This restaurant in Islamabad thinks misogyny is an acceptable marketing tactic

Published: November 11, 2015
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I would urge readers to call this establishment to let them know that misogyny is unacceptable.

I would urge readers to call this establishment to let them know that misogyny is unacceptable. I would urge readers to call this establishment to let them know that misogyny is unacceptable. PHOTO: PINTEREST

This Islamabad-based eatery is named ‘Table No. 5’, but perhaps they should call themselves ‘Mentally Unstable No. 5’.

If you thought that joke was bad, then get a load of these.  

If their sexist ‘humour’ wasn’t nauseating enough, their food is named after celebrities such as Sean Penn and Bill Cosby. You know, men who have a record of physically and emotionally abusing women.

Take Sean Penn for example:

Cracked:

“After he got good and drunk (again), Penn climbed into Madonna’s house, where she was alone. He then grabbed her, tied her to a chair, and assaulted her for hours, both physically and emotionally. He then went out for more booze, came back, and kept up the beating. Madonna only escaped after telling Penn that she had to go to the bathroom, which meant he had no problem battering, beating, bloodying, and bruising the supposed love of his life, but felt it would have been too degrading to make her pee in front of him.”

And then there is Bill Cosby, who has raped so many women, he probably has a special place in the afterlife just for him.

Daily Mail talks about 35 of the 46 survivors who have publically accused the former sitcom star:

“Now, nearly 60 years since Bill Cosby’s first alleged sexual assault, a group of women who say ‘America’s favourite dad’ attacked them have come forward to reveal their harrowing experiences.

The 35 women, ranging in age from their early 20s to 80, have bravely agreed to be pictured for an issue of New York Magazine, set to be published on Monday, while revealing the details of their encounter with the disgraced comedian.”

Appalled by the nasty references, Pakistani women chose to remind ‘Table No. 5’ on their Facebook page of the unacceptability of their branding.

Here, the restaurant tried to feign innocence by resorting to gas-lighting:

If we are expected to believe that ‘Cozbee’ is a made-up name and we are jumping to conclusions, then the owner of this restaurant is pretty bucking cupid.

Then, there is the mysterious fan boy, energetically defending the restaurant in the most bizarre manner possible:

On a side note, this is what the above mentioned term means:

“Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favour the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.”

You can educate yourself more on this form of abuse here.

The restaurant’s badly thought-out marketing plan has given rise to a storm on social media, and for good reason. On their Facebook page alone, numerous Pakistani women have left poor reviews for the restaurant.

Disappointingly, not as many men have. What’s worse, a minority has expressed open appreciation.

Undoubtedly, some will ask why the aggrieved are protesting so passionately. Sadly, no one would have fired this query had the jokes, instead of being sexist, been racist or anti-religion.

What is it about sexism that finds such casual acceptance? If issues such as racism and bigotry are condemned with little backlash, why does sexism draw apologists out of the woodwork?

Just so that we are clear, as a feminist I am offended by sexist jokes, as a man, I am offended by sexist jokes, but most importantly, as a human being I am offended by sexist jokes.

Offhanded misogyny, carefully packaged in a seemingly acceptable joke, is dangerous because it convinces some of the righteousness of sexism on a subconscious level. Equal rights for men and women can’t be achieved, when those capable of initiating change consume media that convinces them of the superiority of a single gender.

Certainly, I can’t fathom why the owner of this business has decided on such a counterproductive plan. How can hatred of women override all common sense?

As part of an industry that thrives on good-will, naming your food after rapists and abusers is far from a clever way to get attention. Certainly, it makes one wonder what ingredients Table No. 5 are using in their food.

I would urge readers to call this establishment to let them know that misogyny is unacceptable.

But please, keep it clean. Don’t drop to their level of distaste.

Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sunny

    Though no thing should be generalized into stereotype,
    the opinion suggesting that now days educated women
    aren’t as good at cooking as their moms or grandma’s used to be
    is not that rare among men.

    We often see comments on food section of men complaining that modern day
    women aren’t that hardworking when it comes to cooking rather go for easy stuff
    like take aways, frozen food or other ready to cook items that are mostly fried and determinantal to health in general.

