, and we now acknowledge that women probably aren’t the property of men. However, some progress doesn’t mean a comprehensive solution. In fact, our complacency has meant the national pay gap has actually increased to 18.2%. Note also that that very lesser income often has to pay for more expensive female products. A study of 800 nearly identical products with male and female versions released in December 2015 by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that the women’s products, on average, cost 7% more than the men’s products. There are endless statistics to this effect, but the message is clear: women are still majorly financially disadvantaged when compared with men.
In a context where true equality isn’t around the corner, since men are often in positions of power to determine wages, promotions and hiring, I say we take every advantage we get without hesitation. I could lie and say that buying drinks now has a different meaning and that it isn’t used as a way to buy women’s affection, but I won’t patronize you. Let’s be honest – buying girls drinks is sexist and a double standard. However, so long as we live in a society where men receive innumerable benefits and women struggle to break even, it doesn’t hurt to have someone buy me drinks. That way at least I can get drunk enough to forget about the patriarchy, since at this rate I’m paid too poorly to afford drinks on my own.