Vive la Difference in the Workplace: Feminism Meets Liberal Theory in Las Vegas Casinos

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This paper discusses the broad strokes of liberal theory, feminism and universal rights. It covers opposing conservative arguments in which we review individual and social psychodynamics that we believe form the foundation for the tension between Liberalism and feminism and perhaps, more widely, Liberalism and Conservatism. It is within these discussions that we offer practical application of these posits in the form of our summary of precedent setting legal cases originating in Las Vegas and reported from Las Vegas. The cases are all united by the fact that they not only relate to Nevada, but that all, in one form or another, concern the matter of sexual difference. In our view they are also united in the manner in which they represent a perceived tension that arises in Liberalism as it is espoused in the United States and how it seeks to eradicate sexual difference under the law. We strive to unravel issues of identity as they pertain to the synthesis of Liberalism, feminism and the psychodynamic vantage.

Bright light city gonna set my soul

Gonna set my soul on fire

Got a whole lot of money that's ready to burn,

So get those stakes up higher

There's a thousand pretty women waitin' out there

And they're all livin' devil may care

And I'm just the devil with love to spare

Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas

(Viva Las Vegas,

Words & Music: Doc Pomus & Mort

Shuman, 1964; italics added)

In 2000, the Standing Conference for Management and Organization Inquiry held its annual conference in Las Vegas. At that conference, a number of ideas were put forward including the prospect that Las Vegas was trying to remake itself as a family destination for what was termed "visual consumption" (Carr, 2000, 2001). It was argued that this remake largely relied upon being able to tap into common fantasies given the many ways the 'art', 'arts' and buildings on display were simply amusements to be consumed rather than 'analyzed' or critically appraised. In another idea, it was suggested that the glitz, glitter and newness of the present Las Vegas appears all the more meaningful in light of the archaic. Drawing upon Homer's tale of The Odyssey (trans. 1991), the argument was advanced that one can clearly reveal how risk-taking, self-denial, repression and sublimation are archaic constituents in modernity that are noticeably 'played out' in Vegas. Some of that argument was captured in the following paragraph:

The sweet songs of the Sirens may have been replaced by the alluring tones of popular entertainers but, the song of the Sirens has also taken the form of the sound of poker machines and the barrage of aural stimulation associated with winning and the announcement of jackpot winners. The urge, so akin to an Odyssean approach to temptation, to defy the odds and emerge triumphant with money in hand. Being able to enjoy the entertainment of it ALL is a temptation not to be resisted ["it is impossible to hear the Sirens and not succumb to them" (Adorno & Horkheimer, 1947/1997, p. 59)], but it is a temptation to be mastered through cunning. Earlier we noted that "cunning ... is defiance in a rational form" (Adorno & Horkheimer, 1947/1997, p. 59). One can allow oneself the fun of it all, and even to be mesmerized by the spectacle, but at the same time, still sufficiently aware that this is a spectacle that has the intent to seduce one to spending more money than one had intended. Of course, there are those who cannot resist the 'song' and are fatally drawn to the allurement. (Carr, 2001, pp. 135-136)

It was the juxtaposition of the archaic with modern Las Vegas that afforded us an opportunity to see ourselves in spite of ourselves. This also applies to females working in Las Vegas casinos, who also become economically drawn to the allurement of working in these establishments.

In 2007, we return to the 'devil's playpen', where attention is brought to bear upon how this "Bright Light City" provides us an opportunity to reflect. …