International Women’s Day

I am Generation Equality: Araya Rungapinya, Thai student activist supporting female entertainers

Billions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.

Date: Friday, March 6, 2020

Author: Interview by Hansol Park

I am Generation Equality
Araya Rungapinya, at coffee shop in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Wikran Sripanjakul
Araya Rungapinya, at coffee shop in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Wikran Sripanjakul

Three things you can do to help protect female entertainers:

  • Respect their human rights and privacy.
  • Speak out against harassment and violation of the rights and privacy of public figures.
  • Icon- a girl raises her arm
  • Learn about and understand these problems together.

I Am Generation Equality because…

I think it's time for us to understand the human rights and right to privacy of public figures.

Girls in the music and entertainment industry step up on stage to become public figures but being public figures does not mean that anybody can just encroach on their human rights and privacy.

I am studying the music and entertainment business at Silpakorn University. My study here gives me the opportunity to work in the entertainment industry in Thailand and to know the group “idol” artists in the industry. These idol bands are influenced by Japanese idols and are popular in Thailand.

While working with these artist groups, I found that they are faced with objectification problems. We often see objectification of public figures in various ways such as cyberbullying, online harassment, online abuse, and the marketing strategies of the entertainment industry itself.

That is why I collaborated with student groups to organize a photo exhibition on the issue of objectification of artists in the music and entertainment industry.

I wanted to make both the general public and people within the entertainment industry itself recognize the problem. And my friends from Chulalongkorn University chose to convey the message through the art of photography.

SDG color stripe

“Their actions are part of the objectification problem, but they don’t realize it.”

SDG color stripe

People sometimes do not understand the difference between being interested in public figures and violating their privacy and rights. Their actions are part of the objectification problem, but they don’t realize it. This is the most critical and urgent point, I think. So female entertainers are objectified and sometimes the boundaries are so ambiguous.

We can gradually change our attitudes.

I hope that people can exchange opinions about this issue more and more. People can talk with their friends about their attitudes and misunderstandings.

Of course, I know I cannot stop or change people’s ideas right away. But the people who came to the exhibition have begun to re-think these issues. That is the first step to solve this problem. We learn, and we think that it is not difficult for others to learn along with us slowly. You need just an open mind to listen.

Men can help

Men can be part of the solution by supporting Generation Equality and by speaking out that the objectification problem in the entertainment industry should not be common in society.

Equality and diversity are the most important elements of human beings.

Araya Rungapinya, 24, is an undergraduate at Silpakorn University in Bangkok. He founded a social action group called IKIGAI that calls attention to the objectification of entertainers, and last November helped organize a photo exhibition in Bangkok called GIRLS, NOT OBJECTS.