Ah-hem- to all men in particular- exit this page now if you don’t want to hear some home truths about Nepal and men.
Since being with R, I’ve noticed how there’s a real divide in the way women and men socialise in Nepalese culture.
In Australia, groups of friends, comprising men and women, go out everywhere in public together- to restaurants, bars, parties, sporting events and even do road trips.
For R, he seems to find it quite strange that when my girlfriends invite me somewhere, they always invite Rabindra too, and there will be lots of couples out together.
He explained that in Nepalese culture, women and men don’t socialise much together- boys go to bars where there are rarely ever women there; and even when going out to a restaurant, their wives/girlfriends will usually not join them.
I think the exceptions are for things like anniversaries and weddings or having your friend and his wife over for dinner one night.
At first, it bothered me that I was never invited out with Rabindra. But then I realised it was because I would be the only girl there which would be uncomfortable for me anyway especially around lots of men drinking in a foreign language (fun much…I think not).
I don’t have a problem with it now especially as Rabindra is getting used to the whole idea of men and women socialising together.
I’ve touched on this topic vaguely in my post “Being a woman in Nepal”
Recently, Rabindra and I were invited to his friend’s house with 5 guys and I was the only girl there because R’s friend’s wife was at work.
They encouraged me to drink and we all ended up doing shots, playing drinking games and having fun until the wee hours of the morning (although I stopped drinking a lot earlier than them!)
Then, with the same friends this week, Rabindra went over and they drank again, this time I couldn’t go cause I had charity meetings that night.
He told me that he felt sorry for his friend’s wife who was at home and wanted to hang out with them while they were all drinking, but she couldn’t because it would be deemed “bad” according to their culture. (She was not necessarily told by the boys she couldn’t take part but because she knew it would reflect badly on her husband).
I was shocked because just the other week, I was there drinking with them, breaking the boys’ club rules, not on my own accord but because they invited me.
When I asked R why, he said “coz in Nepal women shouldn’t do that- they serve the food but they don’t take part in the fun and drinking. Unfortunately that’s the way it is.”
R told me, “it’s different for you though because you’re not Nepalese”.
I’m not a feminist in the extreme sense at all, but this totally sat wrong with me.
It’s discrimination. It’s double standards. It’s the stupid boys’ club rules that made her feel alone that night.
Sometimes I’m not proud to be a white person. There’s a lot of greed, racism and suppression in the world against blacks/browns and white people are the cause of it.
But on this night, I felt proud to have white skin. Not because I got treated as one of the guys, but because in Australia, well for the most part, women are treated with equality and respect.
There are rarely double standards and we are not expected to act a certain way because we are women.
We have rights and that’s the way it should be.
We are given the same wage for the same job, girls will not be given leftover scrap food and precious baby girls are showered with as much love as baby boys.
I felt sorry for my friend’s wife. All I wanted to do was hug her and say “it’s just the way it is in Nepali culture- don’t get too upset about it. At the end of the day your husband treats you with love and respect.”
But I also know that even though it’s the way it is in their culture, it’s not fair and I can’t stop thinking about it.
What do you think about the boys’ club?