As they say, no publicity is bad publicity – unless it really is of the worst kind and puts one in league with apologists for rapists and wife-beaters and gains one’s infamy for misogyny.

Sorry, but this really is the 21st century and prehistoric ideals of grab a woman, force her to make you dinner are about as appreciated as, well, living in caves.

You woman, me man. HUAH! You cook, me eat!

Erm, no.

We all know the story of Table No. 5 – the restaurant whose love for feeding people sandwiches brought Armageddon.

Okay, well not Armageddon exactly, though we really fail to understand that if ‘women can cause earthquakes’, why can’t folks perpetuating sexist stereotypes cause Armageddon or at the very least tsunamis? (No political connotations please, we are seriously into sandwiches here!)

Also read: Islamabad restaurant Table No 5 forced to retract misogynistic menu

As we stalked through the infamous eatery’s Facebook posts (can you blame us?), we stumbled upon this profound pearl of wisdom by one, whose identity we shall keep secret in the interest of good manners.

The scribe, a meninist no doubt (and haha at whoever coined that term), wrote,

I think it was a pretty smart marketing campaign. Shouldn't have given up that easily.

That, of course, was in reference to Table No. 5’s condescending apology laced with strong ‘sorry, not sorry’ overtones posted earlier in the day.

The meninist went on to write,

We all know no one's sexist here. It's all in your head.

Quite so. Naming a dish after a serial rapist? Of course, it’s all in our head. The fact that Will Cozbee sounds so much like Bill Cosby, accused of multiple sexual assault charges, is also in our heads. Heck, the two names don’t even rhyme.

Another genius, let’s just call him Dr. Doofus for now, had an epiphany and stated,

Why make everything so controversial. Such simple conversations at home and at office are part of life and these are not ‘misogyny’, belittling of women, violence against women and sexual objectification of women. These are simple trouble-free ‘MAN JOKES.’ Don’t try to turn them into some BIG issues of life.

We don’t know whether we have the strength to lift that big rock that Dr. D lives under and explain to him without banging our head on the wall how completely off the mark he is.

Dr. D’s mindset is what triggers those violent misogynist acts that we all supposedly condemn.

These ‘simple jokes’ desensitise us to the bigger issues that they lead to. It’s about crossing lines – finer to less fine to thicker to thickest.

Men like him, and women like him, are the reason we have a thriving misogynist culture.

For instance, the connotation of ‘If she won’t make you a sandwich, we will!’ = It’s her job to make you a sandwich = If she doesn’t, she’s not doing her job = You should discipline her for not doing her job and show the woman her place = You master, she servant.

See where this leads to? No? Pity.

Usually when nothing works with this mindset, we bring in the ‘mummy guns’ as THAT is what the meninists usually resort to in conversations.

Lines like, “think about your kids, woman. Will they become self-proclaimed wacko idiots like you…” followed by “… you’re just some brain-cooked kid who makes roti for the entire family. I genuinely wish the menu had cream boobs served with a cold slap or sth ‘real’ to offend the feminist lot…” are thrown around with variant shades of insolence.

These particular quotes were courtesy of someone claiming to be a ‘close friend’ of the owner of Table No. 5, and was posting such obscenities relentlessly on the restaurant’s Facebook page, without any intervention from the page admin.

Going back to mummy guns, it was nice of Dr. D to educate us that rape jokes are man jokes.

Okay, little experiment. Let’s replace all the women in the ‘fun man jokes’ with Dr. D’s or any of the aforementioned gentlemen’s mums.

Give it a minute.

Ooh, suddenly we see blood boiling and steam emancipating out of reddening ears/eyes/face.

Also, do notice how this whole exercise reiterates to an old but usually invisible argument that women are nothing, unless they are women of your household?

Wives, mothers, sisters, or daughters who are related to ‘you’ are the ones worthy of any respect, if one can call it that. Without these identities, anything said against a ‘woman’ is merely brushed aside as humour.

Funny, yes? Do you see us laughing?

But yes, like all those supporters of Table No. 5, we believe in freedom of expression as well, which is why we leave Table No. 5 to their opinions, whilst we dish out ours at Table No. 6.

If you feel these ads are sexist or are targeting men in any way possible, then remember, it’s all in your head.

Table No. 5 insisted that their entire campaign was developed and put out there under the context of humour.

Well meaning, appetite-inducing humour that, according to another genius laying out the marketing strategy of the place, noted,

Speaking from a purely Marketing point of view, this guy is a genius. He's gained lots of likes on his page, got media traction and thousands of people now know about his restaurant (and will probably go and visit it to see what the fuss is about)… A lot of single guys (which are never in scarcity anywhere in Pakistan honestly), will be visiting this place and this guy probably aims to target them as a niche market. I wouldn't be surprised in due time if he does change his strategy to a more gender neutral one once he attracts enough regular customers and once he feels he wants to expand his customer base to more females… Well played.

Right. Given that this was the poster’s personal take on the whole thing. However, the way Table No. 5 has responded to criticism by still endorsing said ads, calling the whole controversy a ‘round’ to be won or lost, does feed into this person’s views.

A restaurant that marketed its food at the expense of women’s sentimentalities so it could grab chauvinist men as its market; and there are hundreds of loyal customers who favour this.

We have to hand it to them. Realising who the target market was, aka chauvinists, Table No. 5 really did do a good job.

However, had their market been actual people with sane logical and fair minds, they might have come up with something nice like this:

Interestingly, and on an end note, many on the page seemed to bring up Jibran Nasir, contemplating how he would react to the entire nonsensical scenario. They believed he would ‘storm’ as he is one of the most feminist feminists of the country.

Yes, he is. And we’d love him or anyone else supporting us women. Who wouldn’t appreciate a man who stands up for women’s rights and their honour, demands respect for them and sees them as equal as human beings because they, in fact, are just that.

And if such a man had had the misfortune of walking into Table No. 5, he would have surely left disgusted!

Please, don’t hate us, meninists. We aren’t demeaning you. It’s all in your head.


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