Malaysian government was left red-faced or rather 'Doraemon-Faced' after it had to apologise for its sexist ads asking women to speak like Doraemon and refrain from nagging their husbands at home during the lockdown period due to coronavirus.
The advertisement posters released by the Malaysia's Women and Family Development Ministry's with an aim to 'build a happy family' in the current scenario backfired badly after they were shared publicly.
Malaysia provides tips to women for a 'happy family'
In a series of Facebook posts, which have gone viral for all the wrong reasons, the Malaysian government provided tips for women to follow during the lockdown. The ads launched on March 18 were part of the campaign called #WomenPreventCOVID19.
In one of the posters a man is shown sitting on a sofa asking his wife to avoid being "sarcastic" if they needed help with household chores. Another poster suggested women to imitate the voice of Doraemon, a blue robotic cartoon cat character from Japan, to humour and seek help from their husbands during the lockdown period.
In yet another one, the government asked the wives to ditch their casual wear and dress up formally and wear make-up even when they don't have to go outside their houses.
In yet another poster, a husband and wife are shown hanging clothes together. The ad reads: "If you see your spouse doing something in a way you don't like, don't nag at him — use humorous words like 'this is the way to hang clothes, darling' (using Doraemon's voice tone and giggling)."
After a huge hue and cry over their sexist advertisements, the ministry's women's development department finally issued an apology through a statement: "We apologise if some of the tips we shared were inappropriate and touched on the sensitivities of some parties." The posters were also removed by the ministry.
Public outrage over sensitive government ads
Calling the advertisement campaign and the posters inappropriate, Rosana Isa, executive director of civil society organization Sisters in Islam, while speaking to Arab News said: "It reinforces negative gender stereotypes against women and men, as it implies that women are the only ones responsible for house chores whereas the burden of housework should be shared by both husband and wife. The message from the ministry supported the notion of women having to resort to infantile language and mannerisms."
In its twitter post Women's Aid Organization, a group helping the domestic abuse victims, wrote: "Women should never have to act like Doraemon or childlike to be taken seriously. And even if they want to laugh coyly like Doraemon, it's their own decision."
"I would say my parents have a successful marriage, they have their differences but they work it out. Never once has it worked out because my MOM spoke in a Doraemon voice," wrote a user on twitter.