After mounting criticisms for using obsolete sexist stereotypes, South Korean officials have taken down its posted guidelines intended for pregnant women.
Last January 5, Seoul city government’s Pregnancy and Childbirth Information Center put up guidelines on its website to guide pregnant women, apparently to look after their husbands while carrying the baby. One of the instructions tells pregnant women to “prepare instant foods like curry, black bean paste and soup, so the husband, who’s unfamiliar with cooking, will be able to conveniently use them.”
It added that pregnant women “should prepare undergarments, socks, shirts, handkerchiefs and outers in the drawer for the husband and children to wear for 3 to 7 days while you’re at the hospital.
It also gave advice to pregnant women on how to look good through purchasing a hairband “so that you don’t look disheveled, as you won’t be able to wash your hair for a while.”
The points that were under fire have been deleted by the government, but some have remained online. Internet users have also taken screenshots of the original version and it resumed to make rounds online.
Furthermore, the guidelines also included suggestions for the women to lose weight through doing household chores like cleaning and doing the dishes.
“Extending your hand forward when wiping the floor will help with stretching the back, shoulder and arm muscles,” part of the guidelines read.
“Hang out clothes that you wore before getting married or small-sized clothes that you’d like to wear after giving birth and look at them when you want to eat more than necessary or want to skip workout,” it continued.
The guidelines astonished South Koreans, triggering them to launch a petition requesting for the official behind the sexist guidelines to be held accountable. South Koreans demand the official to also air a public apology.
Twitter has also been flooded by public anger.
“The person who wrote that, the one who revised it, even the Seoul city manager who posted it. They’re all mad,” one internet user said.
“Seoul city’s guideline for pregnant women is disgusting. The fact that they’re trying to sacrifice women is as clear as a glass marble,” said one.
“It’s not even any individual that posted it, it’s Seoul city’s Pregnancy and Childbirth Information Center… I wonder what they think of women and pregnant women,” another netizen exclaimed. “I hate this country.”
According to the city government, they had duplicated the advice they saw from a website operated by the health agency.
The South Korean government was also slammed in 2018 when it also released guidelines intended for high school students. The government tells students that “women have to work on their appearance and men have to work on improving their financial capabilities”. The guidelines added that men who shell out “a lot of money on dates” would anticipate to be “compensated”.