It isn't unusual to hear of sexist jokes passed off as 'light humour', and the latest to join the big joke are restaurants in the national capital. The best you can expect, apparently, is a lame attempt at an apology, and only after you tell them it's wrong.
Just days after the restaurant chain Nando’s got into trouble for a sexist advertisement in national newspapers, Imperfecto, a restaurant and bar in Hauz Khas Village in South Delhi, has landed in a soup for a similar reason.
Imperfecto had a chalkboard sign earlier this week that said “We don’t serve women. You must bring your own.”
Noted film critic and writer-director Raja Sen posted this picture on Twitter, and immediately, the restaurant faced a lot of online backlash.
— Raja Sen (@RajaSen) April 7, 2016
Many shared the post on Twitter and Facebook asking people to boycott the restaurant.
The National Commission for Women chairperson Lalita Kumaramanglam told The Hindu that they are considering writing to the restaurant. She also suggested that women should “boycott” such restaurants as “the only thing these establishments would understand would be the loss of business”.
After much backlash, one of the owners of the restaurant, Sharad Madan, decided to apologise on his Facebook page. However, the apology sounds more like, 'sorry, but not sorry.'
"To begin with we would like to apologise if we hurt any sentiments. It was a post we saw online and felt like sharing. It was completely unintentional. However our intention was just the light humour," he wrote.
Light humour, sir?
Let's get this straight — apparently, whoever saw it online and 'felt like sharing' it, didn't realise that women are not objects. And that it is really, really not funny to crack sexist jokes. No sir, let me spell it out for you — it's not ' just light humour', it's just wrong.
Madan said that the restaurant frequently used “quirky one-liners”, and this time it was without understanding what the consequences would be.
However, the owner had a strange of way of justifying that they respect women: "Our head chef and co-founder is a woman and a mother figure to all of us."
Of course, you can only respect women when you make them the 'mother figure.' Right?
By the end of the post, Madan decided to justify why the board was put out in the first place.
"At the same time if you consider the glass to be half full, the quote can also refrain those that come with wrong intentions from harbouring the same while at Imperfecto and Hkv," he wrote.
Now, we are not quite whether's it's really an apology. Or just a way saying that it was funny, but you didn't get it.
I wish this was the first time food portals and restaurants thought sexism is funny. But, alas.
Recently, Nando's India shared a picture of a grilled chicken dish with a message that said: "We don't mind if you touch our buns, or breasts or even our thighs. Whatever you're into, enjoying any Nando's meal with your hands is always recommended". After much outrage on the Internet, the restaurant chain apologised.
In January, Food Talk India, a Facebook group had put up a highly sexist photo post on their Facebook and Instagram accounts where they suggested that an 'arranged marriage wife' will make round rotis but a 'love marriage wife' will make burnt ones. They later removed the picture and apologised for the same.
Now, Imperfecto's response to the criticisms has pointed out a major problem. Are these people apologising because they genuinely understand that it's not funny to crack sexist jokes, or are they just doing it because their business may take a hit?
If it's the latter, then it's scary and it's time for restaurant owners and advertisers to learn what's funny and what's just not acceptable.
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