Uber driver Michael Pelletz is launching a new ridesharing service with a twist: All the drivers and passengers will be women. Chariot for Women will be active in the Boston area on April 19. But does the world need another ridesharing service? Especially one so specific? It turns out maybe it does.
The new Uber of Ubers? This time, with flagrant discrimination. Putting aside the irony of its founder being male, as in he wouldn’t be able to drive for his own company, this concept is an open assertion that the irrational fears of feminism constitute a sufficient basis to overcome all law that prohibits discrimination.
Employment, accommodation, human rights, on federal, state and local levels, laws exist that forbid discrimination on gender. And the core justification for Chariot for Women is that it discriminates.
“The premise is the same as all the other ridesharing services,” Pelletz said in a phone interview. “There’s a driver app and a client app, except that what makes us unique is our safety feature that other apps forgot to do.” The service’s patent-pending technology gives the driver and the client a code in the app after a ride request has been made. When the car arrives, the driver and passenger make sure their codes match before the passenger gets in the car. Chariot for Women donates 2 percent of every fare to charity, and the company does not use surge charging.
The 2% for charity piece is window dressing; inexplicably, people fail to do the addition and realize that just means they take an additional 2% from passengers and donate it as they please, enjoying the charitable deduction that passengers don’t and giving it to their preferred cause rather than their passenger’s. But then, math is hard, and, well, you know.
The rationale is that male drivers are rapists. Male passengers, apparently, are rapists as well. Aside from children under 13 (though why 13 isn’t clear), all males are rapists. Well, maybe not all, but enough that all males are deemed sufficiently likely to rape as to justify protecting women from them.
That safety issue is making headlines lately, especially for Uber. BuzzFeed obtained screenshots in March showing thousands of complaints against the company seeming to involve rape and sexual assault. In December 2014, an Uber driver in India was arrested on suspicion of raping a passenger. And just today, Uber agreed to pay $25 million for overstating the thoroughness of its background checks.
“We’re doing this because there is such inequality when it comes to security that afflicts driver and rider due to gender,” Pelletz reiterated. “Women are across the world the ones being harassed and assaulted by male drivers. In my eight months as an Uber driver, I didn’t hear any negative feedback from men.”
One can fairly easily parse the inherent flaws with each example, but that ignores the point. The premise of Chariot for Women is that females perceive a fear of sexual assault, an “inequality of security,” whatever that means, and therefore are entitled to violate discrimination laws because of their feelings.
Pelletz obviously realizes this, and says he’s ready to take it on.
There are likely legal difficulties ahead for a service that states outright that it will not serve men. That doesn’t worry Pelletz. “We look forward to legal challenges. We want to show there’s inequality in safety in our industry. We hope to go to the U.S. Supreme Court to say that if there’s safety involved, there’s nothing wrong with providing a service for women.”
Pretty bold, and it would be fair to expect that Pelletz has had a chat or two with lawyers about the potential problems. Whether the lawyers are competent or true believers is another matter. We’ve seen many lawyers blinded by their religion, making laughable arguments to justify their absurd theories. If Pelletz wanted to find a lawyer who would tell him his concept is legally sound, it wouldn’t be hard to do.
Is the argument legit? If there is “safety involved,” is that good enough to justify ignoring all laws to the contrary? And is there “safety involved,” or rather the irrational fear of a certain segment of women inclined to believe that any contact with a male in an enclosed space carries a sufficient potential for rape to legitimize their fear?
On the one hand, replace gender with race and the flaw of the argument becomes obvious. After all, everyone knows blacks are disproportionately criminals, and when there is “safety involved, there is nothing wrong with providing a service for” whites. Yeah, the argument doesn’t come off nearly as well when it’s put that way.
But then, whites aren’t a marginalized group, and claiming that the risk of black men being criminals is elevated is WRONG. It is, but then, so is the risk that all men are rapists. It’s just that one is politically acceptable under the rules of social justice and the other is not.
Are women marginalized such that their safety justifies absolution from all anti-discrimination laws? It’s curious that the majority gender claims marginalization, based on their apparent lack of success in achieving control over much of anything, but that would ignore the fact that the vast number of women are intelligent and rational, and refuse to hop aboard the infantilization of women train. They are not so weak and helpless that they need to be “special” to survive.
Will this facially discriminatory concept win in the Supreme Court? A preliminary question is whether it will make it to the Supreme Court, which would require males to challenge it in court. Thus far, there doesn’t appear to be much interest by men in raising a ruckus over a business based on feminist tropes. I could make a “woman driver” joke here, but that would be gratuitous and offensive. For whatever reason, it doesn’t appear that anyone cares all that much.
This is just another data point in the gender war demanding that everything from laws to cabs be treated differently because women want what they want, whether they are right to feel as they do or just awash in their irrational feelings. So what if it’s hypocritical? That hasn’t seemed to present much of a stumbling block for neo-feminists, who argue that they deserve special treatment at every turn because of their emotional needs.
It would make for a fascinating test of law for this concept to come before the Supreme Court, to test whether the feminist universe of excuses and rationalizations is sufficient to exempt women from logic, facts and the principles that apply to everyone else. But it’s not likely to happen unless some guy cares enough to make a stink over it.
H/T Keith Kaplan