Thursday, 5 November 2009

Out of bounds

Diehard sexism is alive and well in the Irish Republic. A court has ruled that a Dublin golf club can continue to ban women because the club "caters only for men's needs".

Well, who can argue with that? Obviously golf is a necessity to hairy, beer-bellied, balding males in a way that doesn't apply to women.

Apart from the fact that women, as we know, don't possess arms or legs or a need for leisure pursuits or exercise, they clearly wouldn't know what to do with a little white ball a few yards away from a hole.

Seeing that it wasn't a piece of jewellery or a lipstick tube or a vacuum cleaner, they would be utterly baffled, throw it away, and get back to filing their nails.

This is all plain enough to the Irish Supreme Court, who decided by a 3-2 majority that the club's "principal purpose is to cater only for the needs of persons of a particular gender".

Those needs, they explained, included "social fraternisation". Fair enough. It's well known that women never socially fraternise, it's a conspicuous genetic failing.

Women everywhere keep themselves to themselves, shunning company and never answering the front door. They hate gossip or conversation of any kind and often retreat to caves on remote Himalayan peaks. The idea of playing golf would fill them with palpitating horror.

The Irish Supreme Court judges understood all that perfectly. Except for the dissenting judge Susan Denham who declared that golf was no more a need for men than for women. Good Lord, what an eye-wateringly peculiar statement. Is she mad?

29 comments:

Rummuser said...

What beats me is the question, why would any woman want to go into a place where the men clearly do not want them? Reminds me of one club in which I was a member many years ago, which had a men's only bar. Some modern newer members objected to that and in the Annual General Meeting raised the issue. I was so happy to see a dowager member stand up elegantly and say " Dear Young Man, what makes you think that we want to go in there?" This is a club which has some noted British worthies as its long dead and gone members some of who still have to clear some bills!

Rummuser said...

Sorry, I should have added. I would not like to barge in on a Kitty Party which our club organizes quite frequently.

Slimbolala said...

Hmm, I'm male but can't manage to give a damn about golf. I suppose I'll also have to retreat to a cave on a remote Himalayan peak. Shame though, I doubt my three-piece knickers ensemble and brimmed cap will keep me warm enough.

Nick said...

Ramana - You have a point about not wanting to go where you're not welcome. On the other hand, if it's a great golf course, which I'm told it is, why shouldn't women be able to give it a spin? And yes, we would definitely be persona non grata at a kitty party!

Slimbolala - Funny, I don't give a damn about golf either. But no need for the cave, unless you're in undisturbed meditation mode. Now what exactly are 3 piece knickers and why would you be wearing them with a brimmed cap?

Fate's Granddaughter said...

Oh, Nick. How I have missed you! This was a fabulous post to help me return me to the blogosphere. Excellent as always!

Nick said...

Hey, FG, long time no see - what have you been doing with yourself? How's little Milo? How's the Mister? How's your wee corner of Belfast?

Wisewebwoman said...

My late great mother-in-law would have sorted them out in a hell of a hurry. She was the Irish champion golfer in her time and would have beaten all these old gaffers to a pulp.
XO
WWW

Los Angelista said...

I'm curious to know what exactly are "men's needs" and "women's needs"?

Do women need a penis to be able to play golf? Hmm... I think all the Irish ladies should dress up as men and crash the place.

Nick said...

www - Good for her. A few feisty women who won't take any nonsense would soon sort them out.

Liz - Perhaps they use a penis instead of a club? A bunch of women dressed as men would be a great stunt. I hope someone down south thinks of that one.

conortje said...

good gried - why would ANYONE want to be part of such a club. Utterly ridiculous!

Thriftcriminal said...

Now, I'm not agreeing with any side on this, I simply want to ask: If I am a pogonophobe and I start, for example, a film club where the members and I watch and discuss films. Can a beardy person take me to court for saying they cannot join? (I have no issue with beards, ladies, or bearded ladies BTW, this is all hypothetical). I mean it's all fairly juvenile (reminds me of Calvin's club GROSS from Calvin and Hobbes) but for me all sides of the argument are being reactionary and juvenile.

Nick said...

Conor - Clearly one vital male need is to be irrationally prejudiced against half the population.

