The Malaysian Women, Family and Community Development Ministry released a series of #WomenPreventCOVID19 campaign posters on social media while the country is under partial lockdown, but the now-deleted posters offered some pretty controversial advice, NPR reports.
According to the Thomas Reuters Foundation, the campaign was aimed at helping couples avoid domestic disputes while cooped up together by giving women the following advice:
- Stop nagging your husband
- Avoid being sarcastic with your husband
- Dress up for your husband, don’t wear lounge clothes
- Wear makeup for your husband
- Speak like Doraemon — a popular cat cartoon character in Southeast Asia
The campaign offered no advice or tips for men on improving their relationships or avoiding disputes.
The ministry’s “tips for women” have gained widespread attention, and many women across the globe are offended, including Malaysia’s former minister of law, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, who took to Twitter to express her disapproval of the campaign, reports Malay Mail.
#KPWKM, the memes are politically incorrect, promotes gender bias & perpetuate misogyny. I’m disappointed that the Ministry is condoning messages which goes against the empowerment of women & gender equality. #definitelyXdoraemonvoice #sdggoal5— Azalina Othman Said (@AzalinaOthmanS) March 31, 2020
One Malaysian actress, Chelsia Ng, even turned the post into an Instagram joke, mocking the particularly odd suggestion to speak like the cartoon cat Doraemon.
While the campaign seems to some like nothing more than a failure at political correctness, the ramifications go much deeper.
“(It) is extremely condescending both to women and men,” Nisha Sabanayagam, a manager at All Women’s Action Society, a Malaysian advocacy group, was quoted by Yahoo! News. “These posters promote the concept of gender inequality and perpetuate the concept of patriarchy.”
Since Malaysia began lockdown procedures on March 18, its domestic violence helpline has seen a more than 50% increase in calls, as many people are now trapped inside their homes with their abusers, the Guardian reports.