RECENTLY, Red FM conducted a video interview for FHM ‘s Girls Next Door competition. The video was, in my opinion, sexist and explicitly derogatory towards women. I have tried contacting both the radio station and the magazine but to no avail. I left comments on their YouTube and Facebook accounts, and even tried emailing the radio station. My comments have been deleted, and my emails to Red FM have bounced. FHM has also banned me from their Facebook page. Neither party seems interested in acknowledging or responding to my complaints.
I understand FHM ‘s image as a plastic softcore porn magazine, but it should not be the prerogative of a public radio station like Red FM to sexualise women in this manner. It’s no wonder that women’s rights in Malaysia are in such a state. The following is the email that I tried sending to Red FM.
Dear Red FM,
I am writing to you with regard to your FHM Girl Next Door interview, which was uploaded on Youtube. I had left a comment as “starranise”, but since I did not receive a response and my comment has been deleted, I am making it a point to email you to make sure that my message comes across clearly.
Earlier, I had a friend who joined the competition, and I had asked DJ Jeremy if Red FM would be kind enough to organise a phone interview with her as she would not be in KL for your video interview. He complied, and I was very appreciative of this. However, upon watching the online video, I was quite relieved that my friend did not make the interview after all.
I understand that it is FHM ‘s way to subject these women to their lame stereotypes, but I fail to understand why Red FM had to play along. I should think that DJ Han would have known better than to treat these women so appallingly. It wasn’t just that he had asked them to dance or crawl on the table. What shocked me most was that he provided vegetables to the contestants and asked them which vegetable “satisfies them most”, as a kind of “personality test”. Was DJ Han implying that you are what you put in your vagina? I would like to know who approved this idea.
The video horrified me. Women don’t do that to men, do they? Ask men what fruit or vegetable they would like to insert or have inserted into their privates, and then post it on the internet? These girls have jobs and families. Would Red FM take responsibility for the repercussions? Or is this just competition procedure?
I am not a prude, but surely many people would agree with me that this behaviour is uncalled for. These women were put on the spot and made to answer your DJ’s questions. Sexual harassment is a serious offence. I strongly urge that Red FM apologise to the FHM girls, your female staff, as well as to your listeners for objectifying these poor women.
Maybe I will be the only person to complain. Maybe the girls in FHM Girls Next Door will defend you and say you were “just joking”. But you are a radio station. You are the voice of our nation. Ours is a nation where women have been caned for having illicit sex and drinking beer, or have suffered various forms of sexual abuse. These are instances that many good, hardworking people are struggling to reverse.
I would have expected your radio station to help set the bar in propagating the rights of women in Malaysia, but I was mistaken. The media has a long history of impacting on the self-esteem of women. You took a few steps backwards and made me, a woman, have a good, hard think about how even educated Malaysian men regard women.
I’ve experienced verbal sexual harassment many a time in my life. I just didn’t think that a radio station would stoop so low in this day and age. It’s such a rookie mistake.
Does Red FM care about Malaysia’s women? This incident has made me wonder. It is my sincerest hope that your station will make the proper amends to those you have offended.
14 January 2011