One restaurant’s ploy to fight the pay gap appears to have backfired.

When it opened in 2017, Handsome Her eatery in Melbourne, Australia, made international headlines for charging men 18% more than women to make up for the gender wage gap.

The vegan restaurant “by women, for women,” also bravely fought inequality by giving women priority seating. Now, it has closed its doors.

Handsome Her wasn’t totally off the rails. Its 18% “man tax” applied for only one week each month, and it was optional. But “optional” is a funny word: Imagine going to a cafe as a male and telling your (probably female, probably full of feminist passion) cashier you’d not like to fight the patriarchy. That doesn’t sound like a fun interaction.

But hey, neither is it fun being a woman in a highly developed country in the 21st century. At least, that’s what owner Alex O’Brien seems to believe.

“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,” O’Brien told Broadsheet. “I like that it is making men stop and question their privilege a little bit.”

O’Brien said the tax is tongue-in-cheek, and it’s true that it probably had little effect on male customers’ wallets. On a small coffee, for instance, 18% is just a handful of extra change. The bonus cash was even donated to a women’s service.

But why can’t all customers pay a surcharge so the money can go to charity, as most socially conscious cafes work? Because of the patriarchy. Never mind that when you control for a variety of factors, the pay gap is negligible to nonexistent.

This is about making men feel bad for being men.

In a goodbye post on Facebook, Handsome Her wrote:

When we opened Handsome Her in 2017, we expected that perhaps we might make a stir through our brazen public discussions of structural inequality and oppression. The man tax blew up the internet, an idea that we didn’t think was all too radical, yet the way the world responded showed us how fragile masculinity is and solidified the necessity for us to confront and dismantle patriarchy.

It’s true that Handsome Her experienced backlash, some of it vicious and inappropriate. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t doing some bullying of its own. Maybe that’s why it shut down; maybe it was some other factor. But if the backlash and the apparent business failure are any indication, most people don’t want a “safe space” where men are less welcome.

For a better world where “respect goes both ways,” one of the cafe’s house rules, restaurants can’t guilt men into literally paying for the supposed sins of their gender. That’s not equality, and it’s the opposite of progress.