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Thai media and a misrepresentation have come together since a long time ago, some might think it’s not that serious and feel accustomed to it because it can be regularly seen in almost every kind of Thai media text. Therefore, Thai audiences seem to have less awareness and recognition of the misrepresentation. 

In this blog, it exposes the regular media texts e.g. soap operas and programs full of misrepresentations on various affairs that most audiences are familiar with but never think of them as misrepresenting, including impacts the media misrepresentations have brought to the society.

Gender

Referring to a gender representation that has always been represented in Thai media, we cannot deny that the representation based on ‘male gaze theory’ can be seen often in Thai media since a long time ago especially throughout a soap opera. 

The soap opera Thais mostly familiar with, frequently insert the ‘male gaze’ concept audience was never aware of until a few years ago that people seemed to have more awareness of various matters including media consumption.

A male gaze concept throughout the soap opera generally represents in a form of male characters having power over women especially, in term of sexuality, e.g. seeing women as sex objects.

Initially, most Thai soap operas consist of a story in which female characters want to become the one who a male protagonist loves.

Moreover, the male protagonist normally would ever be in a relationship with a female character, sometimes as a couple or sometimes as a sex partner, then the male protagonist finally would break up with the woman, falling in love with a female protagonist, and the female character who has been rejected must keep provoking and harassing them because of him.

Considering this kind of story through the lens of the ‘male gaze’, we would see how men think of themselves and women that the women want to appease and cannot live without men. 

Furthermore, what even worse that has been represented through the Thai soap operas is scenes of rape, sexual and physical violence against women mostly coming from the male protagonist towards the female protagonist, that eventually, they would love each other, living together ever after and the male protagonist would never receive a legal punishment accoring to his sexual harassment action.

There were several examples, a famous one people are still discussing and remembering is ‘SawanBiang’

A story of a male protagonist wanting to take revenge on a female protagonist’s older sister but cannot, so he put all his resentment towards her instead. The story consists of kidnapping, false imprisonment and rape while the male protagonist doesn’t receive any legal punishment but ends up loving and living happily with the female protagonist instead.

The soap opera reproduced a representation of women throughout the media that women would always be under the power of men so that men can do whatever to women because the women would finally acquiesce to them anyway.

Another example of Thai soap opera’s misrepresentation of women is ‘MiaJumpen’, a drama from 2021. There was a scene of a female protagonist was kidnapped, almost got raped and blackmailed but a male protagonist came to help her in time. However, the drama had been criticized a lot because of the male protagonist’s reaction towards the female protagonist because he thought that she had been raped and couldn’t accept it.

The scene brought hashtags of #แบนเมียจําเป็น (ban Mia Jum Pen) and #ข่มขืนผ่านจอพอกันที (Enough with rape scenes on screen) to be on no.1 and 2 trends on Twitter.

The audience stated that this kind of story should have been removed from Thai media since it reproduced and stressed a norm of victim blaming including a norm of measuring the worth of women from their virginity.

Nowadays, Thai media and people in society have been more aware of social issues than in the past. There are more discussions between the audience and forthright criticizing media producers according to their inappropriate media texts. Therefore, we would see less inappropriate media texts recently since the audience are now extremely active. 

Although some of the media texts might lack sufficient deliberation, it would automatically receive a backlash from the audience due to its own mistake, establishing a good impact to both Thai media industry and Thai society so that both of them can be improved in the future.

From Kapook.com เมียจำเป็น(2021), สวรรค์เบี่ยง (2008)

Socio-economic grouping

As you can see from the past, Thai media are limited and provide memorable pictures about the leading actor-actress to see all the time. It often has to be a very rich leading actor and a very poor leading actress. The leading actor has a big house, a luxurious car, and has a social status. The picture of the leading actress is living in a small house, wearing old clothes, growing up in a slum society and giving. The image of slum society is bad. For example, in F4 Thailand, it can be seen that their social standings are completely different. Getting to know each other is like seeing a life you’ve never even seen. Goya is a grade 11 girl. Her family is poor. She pushed the exam to a famous luxury school. She has interfered with Time(F4), a group of seniors in Grade 12 in school, known to everyone as F4. They are the most handsome boys of tens of billions of business owners. They were the four most radiant and influential men in the school, all staring at them. In fact, they secretly set themselves up as thugs in the school and ready to violently harass anyone who blocks their sight.

