To promote household happiness, women must not nag their husbands to partake in household chores; they should, instead cajole him, in voice like Japanese cartoon character, Doraemon (who is male), and a giggle too.
This is the advice from the Women and Family Development Ministry through one of their posters to promote “household happiness”. (The ministry has since issued a public apology and taken down the offending posters).
Naturally, Malaysians weren’t amused by the ministry’s sexist PSAs and within hours, memes were flooding social media like one by Hakam Youth featuring an irate Doraemon saying, “I do not patronise women.”
Many Malaysians couldn’t understand the reference to Doraemon or how the ministry could trivialise the issue of gender balance and domestic violence particularly during the MCO when victims of domestic violence are particularly vulnerable.
Another chauvinistic poster urged women to “dress up” at home implying that a woman needs to look good in order to maintain harmony with her spouse. People were having none of that either.
Women’s Aid Organisation came up with their own poster to counter the ministry’s harmful messaging on their PSAs.
Another stand out graphic that was circulating online was one titled, “Lelaki sejati tolong isteri” (A real man helps his spouse) which offered six points on how household responsibilities and harmony rests on the shoulders of men and women. Perhaps the ministry should take note.
Activist Emellia Shariff, one of the founders of The G-Blog also offered an alternative to the ministry’s posters, because "I wanted to create a counter-narrative that was more respectful not just to women but to men".