Georgian Television Refuses To Recognise Its Sexism
On July 9, 2014 a shocking thing happened on GDS TV: women were used as percussion instruments. When people saw how a man slapped his hands on the bottoms of two scantily dressed women, there were a variety of responses.
GDS is an entertainment channel in Georgia, and Bina 18 (Apartment 18) is just one of its programmes. Supposedly, unusual things happen in each episode. The last episode definitely got the audience’s attention, however. Bani, a Georgian folklore group that plays various Georgian instruments, was invited onto the show. Slapping the bottoms of women was the idea of the show’s creative team. As the show’s host later said, it was an experiment meant to demonstrate whether the group could play drums using women’s bottoms.
Playing drums on women's buttocks on Bina 18.
Shortly after broadcasting the show, there were numerous responses from NGOs, the public defender, women on Facebook and even women’s online journal. All of them demand an apology from the channel.
The first response came from the women’s informative centre. From the letter that was later shared by every online magazine, this particular paragraph says it all – “While the Georgian government presented a report on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women to the UN, there was programme that discriminated against women on Georgian TV.” The centre also demanded that punishment against Bina 18’s creative team. Meanwhile, the public defender Ucha Nanuashvili stated that – “Showing women as a subject is sexism that could bring devastating consequences.”
Television has a huge influence on its audience. Therefore, it is important that channels help to demonstrate the role of women properly and express respect. It is unfortunate that GDS TV and Bina 18’s creative team don’t wish to apologise. One of Bina 18’s hosts, Kotiko Toloraia, said sorry in ironic way, stating that the performance was just a joke and if anyone felt offended, then he is sorry. But then he quickly added that he doesn’t understand why anyone would be offended by what they had done. After this speech the hosts made one more “joke” – a girl slapped their bottoms as they said – “oh, I feel offended now. Our rights are violated. We got what we deserved.”
A cheeky response to accusations of sexism.
On July 12, 2014, Georgia’s Journalistic Ethics Charter published a statement on their website about this topic. The statement begins by explaining that they were waiting for the channel to apologize, but the apology was never made.
Now we are waiting for GDS TV to respond to demands. Some say that the show decided to stage such a sexist performance because it would make the ratings go up, but the creative team says that it was all just a joke.
They aren’t taking their own sexism seriously. But we can’t achieve anything without realising that each move we make should be reflected upon deeply.