    Many restaurants have realized this and are capitalizing on it,
    its just that they are diplomatic enough to not market it in the manner
    the said restaurant is doing.Recommend

  • Talha

    @Noman Ansari,
    I think you need a break from writing. You have given us some good blogs but now you are making everything “Bilawajha ka masla”.
    Why make everything so much 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 woman jokes”, don not try to turn them into some BIG Issues of life.Recommend

  • Midhat

    I called this restaurant and asked to talk to the manager. The receptionist lady( I wonder how she feels safe working in that environment) asked me to come to the restaurant and talk to their owner. According to her the owner is a very decent man and the theme was chosen by the ad agency. I don’t buy this. The owner must have approved the offensive theme and is shying away from taking the responsibility. I urge everyone to please call or visit this place and register their complain and demand an apologyRecommend

  • Absar Khan

    Didn’t the same author as this blog, write about some sort of freewill and justified gay marriage / gay relationship days earlier? Well this is a dose of ur freewill, as long as the Resturant doesn’t break any laws, they’re free to run it in Pakistan like its USA, you’ve been given ur dose of freedom good sir.Recommend

  • Parvez

    It’s a sandwich shop that was trying hard to get noticed…….now the agency that did the promotion must be quietly smiling.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Hi Parvez. I remember I wrote a blog on these smutty ads on Facebook which were sharing private celebrity photos and you had a similar response. At the time I argued my blog was a drop in the bucket compared to the the exposure from Facebook alone. Keep in mind after the blog, Facebook removed those ads. No where to be seen.

    As for this, I believe you have this belief that no publicity is bad publicity. For many items it is true. But not in the service industry.

    On the Facebook page of Table 5 they have issued an apology. They were visited by the police today also, according to AFP. So, no, they aren’t smiling. There are thousands of complaints.

    Please visit their page. Look at their messages. Does this look like smiling? To their credit, they have apologized.

    https://www.facebook.com/tableno.5/?fref=nfRecommend

  • Noman Ansari

    I don’t understand your point? Do you realize there is a law in Pakistan against hate speech, right? Secondly, if they have the freedom of expression to brand themselves like this, do I not have the freedom to say what I think? That’s how freedom works.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    AFP says the owner is a lady and is out of town. I don’t know what the scene is.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    I’d agree if I was alone. You can check out their Facebook page for the amount of ‘bilawajha ka masla.’

    I feel terrible for you that this is the sort of home and office environment you grew up in. I am lucky I was raised in a different way. Recommend

  • Ali

    In a place like Pakistan, where the country ranks among the worst places for women, this only reinforces attitudes towards women.
    I can tell you clearly agree with the restaurant.Recommend

  • Ali

    What planet do you live on? Pakistan consistently ranks among the worst places on earth for women. Such ads only reinforce mysoginistic attitudes towards women.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Firstly Noman I am not on Facebook….so am blank about the Facebook reference. What I do see are the picture of cats and dogs and the funny stuff you put up and my wife keeps showing me :-)
    On Table 5, yes they were out of line but the ferocity with which they were hit was….like killing an ant with an elephant gun. What worries me when I see such things is the capacity for misuse of ‘ social media ‘ more than anything else.Recommend

  • bigsaf

    Naming food after rapists (who are violent against women) are simple trouble-free “Man Woman jokes” in Pakistani homes and offices? Sad.Recommend

  • werecat

    Poor menz! They finally have to use their delicate hands to learn how to cook! Boohoo! Recommend

  • Ahmed Adnan

    even the top cooks are men dominated.
    Recommend

  • werecat

    Your point being? Men dominating a field is not evidence that women can’t be good at it. Restaurant kitchens are known for being unfriendly towards women and many women don’t want to put themselves through that.Recommend

  • Ali

    Except they deserve as much criticism as possible. Pakistan consistently ranks among the worst places for women. To many, what the restaraunt said is actually a reality in this misogynistic and patriarchal society.Recommend

  • Hunter

    They Should Open More Branches Spread Awareness
    Recommend