SM malls vow to become more gender sensitive after the ‘rape’ shirt incident

The management of a local retailing store expressed its commitment to become more gender sensitive following the recent selling of T-shirts promoting rape.

In a letter addressed to the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) dated October 14, Quennie Cua, Vice President for Marketing of SM Retail Inc., said that the management of SM Supermalls has taken appropriate measures to ensure that no similar incidences will happen again.

According to Cua, the management is set to review their internal guidelines for suppliers and advertisers and will intensify its quality checking to ensure that these suppliers will comply with their guidelines.

Cua added that they are also keen to conduct orientations to their staff and tenants to avoid future incidences, as well as to reiterate their stand on gender sensitivity and other social issues.

The management of SM Supermalls also assured PCW that they are in one with the public in condemning any act that trivializes issues that suggest disrespect to others, particularly to women.

‘Welcome development’

PCW Executive Director Emmeline Verzosa remarked that the swift response of the SM Supermalls to PCW’s letter is a welcome development in upholding the rights of women, particularly their right to non-derogatory and non-discriminatory portrayal in the spheres of media, advertising, merchandising, and communications.

Although there’s a lot to be in done with respect to the portrayal of women, Verzosa said this incident proved one thing: “The task to eradicate discriminatory portrayal of women is not exclusive to government agencies. Private corporations, such as SM Supermalls, are also expected to exercise gender sensitivity at all times. This trivializing game has long been part of our culture and this has to stop.”

“We need more vigilance. We need to hear more voices. We appreciate the power of social media for bringing these issues to the attention of the public. If people begin to cultivate this concern for women, issues of rape and harassment, discrimination and violence, will never become a laughing matter and be fully removed from our system.”

Last month, PCW called the attention of the SM Supermalls over the selling of T-shirts describing rape as “snuggle with a struggle.”