Walk into any restaurant in any part of the world, you might notice that the treatment a lady gets is Godly. She is offered a hand, escorted like a queen, her chair drawn and her comfort, given the utmost importance.

If you have ever got your observant glasses out during these outings, I’m sure that you would have realized that the lady is always offered the menu first. She is the choice maker in terms of the water (Sparkling/bottled/regular) and the food to be ordered. She is the one to be questioned by the manager and the head chef on, “How was the food Ma’am?”, “Are you enjoying it?”. She is under the limelight all throughout, in fact, she is the one to whom the server brings the bill folder, ironically without the bill, rather it contains the most sought-after feedback form. After a mind-boggling session of assessing the meal by the lady, the server is excited enough to get his name on the form by her but is never willing to hand over the bill to her.

Why is that so? Are women just worth filling feedback forms and not worth paying bills?

Mahima Makker, an economics undergraduate student from Lady Shri Ram College for Women feels that usually this act of giving the bill to the man is quite unintentional. She mentions that if you ask the server for the bill, he hands it over to the person who asked for it irrespective of whether it was the man or the lady. Though this may be one of the many exceptions. We spoke to a server in one of old Delhi’s famous restaurants, he mentioned, “sometimes for a change we give the bill to the lady but usually it’s given to the man because mostly, men pay the bill and also sometimes I’ve seen instances where men take it to their ego and pride. Thus, myself and almost everywhere the bill is given to the man”.

Though this may seem quite unintentional and something that does not require so much importance to write about, but unfortunately the bitter truth is that it requires all our attention. These small things matter and in fact count up for the bigger things in our society.

The whole problem lies in the fact that it is considered to be “quite normal” while it should not be considered so but rather be questioned, as it showcases and perpetuates gender stereotypes.

All these small things are a result of the general perception that a man should and is capable of paying the bill while a woman is not. These are the effects of the trickle-down theory of gender biases and stereotypes in the superstructure in our society.

The trend these days are on topics such as, “why the woman wants to pay the bill?” and “why I choose to pay my bill?”, these are topics which are quite important as it speaks about how women see themselves financially strong and independent but these are not effective enough to change the mindset of the rest of the people who think otherwise. It is very important that we also understand the other effects of such biased practices.

It is an obligation for a man to pay the bill, to be considered as a Gentleman or failing to do so will lead him to be labelled as dependent on his girl or less manly.

Palak Maheshwari, studying BMMMC at IPCW also adds on to this point that, “in this day and age when women also earn at par with men, it is really unfair to expect only men to pay. It reinforces the idea of men being the sole breadwinners of a family. Also, it takes us backwards in the movement towards equality of the sexes. It puts unfair expectations on men. Feminism, after all, bats for complete equality and also disapproves of elevated expectations that society expects men to meet”.

Simran Chatrath, studying psychology at Amity University feels that “it’s not because of the discrimination as such, but more because the waiter wants to be courteous and female on the other hand are always more patient with the feedback. I’ve seen this so many times that the guys don’t even read what’s written but just tick it for the sake of doing it, while on the other hand the females read, review and write honest comments. Usually, in today’s time, it’s a big deal if a girl pays, it’s either they split or the guy pays, not because they think girls can’t pay but because they just want to be courteous. So according to the waiter, because in maximum cases guys usually pay, the waiter has the idea that maybe the guy will pay in every case.”

As Simran rightly points out that the common perception that guys will pay most of the time needs to be questioned and challenged.

History points out that women were never allowed to earn or earn more as compared to a man. This is because of the fact that money is power and power makes you take your own choices. Clearly, our society never believed in giving woman choices.

Though the scenario in the 21st century has changed significantly with woman rising to power all across the world and leaving no stone unturned, this gives us no reason to settle down. It’s our duty to challenge, question, debate and deliberate on issues at the grass root level so as to make an impact and bring about a change.

Also Read: Vegas Shooting: Is it natural that every partner is responsible for the other’s activity?

Reshma Ganeshbabu is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed in this column are author’s own.

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