LTO called out over info drive using gyrating women
MANILA, Philippines — Wearing blue polo shirts with the LTO (Land Transportation Office) logo and black skirts, the five women in the video shook their hips and imitated the dance moves of a popular vlogger, to a tune of a Tagalog rap song about infidelity.
On the screen of the 36-second video uploaded on TikTok, traffic violations and their corresponding penalties were shown as well. The lyrics to the song were changed to talk about following traffic rules.
Gyrating women are irrelevant to the public reminder to follow traffic rules and regulations, the Philippine Commission on Women said on Wednesday as it called on the LTO to ensure gender sensitivity in its information, education, and information materials.
“While the content of the material is well-appreciated, the commission believes that there are better and more effective ways to express the message other than having people, presumably their employees, perform gyrating dance moves that are totally irrelevant to the message that they want to convey,” the PCW said in a statement.
In the video, the women are mimicking the “It Really Hurts” dance moves of popular vlogger and comedian Mimiyuuh in her viral social media challenge, to the tune of Tagalog rap song “Kabet” by Gagong Rapper.
While they shake their hips, information on traffic violations and their corresponding penalties are being flashed on the screen.
Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran clarified that it was not an official campaign video, and was neither posted on official social media platforms of the LTO nor the Department of Transportation.
“The act was not initiated by the agency but was made voluntarily by a group of well-meaning women who wanted to help promote the campaigns of their agency,” said Libiran.
The PCW called on government agencies to ensure gender sensitivity in materials they disseminate to the public. It must portray women in nondiscriminatory and nonderogatory ways, it added.
Dignity of women
Under the Magna Carta of Women, it noted that the state must endeavor to “raise the consciousness of the general public in recognizing the dignity of women and the role and contribution of women in the family, community and the society through the strategic use of mass media.”
“Following this, all must be cautious as to the gender sensitivity of all media content, especially when it is targeted for the general public. This is critical during this digital era when many government agencies harness the power of social media and hook into trends to spread information on their campaigns,” the commission said.
Libiran shared the TikTok video, attributed to the LTO’s Central Luzon office, on her official Facebook page and thanked the agency for the “catchy, entertaining and informative video.” The video did not bear the name of the uploader.
Social media challenge
“Instead of just making it for fun, these ladies thought of adjusting the actual song in a way that can inform, using the same language of their stakeholders, primarily the drivers, commuters and millennials who are aware of the challenge. The message is—It Really Hurts Na Magmulta, Kaya Magtino Ka Sa Kalsada,” said the transport official.
She said it was part of the #itreallyhurtschallenge on social media that is widely participated by individuals and groups, including teachers, students, celebrities, news personalities and other government agencies to promote their campaigns.
The PCW said government agencies must check the content, portrayal of women, balance in representation, gender stereotyping, gender-neutral language, and social media etiquette before sharing materials for public consumption.
“We encourage government agencies to take advantage of the influence of social media responsibly through dignified portrayal of persons in their publicity materials. Gone are the days when women were being used to attract the attention of an audience, by making them dance or wear skimpy clothes or portraying them as sexual objects in events and materials where these are not even necessary,” it said.
In the move toward gender equality and women empowerment, women should be portrayed as leaders, innovators, experts, and key contributors to nation-building, it added.
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