Media, Misogyny and the President

by Jeraldine Pascual

NOW ALMOST halfway through his term, Rodrigo Duterte continues to behave like a dirty old man (DOM), offending with sexist remarks and misogynistic behavior in public. The following are some of the most outrageous tirades against women in 2018:
These incidents all happened during public events and were recorded live. News reports later picked these up with little criticism, quoting whatever was said or done without any discernment. Misogyny is deeply-entrenched in Philippine society. Objectification, slut-shaming, sexual harassment, rape and violence against women continue to happen in different settings. Many continue to laugh at Duterte’s lewdest jokes during his public appearances. His allies and supporters — some of them women — seem to relish this brand of humor and are the first to defend, condone or excuse his behavior. Apparently, the media themselves have a shallow understanding of the corrosive impact of the president’s machismo on the progress made by women’s groups to promote a more pluralistic and inclusive outlook that will accept women as equals in society. Such continued coverage will further endanger women in the country, in the streets, in public transport, in their work place and at home,making them vulnerable to rape, domestic violence and sexual harassment. As the leader of the country, he would encourage others to think that this is acceptable behavior. Enough media time has been given to this horrific aspect of his leadership. It’s time to think about how to end this blind and silent coverage. Media should make an effort to build up an ethical audit that will help formulate the appropriate way to report misogyny in action in the high office of the president. Let’s do this before misogyny gains even more ground and make women even more vulnerable.