The Hindu god images in House of Yes’ VIP bathroom are all gone, and it’s thanks to an Indian-American patron who wrote to the owners.
In a post on Brown Girl Magazine, Ankita Mishra, was out for the night at Bushwick’s House of Yes when she had to go to the bathroom. She went to the VIP bathroom and saw a ton of different Hindu deities and felt… confused.
She emailed House of Yes and explained why having Hindu gods in a bathroom, is disrespectful, especially when cleanliness and holiness is important in the religion.
Mishra also shared her frustration with the co-opting of South Asian cultures and religions for Western consumption. She elaborated in her email:
“Hindu, Buddhist and South Asian culture continues to constantly be exploited through Western capitalism in the name of spiritual awakening and sexual exploration. Our culture is not a ticket to your self-discovery. India was under colonial rule for 200 years and I, frankly, am tired of how uneducated America seems to be about that. Do you think you would even be in that yoga class if it hadn’t been perfectly packaged for you to consume?”
House of Yes posted a statement on Facebook announcing that they said it was important for them to
“We take full responsibility for making this ignorant decor choice. We are deeply sorry for not taking the time to fully understand and research the deep history of the culture that inspired us aesthetically, and we feel awful that our Hindu patrons had to experience this type of cultural disrespect – at House of Yes of all places.”
In their letter to Mishra, Kae Burke the co-founder and creative director at House of Yes responded explaining that she thought out the deity bathroom and that the venue was going to redo it as soon as possible.
“I am sorry for not taking the time to fully understand and research the deep history of the culture I was inspired by before using it to decorate. I feel awful that you had to experience this type of cultural disrespect at House of Yes of all places,” Burke said in the letter.
According to their Facebook post, House of Yes has currently covered up the imagery in the bathroom and are looking forward to hearing any suggestions patrons may have for redecorating.
Cover photo courtesy of Jose Luis Sanchez Pereyra