Japanese city apologizes for telling pregnant women to cook, massage, ‘smile’ for husbands

Japanese city apologizes for telling pregnant women to cook, massage, ‘smile’ for husbandsJapanese city apologizes for telling pregnant women to cook, massage, ‘smile’ for husbands
Wes Hicks on Unsplash
Michelle De Pacina
July 28, 2023
The mayor of Onomichi in Japan’s Hiroshima prefecture, has issued a public apology for the city’s distribution of flyers telling pregnant women how to please their husbands after becoming mothers.
What’s on the flyers: The flyers were created based on a public survey of 100 fathers conducted in 2017 and have been distributed to female residents in their seventh month of pregnancy by the administration in Onomichi since 2018, according to the city government’s website.
“There are differences in the way men and women feel and think,” the flyers read, according to CNN. “One of the reasons for this is the structural difference in the brains of men and women. It is known that men act based on theories, while women act based on emotions. The important thing is to understand each others’ differences and divide roles well.”
The flyers reportedly state that women may irritate their husbands if they are “busy taking care of the baby and not doing chores,” and that husbands like to be thanked for basic tasks, including holding their baby, changing diapers and washing the dishes.  
The pamphlets then advertises ways in which new mothers can please their husbands, including cooking every day, giving massages, carrying out the childcare and housework, greeting them with a “welcome home” and keeping “a smile on her face.”
Backlash: Images of the flyers circulated on social media this week, causing criticism and public anger from Japanese citizens who questioned why the misogynistic pamphlets were allowed to be distributed for many years.
“What genre of harassment is this reaching a pregnant woman? Don’t skip postpartum, do housework, and know what to do when you’re pregnant? I want Onomichi to honestly explain the intention of distributing this. Even so, it’s a disgusting flyer,” a Twitter user said
“Women are working so hard that giving birth is already more than enough,” another user wrote. “After giving birth, she started breastfeeding with a lack of sleep, and her body and mind weren’t in good condition. The first step is to inform fathers about the roles they should play and what they should do after giving birth.”
Hiratani’s apology: On Tuesday, Onomichi Mayor Yukihiro Hiratani, issued an apology on Twitter and on the local government website, saying that the flyer “does not match the sentiments of pregnant women, women in labor and other people involved in child-rearing.”
The city reportedly received phone calls and email complaints against the controversial pamphlets. 
“It was the content that made many people feel uncomfortable,” Hiratani added. “Distribution of this material has been discontinued because it contains expressions that encourage the stereotyped attitudes and practices of gender roles. I am very sorry.”
However, critics are calling for more action, with others suggesting the administration be investigated for chauvinism.
Share this Article
© 2024 NextShark, Inc. All rights reserved.