Casual sexism in Nepal is flagrant, rampant, and accepted because it’s the norm. The highly patriarchal society and a very poor quality and level of education of the population means that most in the country struggle to understand — or make the link — between it and the rape culture, blatant misogyny and gender-based violence we see in our society.
In Cold is “Beer as Cold as Your Ex-girlfriend’s Heart” I drew attention to some of the many other issues that casual sexism has contributed to in Nepali society. Notably,
“not all our girls and women are still able to walk the streets with their head held high, they are sexually harassed in public transportation and during festivals such as Holi (AND blamed for being victims), they are abysmally poorly represented in the power structure, and they are still treated as second class citizens by the State etc. All that, I am pretty certain, contributes to the fact that suicide is their biggest killer.”
I should add that it also contributes to the victim-blaming attitude of the population towards females, whether the victim is of rape or domestic violence or of segregation — or unfair treatment — during menstruation.
Anyway, on September 22, 2019, I was greeted by the following promotional materials (see image below) in the bathroom of the new bar I had gone to for drinks with a friend. Of course, seeing it as yet another casual sexism at play, I took photos.
Those at the restaurant and bar responsible for it’s production and placement, I am sure were men, Nepali men.
I shared the discovery with the female friend I was with. Turned out the promotion also appeared in the women’s bathroom!
As much as I was put off by it and disapproved of it, apart from taking the photos, I raised the issue with neither the owner nor the employees there. I have come to realize that “sticking my head out,” as it were, and trying to educate average Nepalis at such joints is NOT something I want to continue to do. I realized, a long time ago, that were to continue doing that, I may end up suffering. In Nepal, doing the “right” thing COULD end up with things going wrong for you. A vast majority of Nepalis, I have decided, don’t care sufficiently about such issues anyway.
Having said that, we, Nepali men — especially old men — are one the biggest obstacles to progress in the country. Letting our action be dictated and driven by insecurity — one engendered by our ignorance (of who and what our females are) and arrogance (of superiority and knowledgeably) — we’ll continue to stumble along…bruising ourselves again and again, holding up everyone else, the way we have always done.
Perpetuating casual sexism in this — to many Nepalis I am sure — “innocuous” or “creative” way is another example of just that.
However, just last night, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the promotional material was no longer there! I don’t know for a fact if they actually took it down because they thought better of continuing to leave it there or because someone complained or because of some other reason.
Here’s what the men’s bathroom looks like now.
And here’s what the women’s bathroom looks like now.
Anyway, I enjoyed my time in the bathroom last evening…you know what I mean! 😀 😀
What do you think?