Why This Hoity-Toity Yacht Club Is Keeping Out Women...

by Geneva Hutcheson · June 23, 2016

    Are you a single woman, a widow, a divorcee, or (heaven forbid) a lesbian? Then don't try joining the Westerly Yacht club! Last Wednesday, the Westerly Yacht Club in Westerly, Rhode Island voted to keep women out. 

    While a majority of the (all male) members voted to revoke the policy, which allows women to be associates (but not full members) of the club if their husbands are members, and which prohibits single women or lesbians from joining, the policy change failed to reach a two thirds vote. As associates, women are allowed to throw parties and run committees, essentially to be Victorian socialites, but are denied suffrage within the club. 

    In a time when Beyonce is queen of culture and Hillary Clinton is nearly president it seems horribly archaic to follow such blatantly sexist policies. While some (male) members have claimed they don't think their wives want the right to vote anyway - reminiscent of suffrage era efforts made by men to maintain the patriarchal nuclear family - what they really fear losing is the power over an environment where they are able to exert male privilege freely.

    This vote fails to recognize women as individuals with deep family ties to the club and interests separate from their partner's. If we allow old boys' clubs like this to continue to exist and to treat women like second class citizens, incapable of making intelligent and thoughtful decisions, then we perpetuate the infantilization of half of our population. So, f*ck you, Westerly Yacht Club - we're starting our own.

    [Photo via Getty, @chelseamandes]