Moral policed to death or being a woman in Malaysia

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

JUNE 22 — Recently a news agency got deserved flak for badly photoshopping a hijab onto a photo used for a celebrity obituary.

It was a comical picture — it looked as though someone with absolutely no graphic design skills had attempted to draw on a hijab for the photo.

Of course there was an outcry; some said it was disrespectful while others said it was unnecessary when there were a few photos floating around of her with a covered head.

There, however, seems to be no rhyme or reason as to the need to censor a dead person’s hair.

My simple assertion is that if you wouldn’t do that to them when alive, you have no reason to do it when they’re dead.

It is a disturbing trend in Malaysia where women are constantly being asked about their clothing choices and then criticised for them.

Your dress is too tight, you aren’t covering enough, isn’t that indecent?

Even singer Yuna has had to deal with non-stop comments on her choice of dress to the point she has said she receives way more flak on her wardrobe from Malaysians than anywhere else.

Women face objectification all the time as can be seen just by reading online profiles written about them, especially when written by men. — Reuters pic
Women face objectification all the time as can be seen just by reading online profiles written about them, especially when written by men. — Reuters pic

Women face objectification all the time as can be seen just by reading online profiles written about them, especially when written by men. — Reuters pic

It is considered acceptable for local newspapers to write neverending stories on whether a celebrity has chosen to cover up, not cover up or reversed a decision to do either.

What is also sad is that prior to the aforementioned celebrity’s death, there were fawning articles praising her for her apparent weight loss.

It is tiring and tiresome that women can never escape the scrutiny of their looks or wardrobe.

Malaysian singer Shila Amzah once complained that the local press were more interested in writing about her personal life than about her music — it was a valid critique and yet she ended up being blackballed by the media.

She had to publicly apologise for her statement when I think, really, all those media people offended by what she said should have been the ones to ask her for forgiveness.

As the Malay saying goes, siapa makan lada, dialah terasa pedas (whoever eats the chilli, should feel the heat).

Women face objectification all the time as can be seen just by reading online profiles written about them, especially when written by men.

Few do not mention their figure or looks in some way, sometimes dedicating entire paragraphs to their attractiveness but men do not face as much attention to the curve of their waists.

I know some people complain about people being “too PC” or “woke” when really, isn’t it right and proper to demand that people evolve with the times?

In the old days, casually racist jokes were common and no one thought to question a popular toothpaste brand being named after a racist slur.

If that toothpaste brand could have a makeover, why can’t we also embrace enlightenment and not be so concerned about what a woman wears, alive or dead?

To stop women complaining about mistreatment and sexism, the solution is not to shut them up but to stop the misogyny.

Until that happens, I’m sorry that you will just have to put up with all the (rightfully) angry feminists and maybe ask yourself if you too aren’t part of the problem.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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