‘Wench’ is a derogatory word

Dear Editor,
As Guyana continues to witness increasing levels of violence against women and girls, we read of an ‘Ole British Pub’ in the new Giftland  Mall.

The Stabroek News of Friday, December 21 reports that Messrs Roy Beepat and Bobby Prashad are joining forces to bring to deserving Guyanese a British Pub Experience. To complete this experience we are told “Lovely lasses will be dressed in traditional wenches outfits to complete that ‘Ole British Pub‘ effect.”

Wench is a word derogatorily used by many who might have frequented some of those ‘old British pubs’ to refer to the women who served in them. The word ‘wench’ of course is different from ‘lady’ – in some usages referring to ‘promiscuous’ women or prostitutes. At the time when there is a debate about dress and rape, it is ironic that these two business men seem to want to feed into a culture of ‘enticement’ so the pub experience will not only include the food and drink, but lusting after lovely lasses as wenches?
Messrs Beepat and Prashad, whose ancestors would most likely have been forbidden from entering some of those same Ole British Pubs no doubt think that they are doing a good thing for Guyana up at Liliendaal there, to endorse an ugly history of misogyny in 21st century Guyana.

One wonders whether those other establishments who are going to be in the Mall would endorse that kind of discrimination.
It is a tragedy that our private sector cannot reject the sexism in their advertising and marketing, in the way in which they envision their services. It is a shame that the private sector seems loathe to contribute to changing the society so that all women and men could achieve their potential free from discrimination and violence.

Yours sincerely
Vidyaratha Kissoon

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