If there is one thing common amongst almost all people in the world right now, except for essential workers, is that they are staying with their families 24×7. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has led to lockdowns in various countries and states. During this time, multiple problems can arise.
Being locked inside one space for a prolonged period of time can lead to mental health issues for individuals. Moreover, it can also lead to or increase clashes within families.
Thus, organizations and countries all over the world are suggesting ways for people to calm themselves during this time.
Malaysia tried to do the same. However, they took the wrong way forward.
WHAT DID MALAYSIA DO?
The Ministry of Women and Family Development, Malaysia issues infographics for women. The infographic was supposed to serve as guidelines for women to adhere to in order to reduce clashes at home.
The “tips” that the infographic contained were as follows:
- Avoid nagging
- Do not be sarcastic
- Put on makeup
- Dress up properly while working from home
- Imitate the “cute” voice of Doraemon the cartoon
The posters were released with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19.
There are multiple problems with these posters.
Firstly, the ministry issues infographics for women to avoid clashes at home is problematic in itself. In puts the blame of the clashes on the women. Moreover, it puts the burden of resolving or reducing these clashes also on them, implying that their husbands have no part to play in these clashes. All of these “tips” were based on satisfying the husbands, implying that if husbands are satisfied there will be no clashes.
Moreover, it takes away the focus from important issues. Organizations all over the world have reported a rise in cases of domestic violence during coronavirus quarantines.
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Secondly, the kind of advice it offered to women. It asked women to put forward their “presentable” selves, and to not say to their husbands what they wanted to. All of this was to be done to make sure their husbands were satisfied. This connects with the larger idea of being told to conform to a specified image at all times, and not crossing their boundaries.
After severe backlash, the ministry withdrew the posts. They also apologized for these posts –
“We apologise if some of the tips we shared were inappropriate and touched on the sensitivities of some parties.”