Things That Matter

A Restaurant In Peru Has Been Fined $62,000 For What Many Say Is Blatant Sexism

A famed restaurant in Lima, Peru received a $62,000 fine for what authorities felt was its sexist menu. The upscale seaside La Rosa Nautica had an unusual practice of giving one menu to men and a different one to women. La Rosa Nautica is an international tourist attraction and favorite of the country’s upper class. Featured in guidebooks and on major lists of the best restaurants, it will now be forced to change its practice. 

The owners never believed it was sexist in the first place (because double standards are the beacon of equality), but the courts disagreed. 

Two different menus. Two different genders. 

La Rosa Nautica servers would hand women patrons a gold menu that listed all of the items available to order except one detail is omitted: the price. Men are given identical blue menus with the price included. The idea being — you guessed it — men will always pay for dinner, women will not. Perhaps the owners at La Rosa Nautica don’t believe nonbinary people eat. 

During the legal proceedings, the owners defended the practice as ensuring that women “enjoy a romantic evening” without fretting over the cost of their meals — in 2019. 

The La Rosa Nautica owners denied that their menus were discriminatory and that menus without prices, “extoll the position of women, considering it a pleasure for them to enjoy a romantic evening with their partner, without taking into account the cost of the services.”

La Rosa Nautica fined $62,000 and forced to change their sexist menu practice.

Nevertheless, the National Institute for the Defense of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property found the practice sexist in a 3 to 2 ruling. Now the restaurant must give people of all genders the same menu. 

“These small things may seem harmless,” Liliana Cerrón, an official with the agency that issued the fine, told the Associated Press. “But at the end of the day they are the basis of a chauvinistic construct reinforcing differences between men and women.”

On top of the $62,000 fine, the restaurant will have to offer a single menu, train staff, and display a public sign that states, “it is prohibited to discriminate against consumers on the grounds of origin, race, sex, language, religion, opinion, economic condition, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or other grounds.”

This isn’t the first case of a sexist menu. 

La Rosa Nautica isn’t the first restaurant to offer different menus to men and women or come under fire for it. In the 1980s, the L’Orangerie, a renowned restaurant in Los Angeles, was sued for sex discrimination by customers who did not like that servers gave women a white menu without prices and a green menu to men that included them. 

According to DW, some upscale German restaurants have “ladies menus” available upon request. 

“Dresden’s Moritz is one of the country’s few restaurants where female diners with a male accompaniment receive a separate women’s menu without being asked. Restaurant manager Loretta Meister told the German newspaper that although the menu never stirred any problems, ‘it’s a bit old fashioned.'” 

There’s an important reason men paying for dinner is sexist. 

How individuals choose to split their bills is nobody’s business, but when society does not give people a choice about who pays for what is when we get into trouble. For centuries men have been conditioned to be the “providers” and society was constructed to follow that belief. This is the justification for paying women less  — the implication being there should be a man at home paying for the rest. Moreover, when a man pays for a woman’s dinner there is the misguided notion that he is owed something in return. 

A 1985 study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly found that “rape was rated as more justifiable when the man paid all the dating expenses rather than splitting the costs with the woman.” A more recent study from 2010 found that men were more likely to expect sex if they paid for an expensive date. 

Nevertheless, a 2014 study found that in 77 percent of heterosexual relationships men had paid the bill on the first date. 

“As social roles start to change, people often embrace the changes that make their lives easier, but resist the changes that make their lives more difficult,” David Frederick, a professor of psychology at Chapman University, told The Huffington Post. “Who pays for dates … is one arena where women may be resisting gender changes more than men.” 

While it is not inherently sexist for a man to pay for a date, it is important to be mindful of the reasons why he might feel compelled to do so. At La Rosa Nautica patrons didn’t have a choice — and that’s not good for men or women. 

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A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

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A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

Credit: Screenshot via CBS/WBZ

A former female firefighter was just given a settlement of $3.2 million by the city of Boston for what she characterized as a culture of sexual harassment, shaming, and silencing. Nathalie Fontanez says she was retaliated against by the Boston Fire Department for reporting a sexual assault she experienced at the hands of a colleague.

