Lisa Surihani: “Stop Offering Rape-y Roles To Us”

Growing up in this country, most of us can agree that female roles in Malaysian films or shows have long been portrayed as weak and voiceless. We often see local actresses in typical “girly” personas, in which their actions or decisions could be frustratingly questionable at times.

Scene: Loveable middle class girl falls in love with a rich dude — rich, ambitious girl enters the scene (usually evil) — DRAMA — leaves everything to fate — unrealistic happy ending.


Thankfully, the local entertainment scene is slowly shifting to include more empowering stronger female roles, evolving them from merely love interests or damsels in distress to strong heroines and even actual villains.

For instance, the women in Viu’s recent shows Salon, Jibril, The Bridge as well as Devoted, lead with charisma, intelligence and in some cases, ruthlessness.  At a press conference by Viu Malaysia, local starlet Lisa Surihani shared her thoughts about where the industry has been and should be going when it comes to women.

Here are some powerful messages from the stunning actress, educating Malaysia that women can actually so much more:

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A message to all you women out there 💜

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1. “I took a break because no good scripts were being given to me. The usual roles were getting boring — everything is a little too been there done that.

“When are we going to stop being raped on screen? Since sex is not allowed, that’s why the showmakers make rape seem okay. And wait for men to save the day”

2. “When you get offered a role, if you find that the script is silly/stupid, it’s okay for you to say NO. I have chosen roles where I was like, ‘Shit, what was I thinking?'”

3. “We need to stop focusing on what is perceived or deemed as rating-driven content because there are audiences that look for other contents. We gotta push the envelope. They want something new, something more.”

4. “After starring in Jibril, writers are seeing me in a different light. I hope that this domino effect will go beyond because women are hungry for these roles.”

5. “What we show on TV will subconsciously influence kids. I want to see women portrayed beyond sexualisations or our appearance. We are complex wholesome, sometimes not so positive. Enough with the rape-y roles.”

Preach, Lisa! Let’s focus on real Asian stories, non-Datin life. I mean, what about the middle-class people? We’ve got our stories too!