Sadly, we still live in a world where one’s gender is tied to their financial situation. There’s the fact that women make “70-something cents to every dollar” that’s earned by a man. 42% of the time, women pay more than men for the same exact product. And how could we forget the tampon tax, which is just starting to be eliminated in several states? In light of these circumstances, we’re not quite sure how to feel about Calvin Harris’ ticket prices.
For a future show at Las Vegas’ Omnia, Calvin Harris did what most performers do: He released his ticket prices. The only thing that stands out is that men and women are being charged significantly different prices. For a regular ticket, women are required to pay $40 and men must pay $75. As for a VIP bar card package, men are being charged $150 and women only have to pay $115. If one chooses to go with a weekend package (which allows them to see Tiësto at Hakkasan), men pay $100 and women pay only $55.
In several states – California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – gender price discrimination is illegal. Yet, Harris was able to bypass this type of legislation because his show is in Nevada, where no such law exists.
Considering that women are traditionally paid less and charged more for certain products, Harris’ discount is a welcome change. Yet, the price difference is so drastic that it seems blatantly unfair and may ultimately be a step in the wrong direction, especially since Calvin’s goal may not be feminist in nature.
To get more men at shows, performers often charge women less. To see David Guetta at XS Nightclub, men are charged double. At Hakkasan, if you identify as a man and want to see Lil John perform, you could be charged up to $45 more. Popular clubs such as 10AK, Marquee, and Chateau also enforce this gender price difference. Since there are more women there, this makes it more likely for men to show up. In other words: Women are being used as incentives.
In response to the backlash unleashed by Calvin Harris’ ticket prices, the company selling his tickets (TicketDriver.com) explained that they created a price difference so ticket’s can’t be easily transferred. While we’re glad they acknowledged this controversy, we’re not sure how their response relates to the problem at hand.
We also have logistical questions. Such as, how does the ticket vendor stop men from posing as women to buy cheaper tickets? Will IDs be checked at the door? What if an individual doesn’t identify as neither male NOR female? It seems unfair for them to be forced to choose in this scenario.
Ultimately, we still have a lot of questions and not a lot of answers.