A Melbourne cafe that only launched last week has already copped significant backlash online after introducing an optional 18% “tax” for male customers.
The cafe, called Handsome Her, is located in Brunswick and offers a variety of vegan and vegetarian options to customers. The business opened on August 4, staffed by a team of women, and with a chalkboard out the front which quickly stoked the fire of outrage.
“I do want people to think about it, because we’ve had this (pay discrepancy) for decades and decades and we’re bringing it to the forefront of people’s minds. I like that it is making men stop and question their privilege a little bit,” O’Brien said.
“One of my friends who works for a not-for-profit women’s service was talking about the pay gap and I thought it was a good idea, so we decided that one week every month we would charge men an 18 per cent premium, which we will donate.”
“It is a bit more tongue in cheek. If someone doesn’t want to pay the tax, we will just wipe it.”
O’Brien told Broadsheet the cafe had received “nothing but positivity” from customers, both male and female, but comments online told a different story.
In a response to an image of the chalkboard posted on Twitter, users were quick to label it “discrimination” and a “feminism tax”.
“It’s not every day that your boss pulls you into her fire-pit of feminism and you have to quickly become warriors and defend where you work and what you do on a level that others never do,” the business wrote.
this is an edited version of a piece that first appeared on Smart Company