Thursday, November 15, 2012

Peninsular Hotel Ladies Cafe

South Boston, City Point (around 1910)
Peninsular Hotel Ladies Cafe

Location: City Point, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Opened/Closed: 1890s

I have not had a lot of luck determining where the Peninsular Hotel was, or even finding a postcard showing its appearance. But I do have a newspaper ad that mentions the hotel's ladies cafe.

Boston Daily Globe,
July 19, 1897

We've mentioned more than once that men's space and women's space are (sometimes) separate, but very seldom equal. Notice that the ladies cafe was squished onto the second floor--which is nearly always considered more marginal space from a commercial standpoint. A second floor (or basement) location was pretty much standard procedure for the ladies cafes. 

Not only that, but in this case, the Gentlemen's Cafe even commands a larger font! So if you somehow didn't realize that the men had priority, the very layout of the ad spells it out for you. 

In the absence of any photos, I'd like to think that the Ladies Cafe had plenty of windows. At least we're promised that "all the rooms give a magnificent view of the bay with its hundreds of yachts." It's even possible that there might have better views of the bay from the second floor than the first floor. But then, the men were NOT excluded from the second floor view, as ladies cafes were set up for unescorted women and women in the company of men. While the boys had the stag party all to themselves downstairs. 

Those who don't understand history will sometimes claim (erroneously) that men have no spaces just for themselves, while women still do. Actually, the evidence has always been clear on this. Women's bars, guesthouses, cafes, restaurants, etc. are nearly always "open" to all with few exceptions. And if not, they're under constant social and economic pressure to be "open" to all. By contrast, men's bars, clubs, baths, guesthouses, etc. are seldom under the same pressures of reciprocity. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.