A restaurant in Pakistan is coming under fire for its sexist marketing strategy, which includes selling sandwiches named after alleged rapists and abusers and promoting the tagline, “If she won’t make you a sandwich, we will.” Social media users on Twitter and Facebook have criticized the Islamabad-based restaurant, arguing that its menu glorifies violence against women and capitalizes on misogyny. The restaurant, called “Table No. 5,” has since backtracked on its menu, but so far is standing firm on its commitment to the “Women should be making sandwiches” line of humor. Charming, right?
Table No. 5’s menu offered a list of sandwiches named after famous men involved in cases of alleged rape and domestic abuse, including Chris Brown, Bill Cosby, and Mike Tyson (with slight alterations in spelling). The menu seems to be part of a broader marketing strategy based on tired jokes about women’s proper place being in the kitchen, making sandwiches. Table No. 5’s Facebook page boasts a stream of images bearing messages like “Girlfriend ditched you? Come over, we’ll make you a sandwich!” and “Behind every successful man is a woman who made sandwiches for him.” Guys, I cannot roll my eyes hard enough.
After the menu was posted on social media, people began to protest its implicit suggestion that violence against women is somehow supposed to be funny.
The restaurant issued a “clarification” on Facebook, but it only doubles down on the sexism:
In the wake of further criticism, as well as a visit from city officials, the restaurant issued an apology yesterday, promising to change the menu and insisting that Table No. 5 does “NOT endorse rape, domestic violence or anything remotely of the sort! That's just disgusting.”
A representative for the restaurant told BuzzFeed that, although “This whole ‘rapist’ stuff was never our intention,” the restaurant stands by its dedication to sandwich jokes. The rep said, “Will our sandwich jokes also die down? Probably not. That’s all in good fun. Our tagline is our focus, ‘If she won’t make you a sandwich, we will.’”
I don't need to explain why these jokes are offensive, but, misogyny aside, aren't these jokes just kind of ... lame at this point? Really, who actually thinks that "Women should make sandwiches!" is the height of cutting edge humor these days?
Some have accused Table No. 5 of using sexism simply to get attention. Girls at Dhabas, a feminist non-profit dedicated to making public spaces more accessible to women, wrote,
What Table No 5 thinks is a quick and smart strategy to get attention by gas lighting women and feminists is deeply problematic … humour at the expense of an identity that is historically subjugated, is not humour – it is another form of oppression.