Netizens slam ad on whitening product as demeaning towards women

Netizens slam  ad on whitening product as demeaning towards women
PHOTO: The Star

PETALING JAYA: A video promoting a skin whitening and weight loss product has earned the wrath of netizens for its portrayal of domestic abuse.

The 4-minute video, which was originally posted on the Kokom Facebook page, depicts a husband who divorces his wife over her physical appearance.

The video first shows the wife being mistreated by her husband who finds fault with everything she does.

This is in stark contrast to his loving nature shown in flashbacks, presumably before marriage, where he said he would love her no matter what she looks like.

At one point of the video, the husband throws his wife out of the house and divorces her with the "talak tiga" - an irrevocable divorce with the husband declaring three times that he divorces his wife.

The video then shows the woman confiding in her friend, who in turn gives her a beauty product that ultimately transforms her into a beauty.

Later in the video, the man notices his now beautiful ex-wife passing by and tries to win her back. The "transformed" wife is portrayed by a different actress altogether.

The woman, however, refuses to take him back.

"Kokom" is actually Cocombee Studio, the production house that produced and directed the video for a cosmetics brand, SlimmeWhite Malaysia.

The video, which was uploaded on Sept 25, has garnered over 7,000 reactions and close to 9,000 shares.

While some praised the video for portraying "the reality of life", many have also questioned the message it was trying to convey to the public.

They have accused it of objectifying women, saying the message it sends is that a woman who maintains her looks is less apt to face domestic abuse.

As the video went viral and received public backlash, Cocombee Studio said in a Facebook comment it had no ill-intention in producing the video.

It said the violent scenes in the video were just to make it more "dramatic".

"The video tells you, if you don't like how your wife looks, don't treat them like they're nothing because they have been working hard for you and do everything to make you happy.

"The main point of the video is, appreciate your spouse. It is based on some true events," the company said, adding that there have been cases where men want their ex-wives back as they look prettier than before.


In a statement to The Star, Cocombee Studio said SlimmeWhite Malaysia would be taking legal action against an English language entertainment and lifestyle blog site that first brought the issue to light.

The company alleged that the blog site had "twisted" the message behind the video.

"They have also spread the video on the Internet without our permission, neither have they approached us or SW (SlimmeWhite Malaysia) for an explanation.

"They have also implied that our advertisement is demeaning towards women because they think we urge women to be fair and thin to prevent their husbands from being violent," the company said in a statement.

Earlier this year, pharmacy chain Watsons Malaysia faced a similar backlash when it ran a video, "Legenda Cun Raya", depicting dark skin as unattractive.

Filmed in Bahasa Malaysia, with English subtitles, the video featured a model in blackface.

After a public backlash, Watsons Malaysia removed the video and apologised.

Watch the video here:

on Facebook


Posted by SW DUAL Effect Malaysia on Monday, 25 September 2017

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