PETALING JAYA: A motivational speaker has deleted her video in which she offered tips to single, unmarried women to act a little dense in order to attract a life partner, following heavy backlash on social media.
In the last 30 seconds of the now-deleted video initially posted on her social media, ophthalmologist and motivation speaker Prof Datuk Dr Muhaya Mohamad alluded that men like women who are "damsels in distress".
Her suggestion that single, unmarried women keep their ambitions in check and "act a bit dumb" in order to find a life partner has also come under heavy criticism by many of Malaysia's female public figures.
Among those speaking out included London based Malaysian surgeon Dr Amalina Che Bakri, who said that Dr Muhaya's views were sending the wrong message to girls and young women.
In a tweet on Wednesday (Jun 9), Dr Amalina - who recently got married - pointed out that her own mother never raised her to act dumb in order to be able to find a man to marry.
"Women should definitely not lower their intellectual level just so that they can attract a man. It’s an insult to both women and men. Just be the best version of yourself," said Dr Amalina.
"Let women be what they want to be. Enough of this you-need-to-be-a-submissive mindset if you want to get married. Just please stop degrading women already," she added.
Similarly, health expert Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said in a reply to a Twitter thread that she is at a loss for words.
"Perhaps we need to send the good Prof some reading materials on why empowering women and girls is the key to social transformation and economic growth, amongst other things," said the Universiti Malaya professor of infectious diseases and member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Science Council.
MedTweetMY chairperson Dr Khairul Hafidz joined the scores of men chiming in on the issue on Twitter, saying,"I love my wife the way she is. She is smart, ambitious, and never be bodo-bodo (dumb) in front of me. She is way better than me in any aspect," he said
"When my daughters all grow up, I hope they all will be like her mama," he added.
Meanwhile, Twitter user Aizat Shamsuddin wrote that what Dr Muhaya said undermines what women’s rights groups in this country have been fighting for ages
"Please retract your words and learn gender equality," he added.
In Dr Muhaya's video, she also suggested for single, unmarried women to stop trying to outdo men because if they try to do the same things as men, their testosterone levels will increase.
"Don't be busy trying to liberate, trying to stand as tall as men, no. If you try to do what men are doing, your testosterone will increase and those who are still unmarried, your ability to find a partner will be delayed," said Dr Muhaya.
"Those with high testosterone constantly want to drive, achieve, and be independent.
"Men like women who are gentle, have high estrogen, dependent, and need to be helped. It's alright to act a bit dumb," she added.
In the video, she also advised unmarried women to look at their own character.
However, many people also came out in defense of Dr Muhaya by saying that her words were taken out of context and that her advice was cloaked in metaphor.
Dr Amalina Nudin said that those who have been following Dr Muhaya for a long time would understand her, and that there was a possibility that the latter had used the wrong wording to get her points across.
"(I) agree that Prof Muhaya may have made a mistake in using the words 'bodoh-bodoh'.
"Those who have been her follower for a long time would understand and know what she is actually trying to say," she said.
She added that she has been following Dr Muhaya for eight years and said that the speaker's two daughters are also highly-educated doctors.
Other social media users also supported this, saying that Dr Muhaya - who has over half a million followers on Instagram and over 1.4 million on Facebook - could have chosen better words, but that essentially she meant well.
Dr Muhaya has not yet responded to the controversy and has also disabled the comment feature for her Instagram page.