Spain clamps down on disco 'auctioning' girls

The Granada disco called it an "auction of single teenage girls," and the gawky boys who showed up for this afternoon fiesta were given monopoly money to bid on the lass of their choice. The highest bidder won a free soft drink with his dream date at the VIP lounge.

The disco, Granada 10, said the auction was a common gimmick used by Spanish nightclubs to attract the acne-prone crowd during off-peak hours. But Spain's politically correct Ministry of Equality did not enjoy the joke.

It has called for an investigation by the regional prosecutor on children's affairs to determine whether this teenage romp constitutes gender discrimination and if so, who should be held responsible. "This event is deplorable, sexist, rancid and out-of-date, from another era," said the 32-year-old Equality Minister, Bibiana Aido (pictured right).

The Institute of Women in Andalusia is also looking into whether the disco's advertisement violated anti-discrimination law. And local politicians are advising parents on how to protect their teens from such discos.

Anyone who has ever experienced the wild, and ageless, club scene in Ibiza or Benidorm might be surprised at the fuss. But the Socialist-led government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has crusaded to rid the country of all vestiges of machismo.

Mr Zapatero has done everything from instituting gender parity in his cabinet to adding a clause to the civil marriage code obliging men to share the housework. The Ministry of Equality, the most recent invention of the Zapatero government, now oversees issues of domestic violence, salary disparity and gender discrimination.

The Granada disco came to the attention of Spain's gender-equality watchdogs by chance, during a visit to a local school by an adviser from City Hall. During the talk, a boy held up one of the invitations distributed outside his school. "Auction of single girls: the best way to find your mate!" the leaflet read. "If you're a single girl, put yourself up for auction. If you're a single boy, place your bid."

Press reports say the disco started at 8.30pm on 25 April, entrance fee: €8 (£7).

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