Celebrity academic sparks backlash for saying women should ‘act dumb’ to attract a man in Malaysia

·3-min read
A Malaysian professor has triggered a backlash for saying women should ‘act dumb’ in order to attract a man (Franklin Unity YouTube/Screengrab)
A Malaysian professor has triggered a backlash for saying women should ‘act dumb’ in order to attract a man (Franklin Unity YouTube/Screengrab)

A Malaysian celebrity academic, with more than 591,000 followers just on her Instagram account, was forced to delete a video in which she said women should “act dumb” in order to attract men.

The video was however reposted by a Twitter user on 8 June. In the clip, Dr Muhaya Mohamad, a celebrity ophthalmologist in the country, says women needed to dumb themselves down if they wished to find a partner to marry.

On her social media channels, Dr Mohamad had posted a video in which she made several controversial comments, including one that advises women to “stop trying to liberate yourself.”

Thousands of people in Malaysia slammed her sexist comments. Asia Online reported that a Twitter user who goes by the name Farrah, re-uploaded the clip to her channel and mocked Dr Mohamad for her problematic comments. The post has so far received more than 1.5 million views on Twitter.

The Twitter user told the World of Buzz that she felt insulted by Dr Mohamad’s insinuations that women should “degrade themselves just to feed a man’s ego.”

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Some users also labelled Dr Mohamad’s statements as an example of a “typical Boomer mindset.” Boomers, or baby boomers, are loosely referred to a generation of people born approximately between 1946 and 1965.

The controversy has led to the rise of the hashtag #bodohbodohsikit — that roughly translates to “a little stupid” — with men also weighing in.

One user said the academic’s comments could be sending the wrong message to young women. She said: “Women should definitely not lower their intellectual level just so that they can attract a man.”

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Dr Mohamad had earlier in January asked her followers on social media not to take their anxiety medication, the local Malay Mail had reported. She faced backlash, with critics labelling her as regressive.

A Twitter user said: “To all the girls out there… you don’t need to change to win men’s heart. A study from a biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher showed that 87 per cent of American men prefer to date a confident woman who was more intellectual and better educated than they were.”

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Another user said: “As a guy, I really am not attracted to #bodohbodohsikit [a little stupid].”

Asia Online reported that a Malaysian government body in March was forced to apologise for posting a series of “household happiness” posters that many said was sexist. The Malaysian women’s ministry, reports said, had offered tips for wives on how they should behave during the country’s Covid pandemic-related lockdown.

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