Cultrual Jam Assignment

Original Ad: Simplysiti

Centeno, A. (2017, June 27). “10 Must-Try Beauty Brands in South East Asia.” April Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.aprilmag.com/2017/06/27/10-must-try-beauty-brands-in-south-east-asia/

Analysis

The effects of colonization have left a lasting impression on the lives of millions of affected residents in former colonized countries such as South Africa, Malaysia, and India. In particular, the notion of skin bleaching is becoming a pertinent issue in Malaysian society due to the socio-cultural obsession with fair or light skin. However, Malaysia is unique with respect to the seemingly cosmopolitan makeup of its society, which contains ethnic Malaysians, Chinese, and Indians.

However, the problem with this ad is that it attempts to capitalize on the notion of fair skin by pushing materialistic consumerism. The ad emphasizes how the use of the “beauty-enhancing” product can be used as part of the daily regime to improve one’s health¬† and beauty. The ad ignores the negative psychological and physical effects of skin bleaching in favour of the medicalization of the human body. Essentially, the ad is pointing how female bodies are meant to be sexualized and objectified by the continual need to apply skin bleaching ointment onto the faces of darker skinned individuals.

I plan to apply a Jamming Philosophy towards this ad by capitalizing on the recent Najib-meme circulating around Malaysian social media while attempting to lampoon the ad to offer a social critique towards the problem of materialistic and unrealistic standards of beauty found within many societies throughout the world. The main problem with skin bleaching ads is that their popularity is due to the long-standing notions of patriarchal colonization, which had caused widespread social inequality between lighter skinned and darker skinned individuals.

Jammed Version of Ad

¬† My jamming philosophy attempts to subvert the original advertisement by intentionally (and cartoonishly) making the female model in the ad appear to be as white as a ghost. The ad is further subverted through the use of the currently popular Bahasa Malayu phrase, “Malu apa bossku?” or “Why the shame, boss?”. The phrase was original spoken by former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak where he attempts to comment on the fact that “he has nothing to be ashamed of as he is simply presenting the facts” (Dzulkifly, 2019). This is despite the overwhelming and ongoing charges against the former Prime Minister due to the scandal arising from the state-run 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) (Dzulkifly, 2019).

Nonetheless, the phrase is meant to be ironic, in that it is directly asking the question of why a person viewing this ad or using skin bleaching products would be ashamed of who they are in terms of their cultural identity. I added an extra few sentences for allowing the viewer to have a moment of self-reflection about what they see in the media with the phrases, “Don’t Everything You See in Advertising. Believe in Yourself.” These words are meant as words of encouragement and as a way for females to re-evaluate themselves through a sociological lens to understand how media advertisements attempt to “sell” prescribed subordinated gender roles. Thus, the assertion to the trending phrase forces women to think about how they are blindly following materialistic beauty trends by subscribing to the notion that fairer skin is better instead of accepting and being content with their own skin colour.

 

References

Dzulkifly, D. (2019, February 6). “Now there’s a ‘Malu apa bossku’ song, and the rapper wants Najib’s forgiveness.” Malay Mail. Retrieved from https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/02/06/now-theres-a-malu-apa-bossku-song-and-the-rapper-wants-najibs-forgiveness/1720317

Centeno, A. (2017, June 27). “10 Must-Try Beauty Brands in South East Asia.” April Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.aprilmag.com/2017/06/27/10-must-try-beauty-brands-in-south-east-asia/