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  • Published in Opinion
Nyotaimori

A new type of sushi restaurant is opening in London. The plates are human beings, naked human beings who lie silently for the amusement of diners. There are of course no men being turned into household objects, that degradation is reserved for women.

“It's nothing like a strip club or nothing along those lines” say founder Nigel Carlos, but if that’s the case then why are the only naked people in the room women who have been paid to be naked and why do they have to be “basically beautiful girls”?

Our society will never have equality whilst this kind of ‘entertainment’ takes place. Women have fought to free themselves from the kitchen only to be turned into a mute, disposable kitchen objects. Forget being a rose in a man’s lapel, now we are being told to be a worthless serving dish for him to eat his dinner off. This is not ‘classy’ or sophisticated, its old fashioned sexism that says that women are less valuable than men.

To partake in the Flash Sushi experience costs £250 per person, it would be interesting to find out how much the women are being paid in relation to what Carlos takes home, and to know what complaints procedure he has in place for instances of sexual assault. One thing is for sure, he is not worried about the recession affecting business. “It doesn't impact the high net worth individuals, if anything some people are getting richer during the recession.” Would any of these ‘high net worth individuals’ be plates, or have their wives or daughters be plates?

The diners are going to be the super rich and the women will be poor. Carlos is probably also happy at the recession because it means that there are more desperate women who will subjugate themselves to this humiliation. Women are being disproportionately badly hit by the recession - they are targeted by employers seeking to avoid the costs of flexible working rights and longer maternity leave; are often in casual work and often have to bear the brunt of economic hardship within family units.

People might recognise the practise of being a naked sushi plate from the recent Sex and The City film, however the sushi scene in the film illustrates how different this is from what Carlos is selling. The character Samantha makes herself a plate by choice, does it for someone she wants to do it for, someone whom she doesn't have to take any abuse from and she definitely is not being paid! It’s totally different to what is happening here - the reduction of a woman to a disposable, mute, household item for rich people to eat off.

In addition, the sushi scene in SATC is a turning point in the movie where Samantha realises that she has made a huge mistake in giving up her life & subjugating her own needs to those of her partners. It’s when she makes herself a plate that she realises how ridiculous her life has become, eats the sushi herself, packs her bags and heads back to her life in NYC.

Like other strip clubs Flash Sushi is not about sex, it’s about power, it’s about men feeling like they are powerful enough to own another human being and to make them do whatever they please.

Women have fought too long and too hard to let this kind of backward practise take place. We are not objects we are not owned. Forget Flash Sushi - anyone for Smash Sushi?

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