Many readers will have seen General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s latest gaffe at Coconuts Bangkok. Even so, it warrants wider attention.
The Dictator has “scoffed at gender equality and said the country would deteriorate if women and men were equal.”
He is quoted as stating: “Everyone says we must create equality — men and women deserve the same rights and can do the same good and bad things. Oh, if you all think so, the Thai society will deteriorate!”
He continues: “Women are the gender of motherhood, the gender of giving birth. When you come home… who’s got a wife here? Does your wife take care of you when you come home? When you’re at home she’s the authority, isn’t she?”, adding, “Since I’ve been married, I haven’t done anything at home.”
“I don’t have to worry about these things at home. I don’t have to pick the kids up, none of that…”.
The report states: “As embarrassing and hopeless as it is to have a leader who doesn’t believe an entire half of its population deserves the same rights as the other half, this is not the first time Prayuth has made a sexist remark in public.”
It refers to Prayuth’s comments about beautiful women, bikinis and murder. At the time, PPT observed:
Yet this usual incompetence and unprofessional behavior is topped by the crass misogyny of the country’s leader, boss, prime minister and dictator. His first comment was disturbing:
I have been following this matter very closely,” Gen. Prayuth told reporters as he arrived at Government House this morning. “We also have to look into the behavior of the other side [the tourists]. (…) This case should not have happened in Thailand at all. I think it will affect foreign opinion of our country.
His second comment was even worse:
There are always problems with tourist safety. They think our country is beautiful and is safe so they can do whatever they want, they can wear bikinis and walk everywhere,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is also the army chief, told government officials. But “can they be safe in bikinis… unless they are not beautiful?” he said, addressing the issue of tourist safety in a speech broadcast live on television.
Thailand’s anti-democrats have a track record on misogyny, using it as a political weapon. It wasn’t that long ago that those calling for Prayuth to make a coup repeatedly attacked former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as a “slut” or “whore” for daring to stand up for democratic governance. At around the same time, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva added to these shocking and disgusting personalized attacks by referring to Yingluck as “a stupid bitch.”
Among the wealthy elite on the political right, it seems that misogyny is normalized. As Prayuth implies, it is just the way things are done in their hierarchical world.