The JW Marriott in Grand Rapids, Michigan is going to be opening a woman-only floor in September, the 19th floor, and you can watch a video debate on the topic here. For $30 extra per night, women will be able to stay on a floor catering specifically to females, where security is enhanced, fresh flowers and upgraded toiletries are available, and — best of all, my opinion — women can enjoy a drink in a woman-only lounge without having to deal with men hitting on them.
In general, women love the idea, particularly women who do a lot of traveling; if you doubt that, go to this link and read the comments for yourself. Women are concerned about their safety and security for good reason: hundreds are accosted, harrassed and assaulted every year in hotels. Safe Place, a company which independently tests and certifies hotels for safety, devotes a good portion of its work to safety for female travelers. (Note that Safe Place does not particularly work to ensure the safety of male travelers; it’s a for-profit corporation and would certainly devote itself to this work if there were a need for it which could be profitably filled. We all know there is no need for it, and we all know that it is males who assault, accost, stalk and attack females, by and large, and not the other way around. It is women who need protection from men, not men who need protection from women. They may need protection from other men, but that’s their issue, it isn’t women’s issue.)
I do not know whose bright idea it was to invite Gloria Allred to debate this idea. What planet does Allred even live on that, with a straight face, she compares females wanting woman-only floors to Ku Klux Klan members’ bigotry and fears? As though women are to the KKK as men are to “minorities” (!) ! As though it makes any sort of feminist sense at all to call women’s legitimate, reasonable, penultimately rational, documented, hugely memorialized concerns for our own safety, given the enormous numbers of rapes, sexual assaults, stalking incidents, instances of being battered by male partners and husbands, “discrimination” against men?
Allred could be right that female-only space could might result in men demanding male-only space, but you know, I am not sure how bad that would actually be, and I am completely willing to deal with that issue if and when the time comes. At the moment I am pretty sure that heterosexual males will have zero interest in male-only hotel floors and male-only lounges (which speaks volumes in and of itself) and it’s het males we have to be concerned about, both as to women’s safety and as to leveraging female-only space in ways which will benefit het males.
In the meantime and anyway, hell yes: bring on the female-only hotel floors, lounges, enhanced security and amenities. If I can afford it (doubtful!), I’ll be so there. And especially in Grand Rapids, Michigan when I am there, on the day or two before and after the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival! I wonder whether Festies passing through Grand Rapids on our annual pilgrimages to womyn’s land had anything to do with the creation of this woman-only hotel floor.
Well, I think that would be pretty cool. And you know, if this is tested in the courts, maybe that’s what needs to happen. I have an idea women are ready to take this issue on in a way that will be meaningful and powerful.