Women's Whispers to the World

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UNIVERSITY OF MALAYA
FACULTY OF EDUCATION
B.Ed.TESL

SESSION 2012/2013
SEMESTER 1

PXET 3109
LITERATURE AND POPULAR CULTURE
ASSIGNMENT 1

LECTURER:
Miss Shalini A/p Nadaswaran .
PREPARED BY: LEONARDO DAVID NG (PET100015)

DATE OF SUBMISSION: 23rd November 2012

WOMEN’S WHISPERS TO THE WORLD
Inequality has been rightfully and unquestionably entitled to women for as long as I can remember. Back in those days, women were restrained to unofficial profession as mere housewives and glued to house chores and kids. Women were muted from voicing out equal rights, and their minds were handicapped of intellectual development and reduced to only serving husbands obediently and babysitting. Now those are just the tips of the icebergs if we are to compare them to the reality of women’s hardships and problems in these days, though I am not sure whether the problems existed long before this age. One thing for sure, women are suffering both physical and emotional abuses which result from all sorts of discrimination that befall them.

Now let us bring this matter into Malaysian context and see how women’s problems emerge from the life of a high-spirited teenager, Orked, the heroine in Yasmin Ahmad’s controversial movie, “Sepet”. Basically “Sepet” is about a story of interracial love that revolves around Orked and Jason, the hero in the movie. Orked struggles in living by her free will and identity because of the stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination made by her friends and even her own father. The stereotypic belief that Malay women deserve no one to fall in love with but men of their own race is totally rejected and despised by Orked. In one of the scenes in the movie, one of her friends proudly proclaims that Orked is “…one of the most stupid Malay girl[s] [who thinks that she is] too good for [her] own race”. Ironically enough, her “Mat Salleh celup” friend, Izwan, calls Jason as her “… stupid, mata sepet boyfriend” when he himself did not even manage to pass his English language subject. In rebutting those accusations, Orked mentions that “[f]or generations, Malay men have been marrying outside their race” and further questions why all of a sudden that interracial relationship is considered to be a taboo.

Women in general are not treated with equal respect and value. It is like there is something in them that is inferior and fragile that makes men want to step over them with proud strides and authority. It is crystal clear how vulnerable Orked is to blind judgments and accusations. Orked’s same “Mat Salleh celup” friend steals away her honor, respect and dignity as a woman by claiming that it is her job as Johari’s girlfriend to ‘serve’ Johari. He also calls her “Bohsia” or a slut and assumes that she would outlook and be fine with the fact that Johari molested her during a party that they had weeks before. Here we see how women are seen as mere tools of men’s personal satisfaction. A clear portrayal of how invaluably low women’s honor, respect and dignity are in the eyes of men.

Christian Duguay’s “Human Traficking” is another movie that screams Women’s hardships and problems. The movie shows how women are unabatedly exploited in every sense of the word, regardless of their age and background. “Human Trafficking” vividly depicts the unfathomable depth of brutality and torture that await women at the gates of sexual slavery. The movie also shows how women are helplessly fragile and seen as easy targets to ‘predators’ that prey by sweet words of lie and deception. The very opening scene of “Human Trafficking” has foreshadowed the almost inevitable fate that befalls victims of human trafficking. Being forced into sex slavery, a 14-year-old girl crawls off an apartment’s window and meets her death.

“Womanish”, a term coined by Alice Walker, refers to “… outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior”. Duguay has represented most of the female characters in his movie in such manners to allow reckless...
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