Singapore—As one woman put it, “THE QUEEN Mdm President Halimah does a *mic drop* and basically said, BOY SIT DOWN.”
Netizen Syazana Yahya took to Facebook to praise and thank Madam Halimah for wading into the fray brought on by a podcast, which showed decidedly misogynistic attitudes among the three men who were hosting it.
The President of Singapore ordered the podcasters to apologize for their attitudes in no uncertain terms, writing on Sunday in a Facebook post that Covid-19 has been hard on women, with rising rates of violence against them in country after country. She called for the education of men from early boyhood onward to prevent internalizing misogyny and affirmed that every woman has a right to be respected and valued.
And then she named names.
“Taking cheap pot shots at women to boost ratings or to make some people laugh no matter how offensive, cannot be justified under any label be it freedom of speech or encouraging conversations. How do you encourage healthy conversations about the role of women and families, when your starting point is to degrade women.
Hence, the Podcast OkLetsGo should sincerely and humbly apologise to all women for their offensive, humiliating and misogynistic remarks on their podcasts about women. I received so many emails from very concerned people. They worry about the kind of values that are being promoted among the young, and their concerns are justified.”
COVID-19 brought about terrible consequences for many women around the world. The incidence of violence against women,…
OKLETSGO (OLG) is hosted by Dzar Ismail, Dyn Norahim and Raja Razie, all of whom are former DJs. The show had been on the receiving end of complaints, many of which came from women, especially in the last few days, after the hosts made demeaning and sexualized comments about a guest on the show, a transgender sex worker.
One woman, @Anygalien, tweeted, “I dislike OLG because they remind me of the Malay men in my life and environment who casually dehumanise and sexualise women and brush it off as jokes. Having that normalised and aired to the Malay masses does enable/shape the current and next generation of Malay men.”
Aware Singapore wrote in a Facebook post, “Talking on air about your favourite female body parts (vis-à-vis sexual positions) is textbook sexual objectification. Telling a female guest that you can’t pay attention to what she’s saying because her cleavage is too distracting is not only objectification, it’s sexual harassment. Declaring how much you “love young girls” is borderline paedophiliac and invites listeners to sexualise young girls.”
While OLG has deflected criticism, the podcasters overtly apologized after Mdm Halimah called them out. Previous to this, they had only acknowledged a need for improvement.
Their tone took a change on Monday, June 15. In a statement, OLG wrote, “We woke up this morning to see the message from our President, Halimah Yacob, calling for us to apologize. Many others have also reached out to us expressing their concerns about our content.
We reflected on this more, and we are truly sorry it took us this long to realize the extent of hurt that we have caused. Thank you, Madam President and respected individuals/groups for amplifying the voices of those who have been hurting, and we take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to all our listeners who we have hurt with our words and content.”
Syazana Yahya wrote elatedly, “Shortly after OLG’s lame Podcast was released, THE QUEEN Mdm President Halimah does a *mic drop* and basically said, BOY SIT DOWN. She called OLG out for their misogynistic content and asked them to apologise. The Mufti of Singapore then chimed in calling on the community to respect women ending off with a classy #OkLetsRespect hashtag. Mainstream media woke up from their weekend nap and started to report about this.”
She added that she believed people had been afraid to call the podcasters out as their critics had been “DOXXED, STALKED AND/OR SLUT-SHAMED not only by the OLG supporters but by the OLG guys themselves.”
However, Mdm Halimah’s post changed this. “Mdm President’s Facebook post removed that climate of fear, making it socially acceptable and safe for women and men to take a stand against them.
This is a win in the larger fight against misogyny.”
Many women flocked to Mdm Halimah’s wall to thank her.