Ministry's advice to women irks netizens and women's rights activists

PETALING JAYA (Mar 31): "Imitate a Doraemon-like tone and giggle coyly."

The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KWPKM) has sparked ire among netizens - notably women's rights groups over a series of infographics advising women, especially wives and those working from home during the current Movement Control Order, posted on its Facebook and Instagram pages yesterday.

One of the digital posts provided advice on how to avoid spousal arguments, wives were advised to adopt a “Doraemon-like” tone and giggle coyly as opposed to “nagging", reported the Malay Mail.

It seems the ministry’s advice didn’t stop there.

In another post about four days ago 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 also advised women to not be sarcastic towards their spouses who do not help with housework, saying that they sometimes just need to be informed about such tasks, the online daily reported. 

The public service announcements (PSAs) did not go down well with rights activists and many individuals, who took the ministry to task.

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 wrote on Twitter.

Similarly, the All Women’s Action Society (Awam) said the PSAs are 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.

Other netizens can also be seen flooding the the ministry’s Instagram page with comments expressing their displeasure over the posts.

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