The Toxic Malaysian Obsession That Pushed Datuk Seri Vida To Offer 15yo Daughter A RM3.2 Million Car

Toxicity comes in many forms and with social media, it’s common for toxicity to manifest in the form of comments (negative, derogatory, hateful words) on posts. In Malaysia, cyberbullying is rampant. In fact, 28% of 6,953 young people in Malaysia have come forward to say that they have been a victim of online bullying. Most of the time – 43% of respondents confirmed – these experiences were through online games, private messaging apps and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, YouTube and Twitter). Not only that, in 2018, but Malaysia was ranked 6th in the world for cyberbullying. And a frequent topic for bullies? Physical appearance.

 

Whether it’s how tall, short, thin, fat, dark, fair – cyberbullies will pick on anyone who is not considered “pretty” or “handsome”. But who sets the standards for beauty? Not only do we have to look at the shortfalls in media’s inclusivity, but at the way that we as a community have catered to these unrealistic, discriminatory standards. With that, there seems to be an emphasis on the need to have fair skin – obvious in the number of beauty products available that tout the ability to “whiten” your skin. As a result, while other people around the world are moving away from the notion that “fair” is “lovely” and removing “whitening” from product packaging, Asians are still of the belief that to be “beautiful” you have to be “slim” and “fair”.

 

As a result, it’s not surprising that cosmetics titan Datuk Seri Hasmiza Othman, otherwise known as Datuk Seri Vida (DSV), has offered to buy her daughter a car in order to fulfil two goals – for her to slim down and to “become whiter”.

 

 

Not just any car, however, but a Mercedes Brabus GV9 6×6. Sharing a screenshot of her conversation with her daughter Cik B (whose real name is Edlynn Zamilleen Muhammad Amin) alongside the caption “How do you lose weight?” the 49-year-old asks the 15-year-old if she knows of the car and if the RM3.2 million car is what she wants. After Cik B replied with the affirmative, DSV lays down the conditions:

 

As long as Cik B slims down and becomes whiter (fairer).”

 

DSV has assured fans and critics alike that her daughter will be losing weight in a healthy manner, sharing that she intends to hire a personal trainer so her daughter can reach her target weight in five months. However, she stressed that her daughter needs to go down a few shades in skin tone as well in order to get the car. Speaking to the media, DSV stated:

 

It’s quite a steep purchase, but it’s okay as long as Cik B can slim down and become fairer.”

 

DSV’s obsession with her daughter “becoming fairer” is not unfounded. According to the “I Am Me” singer, Cik B has been subject to cyber-bullying as a result of her physical appearance as people found issue with her weight and darker-toned skin. As a result, the only daughter of the cosmetics mogul has been working on ‘improving’ and ‘becoming prettier’. To do so, Cik B has been using products that DSV’s company makes and markets (a marketing ploy) and DSV often posts updates of her daughters process on her Instagram. In a recent post, Cik B is seen smiling up at the camera, with a noticeably fairer complexion.

 

The comments on the image seem to act as proof that Malaysians view fairness as a condition for beauty.

 

 

Instead of commenting on her bright eyes or her clear skin, most comments are focused on how much “whiter” she has become. The comments include:

 

  • “Cik B is so cute.. Skin is already fairer…”
  • “Cik B is fairer. Pretty.”
  • “Cik B is cute and fairer.”
  • “She’s cute now.”

 

This shows the discriminatory view of beauty that we seem to have. ‘Lighter’ and ‘fairer’ skin has been almost fetishised in Asia, where most countries were taught that ‘white skin is supreme’ after having been colonised by the West for years. This belief is especially prevalent in India, where the caste system and idea that ‘dark is dirty’ is deeply rooted in its society and in countries like China, where people with ‘fairer’ skin are viewed as ‘beautiful’, ‘elegant’ and ‘rich’. However, globally, almost 60% of women in India and 40% across Africa use products marketed for lightening skin, including bleach (as reported by AJ+). Marketing research shows that whitening products reached a whopping 267 billion Malaysian ringgit in sales. When will we be able to eradicate discriminatory view of beauty and work on solving issues of colourism? Maybe we should start with our youth – let them know that beauty comes in all shapes, forms, colours and identities and teach them to embrace all forms of beauty.

 

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