Should ladies who wear less, pay less?
Anyone who has ever set foot in an amusement park will agree that it’s basically a ticketed event for folks with an acute line-up fetish. Unless you are a child, or have one – the charm of giant rides and sweaty humans in animal suits may very well be lost on you.
But one enterprising theme park in the southern Chinese city of Guilin has come up with a genius solution. From the months of July to August, Guilin Merryland Theme Park is offering to slash the entry price in half for women who sport a skirt that’s shorter than 38cm.
That’s some serious discount for ladies to show some leg, you guys!
Female staffers stand ready at the gates with rulers in hand to measure the skirt length of each willing visitor.
The theme park authorities mean business, too. Female staffers stand ready at the gates with rulers in hand to measure the skirt length of each willing visitor. All female participants must be over 18 and there is also a strict “no shorts, no dresses” policy.
Those who pass the hemline test can get in for 55 yuan ($9 AUD) -- a rate usually reserved for Chinese soldiers, disabled visitors, senior citizens and children shorter than 140cm.
Hailed as a tourism drawcard since its inception in 2007, the “Love Miniskirts” promotion "aims to encourage female visitors to showcase their beauty in summer”, says the park’s Deputy Manager, Li Wenxing.
This is great, presumably – because one can only imagine the dark days before the campaign when no ladies in Guilin dared to (or had the financial means to) curate their bare thighs in an amusement park. Now not only will they have the freedom to be leered at by strangers, but may do so at a bonus discount admission price.
Incidentally, the two-month long miniskirt promotion also happens to coincide with the park’s 'water-splashing festival', during which, according to Shanghai Daily, “visitors can throw water over each other, including the miniskirted women.” This attracts even more visitors, says Li.
But before we get too carried away with the complete history of ‘Corporations v Sexist exploitation’, it’s interesting to note that the ire of the public isn’t directed solely at the theme park, but also at the ladies who are opting for the miniskirt discount.
One resident complained that the park is “encouraging women to behave erotically to attract visitors,” while another irate commenter Zhang Quan said to China Daily ,"I will never allow my wife or sister to wear such short skirts for cheaper tickets, it sounds bad to me."
So are female visitors to blame for enabling a ‘crass’ marketing ploy aimed at perve-happy theme park goers? Or is it more ‘respectable’ to pay up and cover up even if you don’t mind wearing a mini skirt under the raging summer sun?
In the book Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital, author Catherine Hakim argues that there is inherent power derived from our sex appeal. Hakim goes further to state that there are “cross-cultural statistics” to prove that women’s ‘erotic capital’ is consistently greater than that of men. So why is it problematic for women to draw on their erotic capital?
In a sexual free market, it’s arguably empowering for women to benefit from their sex appeal. But while there certainly isn’t anything wrong for ladies to dress how they want (and occasionally being handed half-priced theme park tickets for it), the only caveat – as writer Anna North points out in a Jezebel article, is that “when your influence is based on someone else's desire, he* is the one who's really in control.”
*Or the amusement park in question