Malaysia’s Women & Family Ministry Apologises For Posters Asking Wives To “Talk Like Doraemon”
Lockdowns are a trying time for couples. Spending days locked up at home together can be bliss for some, but for many others it ended in divorces and separations.
Malaysia went into lockdown a couple of weeks ago, and perhaps tried to help couples in quarantine stay civil by giving them some ‘helpful tips’ to ease tensions during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Unfortunately, the Women and Family Ministry’s posters and tips weren’t received well at all. They drew flak for being sexist towards women, and angered many for asking wives to “talk like Doraemon” to their husbands.
Thankfully, the posts have been removed from the ministry’s social media accounts, and they have apologised for their lack of sensitivity too.
Posters asked women to “talk like Doraemon”
The ministry published their ‘tips’ in the form of Instagram and Facebook posts.
The posts have since been removed, but supposedly advised women to speak gently to their husbands with a “Doraemon-like tone” and to avoid nagging. They were advised to “giggle coyly” too, reports Malay Mail.
Other suggestions they posted told women that they should count from 1-20 before talking to their husbands if they were upset.
The last straw for many was the ‘reminder’ for women to look presentable, even though they were just staying at home during the MCO.
Women’s rights advocates highlight domestic abuse woes
The images released by the Women and Family Ministry quickly gained the attention of many women’s rights advocates on social media for their dated advice.
The All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) acknowledged that putting on more formal clothes and makeup at home can help one be more productive, but called out the “absolutely unnecessary” focus on women’s looks.
They suggested that domestic violence victims be focused on now, since they could be at higher risk of abuse being cooped up at home with their abusers.
Alternative graphics & tips created by netizens
Some netizens on Twitter took the liberty of redesigning the posters with tips that were applicable to both husbands and wives.
For instance, this one reminds couples a happy marriage is built together.
Here’s a translation of it:
Happiness of the marriage is built together
– Responsibility to share chores and childcare to avoid arguments at home
1. Distribute chores fairly. Shared home, shared responsibilities.
2. Help each other take care of cleanliness of the home, self & kids to prevent Covid-19.
3. Ensure you bathe & wear clean clothes to work more productively. If both are working, take turns to care for the kids and household needs. Both careers are equally important.
4. Husband & wife have to communicate effectively. Avoid hurting each other’s feelings.
On the other hand, this second graphic focuses on respecting each other and equally sharing responsibility in the family.
Here it is in English:
A real man helps his wife
A happy family is a shared responsibility
“Partners” – Marriage is shared. Your wife is not your property. Your wife is a woman who’s free & independent.
“Not a maid” – Women at home aren’t maids! Repeat this till it enters your brain. Recite it like a prayer if you have to.
Makeup When She Wants To – FYI, women don’t wear makeup for husbands or to go to work. They wear makeup to make themselves happy.
Nurturing – Nurture both sons and daughters to learn how to do chores. But parents have to show the way.
Sharing – Husband & wife must share burdens. Help wives with work & wives can help husbands earn money. If you face problems, communicate & share with your partner.
Respect – Treat everyone at home with dignity. Respect your partner, treat your parents and siblings with respect and watch your tone of voice.
The lists of tips created by netizens are definitely better suited to encourage healthy relationships.
Doraemon doesn’t patronise women, so you shouldn’t either
A relationship is a team effort, and communication is key to getting through difficult times like now.
Wearing makeup or speaking like Doraemon won’t help if you already have underlying issues that you can’t get over.
Speaking of Doraemon, he doesn’t seem too pleased at being used to patronise women.
The ministry clearly meant well, but it’s 2020 and women pleasing men is definitely passé.
Doraemon isn’t a fan of patronising women, so you shouldn’t be either.