KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry has imparted some rather left-field advice to women, especially wives and mothers working from home, which it posted on its Facebook page yesterday.
In a poster directed at mothers working from home, the ministry seemingly stressed the importance of one’s appearance, advising work-at-home mothers to “groom as usual” and always look neat.
The ministry’s advice didn’t stop there.
In a subsequent poster on ways to educate one’s spouse on doing household chores, to presumably avoid quarrelling, wives are advised to adopt a “Doraemon-like” tone and giggle coyly as opposed to “nagging”.
The ministry also advised women to not be sarcastic towards their spouses who do not help with housework, saying that they sometimes need to be “informed” about such duties, and asked women to do so when they need a hand.
The public service announcements (PSAs), however, did not go down well with feminist groups, who took the ministry to task.
Taking to Twitter, lawyer-cum-activist Honey Tan criticised newly-minted Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun over the PSAs, questioning the latter’s priorities.
“Avoid wearing home clothes. Dress up as usual, put on make-up and dress neatly. OMG! This is what Rina, our Minister of Women, Family & Community Development thinks is important during the #COVID19 lockdown? No tips on how to deal with #DomesticViolence? Just state DV is a crime,” Tan who is also a member in Feminist movement, Empower, wrote.
Avoid wearing home clothes. Dress up as usual, put on make-up and dress neatly. OMG! This is what Rina, our Minister of Women, Family & Community Development thinks is important during the #COVID19 lockdown? No tips on how to deal with #DomesticViolence? Just state DV is a crime. pic.twitter.com/FfswtPBIPH— Honey Tan (@honeyean) March 31, 2020
Similarly, the All Women’s Action Society (Awam) also frowned upon the idea, which it said is an objectification of women.
“Women have more than enough to do during the #MCO/#RMO without the added pressure of putting on make-up and looking good. Women are human too — not an object or a commodity.
“While dressing up to work is one way of maintaining discipline and a routine while working from home, the focus on LOOKS, DRESS, and MAKEUP is absolutely unnecessary.
“Stop this sexist messaging @KPWKM and focus on #domesticviolence survivors who are at higher risk now!” Awam tweeted.
Setiawangsa MP Niz Nazmi Nik Ahmad also expressed his astonishment at the PSAs, adding that he was confused over the suggestion to adopt the Doraemon-tone.
“The priorities of the Women Ministry during #COVID19Malaysia is to tell woves to use Doraemon’s tone? (what on earth is that?)” he tweeted.
The ministry’s PSA digital posters were uploaded onto its Facebook and Instagram pages.