The motivational speaker who recently found herself the subject of many many angry tweets has responded to the controversy surrounding her video, “Why Women Are Slow To Find Matches” and her line asking women to “play dumb”. Taking to Instagram, she explained:
“The 56-second clip is an excerpt from a 45-minute long live session on Prof Muhaya’s FB Page and Prof Muhaya TV’s YouTube, published on 6 Feb 2021 at 6 pm entitled ‘BETWEEN LOVE AND AMBITION’. The live broadcast is actually to answer KK Talib’s questions and comments from FB, related to women who are facing dilemmas, between pursuing a career, love and family.”
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She acknowledged the fact that the clip has caused discomfort and discontent, apologising for the misunderstanding and thanking those who have raised the issue up with her and bringing it to her attention. She went on to say:
“I am also a woman, wife, mother and grandmother who has a career and I am always supportive, praying for all women to achieve the highest possible success. Based on this misunderstanding, I would like to present a short live note of CINTA & CITA-CITA (on youtube) as a reference to answer any questions that arise.”
Following her explanation, many flooded the comment section of both her Instagram account and her Facebook post on the issue, sharing their support and understanding for the Professor.
“many people understood your meaning 😍 may you always be blessed”
“There is no need for you to explain, I understood what you wanted to convey.”
“Please never stop inspiring us @profmuhayaofficial ❤️ *virtual hugs”
The initial tweet that went viral, shared by a Twitter user, showed a snippet of an almost minute-long video titled, “Why Women Are Slow To Find Matches”. The tweet read:
During the video, the Professor is heard saying that women should avoid “doing the things that men do” as this drives them away.
“Jangan sebuk nak liberate, nak berdiri sama- sama lelaki, no. Nanti you all sibuk nak buat apa-apa lelaki buat, testosterone meningkat dan bagi sesiapa yang belum kahwin, lambaaaat lah jodoh. Siapa tinggi testosterone, asyik nak drive, nak independant, ah memanglah.
(Don’t busy yourself with liberation, wanting to stand [on the same level] as men, no. While busying yourself with what men do, your testosterone will increase and for those who have yet to get married, meeting your partner will come even later. Those with high testosterone, always wanting to drive, be independent, ah of course [will meet their partner later].) “
In the clip, she is also heard saying:
“Orang laki-laki suka perempuan lembut lembut, high estrogen, mengharapkan, perlu ditolong. Ah, buatlah macam bodoh bodoh sikit.
(Men like women who are gentle, high in estrogen, who want and need to be helped. So play dumb a bit.)”
Reactions had been split. For the most part, netizens were livid.
After all, with the platforms available to her, the Professor can be seen as supporting a sexist idea (that women should be gentle, lower themselves in the presence of men) and one that has led to centuries of misogyny. Dr. Amalina herself weight in on the situation, calling out the Professor for perpetuating the idea that women need to dumb down if they hope to marry.
But, there are people defending the Professor, on the basis that her statements may simply be wrongly delivered, with the choice of the word “bodoh”, meaning “stupid”, wrongly interpreted.
“The Prof is saying to humble oneself. It is not wrong to want to be successful or anything, but respect your husband. The ‘play dumb’ statement does not mean to become dumb, but what she’s trying to deliver is to sometimes let your guard down when with men,”
“I think the prof used the wrong words. Maybe what she wants to say is, no matter how smart we are, we have to respect men, especially those who could be our potential husband. It’s not that we need to be stupid. I know people who have a degree and are independent but once they want to get married, they respect & are still able to shine with her husband.”
In all fairness, if the Professor was in fact alluding to the need for respect in relationships, her mistake would be in gendering the video and its content. After all, respect is a value that has no gender or social status attached to it. At the end of the day, one should never, ever see the need to lower oneself for anyone. Being proud of your achievements and knowing your value is not “disrespectful” or “egoistic”, far from it. You are just as important, valuable and deserving of love and if no one else sees that, you need to see that and be that support for yourself.
*This article was orignianlly posted on the 10th of June 2021 and has since brought up to date. *Cover image credits: Twitter