Lakmali Hemachandra to Lite FM

Lakmali Hemachandra to Lite FM
2014.02.12

Whoever it may concern, 

This is about the sham of a radio show that you did in the morning. I have a message in my facebook inbox from Danu and Jovi saying they appreciate me coming there and doing the interview. This is my response to them and to whoever is in charge of your station. Please take time to read. 

I think you are well aware of the context of the interview, but for anyone who is reading this I am going to brief you on it. Few weeks back, I was travelling and I was listening to Lite when I heard these two radio DJs talk about which I now know is an article on the Daily Mirror about a few female politicians. I thought the whole segment was done in poor taste and the fact that choosing to make fun of the female politicians was sexist. I also added a comment about a previous joke which I think was made in the same program about Welawatte Central College. Danu and Jovi replied very defensively and said that the segment was not sexist and that they had the freedom to joke about themselves. I disagree. 

However, my letter to you today, is not about that. My interview today, enlightened me to the fact that people, who create opinion like Danu and Jovi, and they do with their constant ramblings about female politicians and all kinds of everything, are generally misinformed, bigoted and highly prejudiced. So this is my final effort to address the issues that should have been raised today without wasting my time and wasting valuable air time, which should be used in your function as the fourth estate, not as court jesters. These are my opinions that should have been given space in your station but thanks to the misogyny and arrogance of your employees was not given. 

Let me first address the issue about my sibling bullying a person named Thushan on the LITE fm page. If you read the comments you can see that I have not bullied him, that in fact he asked me to mind my business in the kitchen and said that I probably do not have a boyfriend and that I am ugly. Lite did not remove the comments or stopped him from saying any of this before my siblings started bullying him. I am not surprised after today any of that happened, Danu is equally sexist and misogynist and people like him would not understand the ABC of bullying after the tirade he went on air. Were my siblings correct to take up bullying as a strategy to counteract against this Thushan? No, they probably thought I was being abused online and wanted to come for my defense. If Thushan is hurt about the bullying he got for his bullying I am truly sorry. However, what ethical right does LITE and its employees have to talk about bullying when they shamelessly orchestrated a whole façade of an interview to yell at me and tell me that I am a man hater, someone who should stay away from politics? Add to that Danu and Jovi did not say a word about Thushan’s sexist comments. Bias, at least should be decently robed not shamelessly flaunted.

Secondly, their question about why I consider Ginger and other female politicians to be politicians. These two were under the impression that it is ok to mock non politicians like Ginger or Ruwanthi Mangala and me. However, the divine right of those who are in power, those who are maintained with public money, and those who make important decisions about everything that concerns us, put them in the highest pedestal and their adventures are not talked about. What drives them to this cowardice? Why cannot Danu and Jovi use the same confidence they used to bully me to actually engage in a useful critique of what happens in this country under the supervision of male politicians? Politics, is not a fancy affair reserved for the ones wearing Louis Vuitton, it also involves normal people like me who vote at elections, people who watch TV and listen to radio looking for information, people who should be in control, but unfortunately are not. Jovi was shocked to hear that both Ginger and President Rajapakse should be considered politicians, I wonder how she makes this classification about who to bully and who not to based on the potential political power. I believe those who rule us should be given more scrutiny than those who as Danu and Jovi themselves claim has no political power whatsoever. Off the record she also asked me whether I would criticize Mr. Mervyn Silva as I them please tell her that I would not flinch before confronting any politician about any abuse of power and any act of sexism and classism they might commit. I do not consider my politics to be any less important than the President or a Minister. 

Lastly, let me educate you as to what sexism and feminism is. Sexism is a social structure that discriminate women against men. In spite of the ignorant comment of Jovi that it happens vice versa as well, as far as I know and as far as most feminists would agree, sexism is committed against women by men and women and tell her that it is not a phenomenon limited to backward countries like Sri Lanka, in fact it is still alive in liberal western countries as well. Sexism is about male privilege which Jovi will understand if she walks around Pettah at 10’o clock in the night in a short skirt, where she would be facing the threat of rape and sexual assault. It is a structure that is embedded in the society, a lesson that is taught to girls and boys from a young age within their families, schools, work places, roads, and every kind of social relationship. Feminism is a political movement and an ideology that believes women should be treated equally as men. What this definition of equality will depend on different feminist thought. I understand it to be advocating non-discrimination based on sex and gender, which is whether a person is female and feminine. Jovi was very reluctant to call me a feminist because she thought it might offend me, but do know that I wear it as a banner of honour, that I am a human being who does not discriminate based on sex and gender, that I do not have a problem with women being paid the same wages and boys crying. Another point that Danu was trying to make was that I am only talking about female politicians because I actually hate men, that I am a man hater. How dare he? Women should not be called these ridiculous names when they try to take on sexism and advocate equality. For him to insult me, and call me a person who hates anyone is the height of male arrogance. In his misogynist universe women who advocate equality and non-discrimination might be considered man haters, however fortunately he is not the only prototype of men and there are plenty of other men who are ready to accept women to be as strong, as capable as them, who would cut their tongues off before calling a feminist a man hater and I feel privileged more than ever to know them. 

Let me conclude, with a reference to what Danu added about the function of the media. He claimed that media notices what catches the attention of the public and highlights it like they did with the Daily Mirror article and said that it is their job as journalists to do that. This is a completely shallow idea about media, the task of media is to inform the public, to generate opinions that would cause social progress, not regress and therefore I think media has the moral obligation to represent the right opinion, the right political opinion, and the non-sexist opinion. Your inability to listen, to engage, to build dialogue does not reflect positively on democracy. If media like you consider public space to be your private property, your exclusive privilege and allow people like Danu and Jovi to talk blatant and obvious nonsense you are violating my public space. Danu was so loud today; he was practically yelling at me and interrupting me with the most idiotic arguments. He must think that women can be silenced and intimidated. Let him know that, women encounter sexism every day, everywhere and even though he is definitely the loudest and the most idiotic expression of sexism I have encountered, he is certainly not the first nor will he be the last and I am still standing and still talking, not as loud as him or not as rude as him but definitely braver than him and smarter than him. Thank you! 

Lakmali Hemachandra

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