Mudslinging, curses, and insults are an unfortunate part of politics. Especially in the age of social media in which everyone with a Twitter account can make public their vilest thoughts.
Both sides of the political divide are guilty of this.
But Thailand has witnessed a pattern of gender-based insults since the PDRC (People’s Democratic Reform Committee) took to the street against the Yingluck Shinawatra government in 2014. Even the people who claimed to be “good,” “educated,” and of society’s “upper-crust,” they hurled insults of “whores” and “sluts’ ‘ at her, which has nothing to do with politics.
Likewise, the student protests today suffered from many degradations. But if you are females, the mudslinging goes far beyond political differences. The curses and insults they used are the most degrading form of gender-based humiliation in the Thai culture.
It doesn’t matter if student protestors are underaged children.
“It’s not just Thai conservatives. It’s conservatives in any country,” said Busayapa Srisompong, a human rights lawyer and founder of SHero, a non-profit organization that helps women who have suffered from domestic violence.
Busayapa explained that people with conservative values place women in a private sphere and men in a public sphere. In other words, women are supposed to stay in the kitchen while men go out to work.
This is the patriarchy system. If a woman steps into the public sphere and does something “unwomanly,” such as speaking out, taking a stance, or changing the norm, conservative people would likely use gender-based insults to degrade her.
“Even in developed countries, people still do this,” said Busayapa.
According to her, Thailand is undergoing rapid changes. Therefore, those who adhere to conservative traditions are more reactionary than ever in using gender stereotypes to judge and dismiss the changes that threaten their values.
“Conservative Thais assume that women should be ladies, act in a certain way, and stay at home. Be modest and quiet,” she said.
“If a woman doesn’t fit their gender view, immediately they see her as a bitch, or an evil woman.”
According to Busayapa, this prevailing cultural perspective is because conservatives do not believe women have equal dignity to men.
“To put it simply, if a woman doesn’t conform to the gender stereotype, she will be shunned and degraded. Especially in this political movement, it angers them, even more, to see women and young girls standing up and speaking out for their rights.”
Here are some examples.
“The people coming to Sanam Luang on the 19th, a portion of whom might be to buy services.” [To buy services is to buy prostitutes.]
“Bad children ask for freedom, free sex. Ask not to have a father. It’s okay, just stand behind the mall and next to the pole. Free sex, as you wish, stop your itching.” [This post implies rape.]
“Don’t wear a uniform and carry books to school. Dress like a slut to protest. Clothes, hair, breasts, no worries. Protest like bad students.”
“Lay down and spread your X at home. Don’t go to school. Damn, children!”
“Get your condoms ready. So many contagious diseases.”
“Your mouth demands the stop of harassment and rape. In truth, you just want to give it away for free.”
“Really afraid of the 19 September protest. Afraid that the children and student mobs will do a live sex show on stage.”
“Don’t want to go to school. Don’t want to wear a uniform. But want to wear a student uniform when selling X because you can get a higher price. Just quit school and open a whore house, you X.”
“If you get pregnant, would you know who the father is?”