Tue, Sep 30, 2014 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Say no to sexist, racist ads

I would like to bring to your attention a controversial commercial made by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) titled Planting Seeds of Hope.

In the commercial, a number of young people — presumably actors — were asked: “What would you do if you were rich like Lien?” and one of them proudly answers: “I would get myself some blonde chicks.”

That this blatant sexism and racism was approved by a mayoral hopeful from the ruling party, who received a law degree from Columbia University, is shocking.

This commercial exhibits sexism by materializing women as purchasable objects. It is implied in the message that women are priced items — the depth of a man’s pocket will determine his chances of succeeding with women.

Taiwan and many other societies in the world have come a long way to eliminate such discrimination against women, but there is still much room for improvement. It is an irresponsible and insulting act to joke about and fortify such chauvinism.

In addition, the approved message also contains racist connotations that are easily observable and widely discussed in Taiwan:

First is that blonde women of any ethnic background are especially susceptible to the paradigm of attraction to wealth.

Second is that as a man’s financial and social status rises, he should be encouraged to associate with women who reflect his status. The choice of woman is based on a twisted racial hierarchy, suggesting that other ethnicities, including Taiwanese, are inferior to “natural” blondes.

Despite the advances of modern civilizations, racial discrimination is still ubiquitously and publicly displayed in Taiwan’s patriarchal society.

Expatriates are often stereotyped to be unknowledgeable of the nation’s language and customs, promiscuous and arrogant, without any attempt to assess them on an individual basis.

This approved message publicly and officially reinforces the idea that “blonde chicks” are a prize to be won, one that can be easily or solely achieved by obtaining an enormous amount of wealth.

Regardless of hair color, women deserve to be treated equally and as respectfully as any other member of society. Women are neither animals to be preyed upon nor items to be fantasized over. Unfortunately, the commercial serves to reflect the existence of certain repulsive members of society.

Taiwan does not wish to see a replication of those terrible sexually violent incidents that took place in India, and it is extremely unethical for Lien’s campaign team to capitalize on discrimination against women for political gain.

Therefore, I write this letter to voice the concerns of friends and families of women and the good-natured people of the world who embrace the universal value of equality.

Eric Du

Taipei

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