Malaysian producers must stop making gender discriminating films

Malaysian producers must stop making gender discriminating films
Zan Azlee finds a problem with a majority of films produced in the Malaysian mainstream industry that discriminate against women. - File Photo
I don’t allow my daughter to watch a majority of Malay dramas and movies because I think they are a bad influence for her as a girl and as a human being.

She is at a very impressionable age right now and I don’t want her perspective on life to be tainted by what she would see on the idiot box or the silver screen.

This is something that I think and discuss about with my family and friends and overall, they agreed that that this was a wise decision to make.

Let me explain using this simple yet true example.

“Abah, why is everyone always shouting and fighting on TV,” asked the daughter of a very close family friend.

“Let’s turn off the television, okay?” her father responded.
I don’t like the fact that so many Malay dramas have been consistently portraying internal family feud, divorce, rape, degrading of women and worship material wealth.

A case in point:  The movie titled, “Suami Aku Ustaz” has received numerous brickbats and bashing from the media for being utterly degrading to the fairer sex. What’s even more shocking is the underlying message seemed to condone the act of pedophile.

I recently spoke to sex educator, June Low, who had publicly criticised the movie on her Facebook page. Her posting was widely picked up by the media.

She explained that the movie tells the story of a young girl in secondary school who is forced to marry her cousin, an ustaz (religious teacher) because her parents will be performing their hajj for some time.

“She is only 17 … she has loudly expressed her unwillingness to marry. But she has to anyway and I have a problem with that,” said June.

“It shows child marriage in a positive and favourable light when in actuality it is illegal.”

I have to agree with her because I feel that Malaysia just has too many cases where adults commit rape against underage children and at most times, most of the sex offenders get away scot-free.

What is ever more despicable is the fact that they get away with it as the authorities or even the children’s guardians, seemed to think that the best solution is to marry them off.

And religion is always used as an excuse because, apparently, once they were married, they would not commit premarital sex.

To hell with the fact that the underage child forced to get married would be mentally tortured and have her whole life stunted, for making a decision out of her will.

Veteran entertainment journalist and Astro AWANI Digital editor, Muzaffar Mustapa, stressed that this is a recurring problem in the Malaysian mainstream film industry.

That quality supersedes quantity in the present crop of Malay productions that have flooded Malaysian cinemadome, leaves a rather bitter aftertaste among many filmgoers here.

“The quality of a film no longer plays a role. The box-office takings will dictate the success of a film. This is formulaic and the cycle will just continue,” he said.

And this is what I’m worried about because Malaysia will never come out of this archaic thinking that is actually decaying the progress of our society.

“You know what would be a good idea for a movie? If it told the story of a strong and independent woman trying to make her way in a society that wants her to become the total opposite,” said June.

Now … this would be a movie I would gladly allow my daughter to watch.