Malaysia to revise textbook that asks girls to ‘protect the modesty of their genitals’ or risk shame
The textbook is meant for nine-year-olds.
Malaysia’s education ministry has said it will send out stickers to cover a graphic in a children’s textbook that tells girls how to “save” their modesty, AFP reported on Wednesday.
The graphic showed that girls should “protect the modesty of their genitals”, dress modestly, change clothes behind closed doors, and not spend time in quiet locations alone. The health and physical education textbook is meant for nine-year-olds.
Amira, the character in the graphic, risks bringing shame on her family, getting ostracised by friends and facing emotional problems if she does not protect her modesty, the pictures show.
Activists had said the book was teaching children that victims of sex attacks had themselves to blame and that girls should be ashamed of their bodies.
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching told the BBC that the fact that the graphic was published showed a failure in the ministry’s quality control. She said the ministry “lacked the sensitivity needed to avoid such a mistake”. She said “the general understanding on sex education is still low”.
Teo also told BBC that the ministry would consider changing the way it produces textbooks, and get experts to check the material before it is sent for printing.
The ministry also hopes to send out revised pages within a month, reported the South China Morning Post.