15 Places With Strict No-Boys Policies
There need to be spaces that the people who have historically had the loudest voices can’t enter. The loudest voices are, of course, white fellas. It’s therefore a necessary thing, fencing off somewhere that Jake, Wyatt and Josh aren’t allowed into, to allow all the dialogue and meetings of minds and ideas that wouldn’t happen if they were allowed in because there’s absolutely no chance they’d shut the fuck up.
Discrimination against men is the only one that needs to be labeled, because discrimination against women is so widespread as to need no announcing. Male-only spaces don’t need to advertise themselves as such, they can just give off a vibe that says women aren’t welcome. (Similarly, gay bars have flags; straight bars merely have threatening auras.)
As soon as somewhere says no men are allowed, some dudes get upset. If you’ve never been actually oppressed, any rule that excludes you can look like oppression. There’s a certain kind of little-lifed chap that gets really upset at things that aren’t for them — the kind of chump who talks about how “nobody has it easier these days than disabled trans lesbians” and that kind of shit. In 2006, for instance, a bozo in Canada sued a female-only gym for discrimination. The case was eventually thrown out, in part because he couldn’t prove he had ever been to a gym or intended to go to a gym — he was just being a shit-assed dickhead (not the court’s words). That’s a court basically deciding you’re not just an asshole, you’re an asshole in terrible shape. That’s excellent.
The world needs women-only spaces. Women need women-only spaces. Men need women-only spaces — everyone benefits from Brendon, Cody and Josh sometimes not being able to bellow their way through everything. (The downside to them, of course, is that the existence of female-only spaces can be somehow seen, in the twisted logic of assholes, as meaning anything goes in mixed spaces — if you didn’t want to be groped on the train, why weren’t you in the women-only cars? Assholes.)
So they can be complicated — sometimes they’re a massively progressive thing; sometimes they’re a sign that something is deeply, deeply broken. Either way, if you’re currently working on a beard, give some of these places a wide berth. They’re just not for you, and that’s okay!
Driving for Freedom
Saudi Arabia is home to a lot of incredibly wealthy women with minimal rights, and therefore, luxury female-only spaces like the Le Mall Car Showroom, a dealership where women — only permitted to drive in 2018 — can get behind the wheel.
The Elite, All-Female Secret Island Base
SuperShe Island in the Baltic Sea is a privately-owned, women-only, $5,000-per-week luxury resort. The only way of setting foot there as a dude is if you’re brought in as a contractor to work on the buildings.
The Oasis of Hope in Rural Africa
Umoja was founded in 1990 in the Kenyan grasslands as a refuge for survivors of sexual assault and female genital mutilation. Many residents were once sold as property, and now for the first time have property of their own.
India’s Harassment-Free Railway Station
Sexual harassment is such an issue on public transport in India that women-only trains, and then women-only stations, had to be set up. The first station, Gandhi Nagar, has an all-female staff of 28. A better alternative? Fewer shitty dudes!
A Syria-sly Positive Project
Jinwar, in the autonomous region of Syria, was set up during the civil war as a place for women affected by violence to live without fear of oppression. It’s five years in and all going well.
The Pond of Freezing Women
The Kenwood Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath in London used to draw crowds of leering men there to watch women swim. A few well-placed trees and several decades of growth later and it’s a beautifully secluded, beloved, always cold spot.
The Elite Academic Institution
Cambridge University is now the only further education institution in Britain that’s allowed to discriminate by gender — Newnham College and Murray Edwards College (the university is made up of a bunch of colleges, it’s confusing) remain ladies-only.
In the U.S., there are around 26 women-only colleges, a tenth of how many there were in the 1960s — the rest have become coed. Those that remain are mainly either religious schools or liberal-arts institutions — never both, obviously.
Several huge literary awards, like the Women’s Fiction Award and Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, are women-only. Critics claim literature is a level playing field, which ignores the fact the Booker Prize was for decades called the Man Booker Prize.
Inter-Festival Female Spaces
Glastonbury is the biggest outdoor music festival in the world, home to hundreds of stages of various sizes. One, The Sistxrhood, has a strict no-dudes entry policy. An event there last year featured a demonstration of “queer fungi.”
The lineup of Brandi Carlile’s luxury Mexico beachfront music festival Girls Just Wanna Weekend is all-female, although the promo on the website definitely shows a mariachi band with some dudes in it — hope someone got fired for that blunder.
A Bouncy Jump Forward?
In 2018, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia became home to the world’s first female-only trampoline park. Now women can also do two slightly cool jumps then hurt their backs, and/or fuck something up immediately and land on their keys.
A Slippery Slide Toward Equality
In 2020, Saudi Arabia also became home to the world’s first water park exclusively admitting women, Loopagoon in Dana Bay. It has 11 state-of-the-art slides, all designed without nutsack safety as even a slight concern!
The Beautiful Beach That Doesn’t Smell of Buttholes
Ulcinj Beach in Montenegro has a male guard, but only women are allowed to proceed past him to the seafront, where the green, sulfur-rich water — prettier and less farty than that sounds — is said to have healing properties.
The Big House: Not Just for Dudes
The Central California Women’s Facility is the largest women’s prison in the world, and home to all California’s female death row inmates. Residents include Larissa Schuster, who dissolved her husband’s body in hydrochloric acid. See, women can be awful too!