Thursday, April 25, 2019

Man Tax

Handsome Her, a vegan café that opened its doors in August 2017 on Sydney Road, Brunswick in Victoria, Australia charges male customers 18 percent more than women. 

The pricing differential is to reflect the gender pay gap with the funds surrendered to charity.

Described on the cafe’s Facebook page as a “man tax”, the premium was only meant to run for one week each month, but was made permanent after the publicity led to an increase in customers “asking to pay” – or so the owners claimed.

The Melbourne-based eatery caused an online and media storm when a photograph of a chalkboard outside the cafe explaining its “man tax” and women priority seating hit Twitter

While some praised the idea, others railed on social media that this was “reverse sexism” and did little to tackle inequality for both sexes. 

I reckon co-owners Alexandra O’Brien and partner Tessa Plueckhahn couldn’t take the heat – and, therefore, decided to shut the business down for good as of Sunday, April 28. 

"The way the world responded showed us how fragile masculinity is and solidified the necessity for us to confront and dismantle patriarchy", the duo declared. 

"We were just one little tiny shop on Sydney Rd that was trying to carve out a swathe of space to prioritize women and women's issues, and suddenly we became the punching bag of Melbourne and the internet", they moaned. 

The cafe’s loyal fans expressed their disappointment at news of the closure. 

“So sad to see u go. U were my favorite eatery since u opened. U have created a safe space for all [sic]”, wrote one person. 

However, not all of the comments are supportive of the cafe. 

On Instagram, where the cafe has also posted about its impending shutdown, one person called the owners “horrible people”, writing: “I’m glad such a bigoted and hateful business is getting shut down. Last I checked, sex discrimination was illegal”. 

Whether we agree or not, the decision belongs to the couple. It's their business to decide on their business.

This evening, I was in Sunway Mentari in Bandar Sunway, Selangor to attend the maiden meeting of the “Kelab Pidato Perdana” Toastmasters Club. 

Although, we were only a small group of five – it was almost a full-blown meeting, complete with Table Topics, project speeches and evaluations. 

I was the Timekeeper as well as a Table Topics speaker and I delivered a CC#2 speech titled “Cabaran Ku” (My Challenge). 

The whole meeting was conducted in Malay.

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