Another one is เขาวานหนูให้เป็นสายลับ (he invites me to become a spy). It’s reflecting the image of the slum for the audience to see that there are only bad things. The leading actress’s mother often gambled in small casinos in the midst of the slums, until the police came to arrest them and many stories formed that reflected the way people lived in these slums. What is media representation? It doesn’t mean that real life will always be like this, but it makes people remember those images and that group was already judged.

From Kapook.com เขาวานหนูให้เป็นสายลับ,F4 THAILAND (2021)

Disability

Nowadays, most Thai programs are about debt relief programs for people who are unable to do anything on their own or with disabilities.  or programs that provide knowledge, content, content about people with disabilities  suitable for people with disabilities and will bring knowledge Information that has been seen and heard  as a concept to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities according to the role model of people with disabilities. Such as, Mic On Debt Off (ไมค์หมดหนี้) it is a TV program in the category of singing contest of country songs mixed with game shows. So, that people who would like to have the opportunity to pay off their own debts or bring this capital to set up and continue working. Details of this program will allow 2 contestants to compete in the country song contest(เพลงลูกทุ่ง) , 1 song each, with 3 judges as judges. If any contestant has a decision from the judges of 2 out of 3 people or all 3 people, that contestant will win immediately and entered the jackpot round  by the losing challenger eliminated will receive a prize money of 5,000 baht to take home.

From Facebook:ไมค์หมดหนี้ (2019)
From Facebook: รายการตะลุยสิบทิศ (2010)

The another program is Dabble in ten directions ( รายการตะลุยสิบทิศ ) in this program like to present stories of people with disabilities. Including guidelines for promoting and supporting the disabled by various organizations. So, that the disabled can be self-reliant without relying on anyone, both in the form of activities to promote education and improve the quality of life of the disabled, and the creation of innovative media, technology and facilities. Various facilitations to help restore or develop the capacity of people with disabilities to lead life to their full potential and have a better quality of life.  In addition, the program also includes content that promotes better understanding between people with disabilities and the general public so that society accepts and provides opportunities for people with disabilities.

Impact

An impact of the representation of the media based on socio-economic grouping, disability and male gaze theory from the mention above can infer that the visual or audio or content of the series expressed in media connected to patriarchy, a social system in which males are dominant and dominant roles in political leadership. moral authority, social privilege, and asset control. Despite the fact that all people deserve equal rights and should not be portrayed negatively or underestimated by women. especially a positive impact that the media representation base on disability, that Thai TV shows or Thai madia conveys the image and role of the disabled in a way that is beneficial to society, education and career. in addition, the media also creates an image of self-worth in people with disabilities, and also serves to educate people with disabilities to understand each other better, making the society a respected society. The right to human opinion and social discrimination or verbal or thought threats between normal people towards people with disabilities will decrease. Also, according to the male gaze theory, the Thai media portrays women as subservient to men, using violence against women and portraying a man character raping a female character. Women are viewed as weak and subjugated by men in society. which also relates to patriarchy. The fact that Thai TV shows feature males raping women informs society that women are always victims of men’s acts. which the media disseminates to society to regard women as inferior. So encouraging Twitter users to create anti-hashtags promotes positive social change. People are better informed and aware of the importance of protecting children and women from domestic abuse.  Thai media must safeguard women from direct or indirect harassment and enhance human rights. It should instill the belief that women are capable, educated, and capable of leadership. As in certain countries’ media are aware and value this issue.

The media misrepresentation on the above-mentioned affairs brings lots of social issues towards Thai society. Initially, females have to be struggling with stereotyping and oppression from males, which the worse case is females becoming victims of physical and sexual violence caused by males. Moreover, rather than facilitating the disabled persons to live their lives easier, the media misrepresentation causes them to be in even worse situations as they always portray the disabilities in terms of misery, poverty and misfortune, in spite of inspiring them to live happily as they’re equal to others.

However, nowadays, Thai media and people in society seem to be more aware of social issues than in the past. There are more discussions between the audience and forthright criticizing media producers according to their inappropriate media texts. Therefore, we would see less inappropriate media texts recently since the audience are now extremely active. 

Although some of the media texts might lack sufficient deliberation, it would automatically receive a backlash from the audience due to its own mistake, establishing a good impact to both Thai media industry and Thai society so that both of them can be improved in the future.

Members: Group Gogowa

Aunthika Phonpruksa 6307640091

Tanyakorn Arthithanukati 6307640273

Kullanit Yonjaitan 6307640356

Areesuang Suksomnit 6307640109

Thanakorn Laowansiri 6307640679

Poowadol Ngamchanpli 6307640521

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