Thursday, October 9, 2008

Another realm in which women are patronized -- or is it privileged?

Would you believe restaurants? Of course you would.

But is it a good thing or a bad thing that most restaurants follow a policy of taking women's orders first, serving their food before that of their male companions?

Read this New York Times story on the topic, and let me know what you think.

Here's an excerpt:
Although the goal in many public places and in much of public life is to treat men and women equally, most upscale restaurants haven’t reached that point.

Then again they haven’t really tried all that hard. They’ve learned that ignoring gender is risky, and often foolish, because men and women approach and respond to restaurants in different ways, looking for different things.

A broad generalization? Absolutely. It’s also nowhere near as true as it once was.

Certain musty rites — chivalrous from one perspective, chauvinistic from another — have faded or disappeared. It’s a rare restaurant that gives menus without prices to women dining with men. And most restaurants no longer steer the “ladies” toward the banquette, assuming they want to face out toward the room.

But most restaurateurs concede that women disproportionately end up there, whether by request or reflex.

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