Thrifty - Well, as yet there's no law against pogonophobia (fear of beards, btw) so nobody could sue. Though I expect someone's working on it. But I see where you're going - if a bunch of guys want male camaraderie without the ladies spoiling it, why shouldn't they? In private maybe, but if it's a public activity, why shouldn't women be able to join in? The logical result of this becoming common practice would be gender segregation on a vast scale.

Grannymar said...

What is all the fuss about? Sure can't the women go to Rush, Skerries, or indeed to one of the two clubs on Bull Island. Don't tell me it is too far away.... just tell them there is a sale on in Killarney and they are off before you finish the sentence! ;)

Nick said...

Grannymar - True, they can always go somewhere else, but why are the Portmarnock men so violently opposed to the opposite gender using their facilities? If they want some exclusive "fraternisation" they can always build a separate clubhouse.

Cinnamon said...

Very funny- I like your deliciously sarcastic wit in this!

And we're living in the 21st century.. *shakes head in disbelief*

Nick said...

Cinnamon - Sarcastic wit is thrown in for no extra charge! "Shakes head in disbelief" is about it. What exactly are they so nervous about sharing with the bosomed community?

Thriftcriminal said...

Its not the logical conclusion at all, it is a possible outcome, but at this stage an unlikely one. let me paint a picture: "Dad, peter won't let me into his clubhouse, he says it's only for boys"

Response 1: "Peter let her in" Smug Jane.
Response 2: "So what, play with something else" Smug peter.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Unbelievable, or sadly, all too believable. When I was about 20, I infiltrated the famous Biltmore Men's Bar in Manhattan wearing a red minidress and heels. I strolled from one end of the bar to the other while men of every age held their breath gawked at me over their martinis and then leisurely left, not having found the place interesting enough to remain.

Strangely, the gods did not descend upon the Biltmore and strike the inhabitants dead, which must have been more surprising even than my brief appearance.

Nick said...

Thrifty - Personally I wouldn't object to separate clubhouses for each sex, but I don't see why a golf course has to be men-only. What's the big problem with letting female golfers in?

Heart - Good for you, you must have caused quite a stir invading their masculine lair. It sounds like they were too shocked even to think of chatting you up.

Thriftcriminal said...

I have no problem with it, sounds perfectly reasonable to let them on, but I see no reason to have a knee jerk reaction either. All in all I suspect that groups of people communicate based on common experience, unfortunately for diverse groups the shared experience peters out after about age 5, hence the behaviour on both sides of the argument.

Nick said...

Thrifty - I think you've hit the crux of it there, the fact that from an early age gender roles are constantly enforced and as you say shared experience fades. Thus giving rise to the demand for separate facilities.

Thriftcriminal said...

Actually I meant that the groups behave like 5 year olds rather than straying into the genotype/phenotype argument, which I think we already covered :-)

Nick said...

Thrifty - They're certainly behaving like 5 year olds. When are you going to grow up, lads?

Thriftcriminal said...

Both sides Nick.

Nick said...

Thrifty - Ah, but I don't think wanting to play on a rather nice golf course is 5-year-old behaviour. Wanting to keep half the population out of it for no convincing reason is, though.

Brighid said...

Why do they have to share? I belong to a couple of womens groups that would be a lot less entertaining if men wanted in. We aren't all the same, so why try to make us all fit in the same hole?

Thriftcriminal said...

They want to because they aren't allowed, that's 5 year old behaviour. I don't agree with your knee jerk reaction, I condemn both sides, and I don't play golf, tedious game in the extreme.

Oh and quite right Brighid!

Nick said...

Brighid - I don't think women's groups would be covered by the law if they're basically private activities. I certainly take your point about not wanting any men spoiling the enjoyment. But a public amenity like a golf course?

Thrifty - This could run and run! I think we'll have to agree to disagree....

Thriftcriminal said...

Fair enough, but just for the record I am not being sexist in my stance, in fact I don't identify with either group involved in this and have been denigratory towards both, so at best I could be accused of being prejudiced against golfers (regardless of race, creed, colour or gender). Unless someone wants to take the George W stance of you're either with us or agin us?