The Malaysian government was forced to apologize after its Women’s Development Department published a series of sexist “tips” to help deal with the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.
After pulling down the online posters on Tuesday, the Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development said it was aimed at “maintaining positive relationships among family members during the period they are working from home,” however, it would “remain cautious in the future.”
Malaysia’s Ministry of Women, Family and Community Welfare had issued bizarre advises, through a series of online posters on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, for the nation’s women to help the country cope up with the partial lockdown imposed to contain the Novel Coronavirus outbreak.
“Malaysia’s Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development issued a series of online posters on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19. It advised the nation’s women to help with the country’s partial lo…https://t.co/XaECIWajKB https://t.co/J8YaDnph5q— TatyanaFertelmeyster (@TFertelmeyster) April 2, 2020
The Ministry, in what could be seen as a very sexist and misogynistic piece of advice, warned the women to refrain from being “sarcastic” to their husbands while asking them to help with household chores. It urged women working from home to dress up in tight clothes and wear makeup. And the weirdest of all, to cajole the husbands by speaking to them in the voice of “Doraemon”.
For the uninitiated, Doraemon is a Japanese manga series which has also been adapted into a successful anime series, very popular amongst the children. Doremon is this helpful fictional robotic character who is supposed to be very loyal and obedient to Nobita, the protagonist of the Doraemon series.
These advices, to promote “household happiness”, had prompted criticism online for pushing gender stereotypes which compelled the Ministry to pull down the posters and apologises for its ill-conceived campaign.
Many Malaysians couldn’t understand the reference to Doraemon or how the ministry could trivialise the issue of gender balance and domestic violence particularly when the lockdown due to coronavirus has been sparking concerns over a rise in domestic violence cases. Many called it extremely condescending both to women and men.