MANILA, Philippines – A women's group is criticizing entertainment columnist and talk show host Cristy Fermin for issuing “sexist statements which condone abuse of women.”
Jean Enriquez, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), slammed Fermin for making statements on her television show that purportedly dignified harassers and maligned lesbians.
The target of the group’s ire was these 2 remarks from Fermin:
· "...dalawang lalaking personalidad lang ang parang pinapayagan ng publiko na maging ‘matulis.’ Si Rico J. Puno lang atsaka si Willie [Revillame]. Pag sila ang nag-deliver para bang malaking karangalan mo pag mabastos ka.”
· "(Aiza) Seguerra should not talk about morality as she lives an immoral life.”
Enriquez said: “The first justifies sexual harassment when done by certain individuals. Is there a worse way of humiliating women than by dignifying harassers?”
She also blasted the impression that it is okay to harass women, or even children, “as long as one is able to 'deliver it well' ala-Rico J. or Willie R.”
Puno and Revillame are 2 personalities who are well-known for their double-meaning jokes.
That episode of the show has been uploaded on YouTube and now a hot topic in Twitterverse.
As for Fermin’s other statement which alluded to the sexual preference of former child actress Seguerra, who has a non-showbiz girlfriend, Enriquez said it “maligns lesbians as immoral.”
“Homophobia and stigmatization of lesbians is also a form of gender-based violence,” she said. “Both [statements] are appallingly, terribly sexist statements which condone abuse of women.”
Furthermore, she said her women friends have asked her why Fermin was even allowed to say them on air.
She criticized both media outfits and advertisers for allegedly capitalizing on the sexual objectification of women and children. She cited a controversy involving a 6-year-old boy that impersonated the body movements of a macho dancer on “Willing Willie.”
“Media has long played a critical role in objectifying women, including children as shown by the now controversial episode of Willie Revillame's program, and this has led to the normalization of abuse against us,” she said.
She is calling on civil groups to join ranks and demand a more responsible and gender-sensitive mass media.
“It is high time that we talk about the role of media in stereotyping, sexualizing and justifying abuses and violence against women and children,” she said.
Meanwhile, she also lauded some artists who spoke out against these forms of abuse.