In 2018, Fontanez says she was sexually assaulted by fellow firefighter David Sanchez.

It all began when Fontanez joined the Boston Fire Department in 2011. The department was looking to hire fluent Spanish speakers, and Fontanez considered the opportunity a “golden ticket”. It was an opportunity for her, a single mom, to provide for her daughter without the assistance of welfare. And, she could prove to her daughter that women can do anything.

But Fontanez’s dream soon turned into a nightmare. After joining the department, she faced an inordinate amount of hazing and harassment because she was a woman and a Latina.

“I’m not a veteran. I’m not a man. I’m a Latin woman. If there was a totem pole, I was at the very bottom,” she explained. “I felt that I had to tolerate anything that came my way, because I was lucky to be there,” she said.

Per Fontanez, the incidents escalated until the day in question when she was assaulted at the firehouse by Sanchez.

After reporting the incident to her superiors, she says that her colleagues turned on her.

In a recent press conference, Fontanez explained the experience in more detail. “Incidents began to escalate and I was then shamed and labeled a trouble-maker,” she said. “The guys that I once relied on for my life’s safety now turned against me.”

While Sanchez was convicted of assault and battery and sentenced to two years of probation, Fontanez says that she was harassed and isolated by her station mates. According to her, the retaliation also included being denied a promotion and being ignored at social events.

“I was often reminded by some of my colleagues that I had taken a job from a man who could have been providing for his family, even though I was a single parent providing for mine,” she said.

Last month, the city settled with Fontanez for $3.2 million. But Fontanez says it’s not about the money–it’s about changing the toxic culture of firehouses. 

“I’m breaking my silence because I believe that women firefighters deserve equal treatment in the Boston Fire Department,” Fontanez said during the news conference. “However, at this point that is the dream, but not the reality, for many women firefighters. The department is overdue for change, and the time for change is now.”

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Just Issued Her First Opinion In Abortion Case And Cast Doubt On Future Of Roe V. Wade

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Just Issued Her First Opinion In Abortion Case And Cast Doubt On Future Of Roe V. Wade

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

It was no secret that if the Republican Party and Donald Trump got their way with the Supreme Court, that women’s health and reproductive rights would be under attack. Well, Trump installed his new justice, Amy Coney Barrett, to the court in November and she’s just issued her first opinion in a case related to access to abortion.

Amy Coney Barrett handed a victory to the White House and Conservatives regarding abortion.

Since taking her seat on the Supreme Court in November, Justice Coney Barretts’ opinions have escaped much scrutiny. However, her latest opinion in an abortion-related case is drawing scrutiny from both the left and the right for clues of how she might rule in the future.

The decision, issued despite objection from the court’s more liberal judges, reinstates a requirement for patients to pick up the drug, mifepristone, in person. Three lower courts had blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s in-person pick-up requirement for mifepristone during the coronavirus pandemic, citing the risks of contracting COVID-19 at a doctor’s office or a hospital.

Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project, called the court’s decision “chilling” and one that “needlessly” endangers “even more people during this dark pandemic winter.”

In an interview with NPR, she added that people of color, like Black and Latinx patients, are at particular risk for health risks posed by COVID-19. Requiring them to go to a doctor’s office in person to pick up the drug threatens the health and lives of those patients, she said.

It’s the first abortion-related decision since last year’s swearing in of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose presence on the high court bench ensured a new conservative majority. Abortion-rights advocates have been fearful of what a conservative majority could do to chip away at legal protections for abortion.

On the surface, this week’s abortion ruling is fairly minor but it has many women worried.

Credit: Phil Walter / Getty Images

In its ruling, the Court didn’t release a majority opinion, which means that the case doesn’t explicitly change existing legal doctrine. And the case concerns a policy that the Biden administration could likely reverse after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

But, when you read between the lines, the case – FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – warns of a dark future for abortion rights and women’s health.

The premise of pro-abortion rights decisions like Roe v. Wade (1973) is that the Constitution provides special protection to the right to an abortion that it doesn’t provide to other elective medical procedures. Yet, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor explains in dissent, American College effectively rules that a commonly used abortion drug may be regulated more harshly than any other legal medication.

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