Ex-minister criticises Women’s Ministry for misogynistic ‘Doraemon’ advice

Yiswaree Palansamy
Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said speaks to media at Umno headquarters after a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, March 12, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Former law minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said today lambasted the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) after it imparted some rather left-field advice to women, especially wives and mothers working from home, which it posted on its Facebook page yesterday, earning the ire of many.

Taking to her Twitter, Azalina who was once a youth and sports minister, and the only woman to have held the portfolio to date, criticised the tips as politically incorrect and misogynistic.

“#KPWKM, the memes are politically incorrect, promote gender bias & perpetuate misogyny. I’m disappointed that the Ministry is condoning messages which go against the empowerment of women & gender equality. #definitelyXdoraemonvoice #sdggoal5” she wrote.

In an online 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.

Similarly, the All Women’s Action Society (Awam) also frowned upon the idea, which it said is an objectification of women.

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 women 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.

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