The ugly reality of rape culture is that you'll find it in the most unexpected places. You might think the problem lies in lack of education, patriarchal mindsets but you might chance upon it in the most swanky posh places which the politically and socially aware elite frequent.
Facebook user Anoushka Kapoor was as shocked and repelled as you will be by this 'joke' that Lemon Tree, an upmarket luxury hotel in Bengaluru had put up in one of their bathroom stalls.
This joke is just sick on so many levels.
Does a woman deserve to be mauled by a beast because in the past she dared to say no to sex with her husband, citing a headache? Are a person's sexual desires foremost priority over the other's health or comfort, consent be damned? Just because two people are in a marriage, does a woman have no business refusing her partner sex? Also, is her role in the marriage all about giving her partner sexual gratification? Marital rape in India is STILL not illegal. The hotel has really outdone itself, upholding marital abuse, rape, sexual objectification and ignorance about consent all in one 'joke'.
Anoushka has expressed her disgust in her Facebook post that she put up.
When contacted, the Lemon Tree Hotel had this very informational piece to say,
Lemon Tree Hotels have a colourful ambience. We have many brand equities-through them our endevour is to bring about freshness and fun be it the signature lemon fragrance in the public areas, the vibrant stain glass danglers in the lobby or the contemporary canvases made by amatuer artists and the Bastar art that we source from the villages of Chattisgarh. We do many fun things as well, like having a dog mascot in all hotels. We adopt a dog which the hotel teams look after, feed and enoculate. We even quirkily name him and give him a role. Amongst the fun elements are also our fun mats that are tablemats with fun jokes in the coffee shop and jokes on the wall. These are so placed to bring a smile on the faces of our guests. Sometimes a person may not like a joke. We are continuously looking at the content of our jokes. When such a joke comes to our notice we immediately remove it from our spaces. We are a socially responsible company and our intention is not to mortify anybody of any colour, creed, class or gender.
While we had always wondered about their 'signature lemon fragrance' and where exactly they get their Bastar art from, nowhere did we trace any sort of an apology. Obviously according to them, that joke is just another 'fun element' in their hotel.
Clearly the misogynistic mindset is so deeply ingrained, people fail to recognise or stubbornly won't try to understand how exactly that joke is offensive to a woman or anybody for that matter.
I feel I would've been insulted by this particular joke regardless of my gender. But as a woman, I feel all jokes today are targeted towards my kind. This was the last straw.
Here is a difference between being 'butt hurt' about a joke and drawing a line between acceptable jokes and outright misogyny. I feel we should create a stink about even the slightest of incidents in bad taste, which is why I felt the need to share this with the world.
We have a long, long way to go.