Malaysian Cosmetic Brand Under Fire for Using the Same Model to Portray Different Women of Color
A Malaysian cosmetic brand was put on blast online after it released a short video using one model to portray other women of color for its new foundation line.
C. Code Cosmetics was called out for its ad, according to Coconuts Kuala Lumpur. In addition to the cosmetic brand, Twitter user @Roshinee_M also called out retail chain Watsons Malaysia for sharing the 39-second clip.
Hello @watsonsmy, I noticed you took down a video after a bunch of us Indian girls gave feedback on it this morning.
Unfortunately, I only have a scr shot of the video but I think it suffices. Thought I’ll share some thoughts/Indian facts here cause you didn’t reply me on IG ☀️ pic.twitter.com/BRPBWoAsXF
The Twitter user explained the cosmetic brand’s ad showcases a model in three shades starting from “light beige” to “sand.” She wore different ethnic clothes to portray a Chinese, Malay and Indian woman, all while lip-syncing to the revised version of “Saya Anak Malaysia” (“I Am a Child of Malaysia”).
For context, it’s a short vid to sell foundation. The model showcased three foundation shades, by depicting it on three ‘races’, the same model in diff ethnic clothes (Chinese, Malay then Indian – fair to ‘dark’)
She sang it to a revised version of Saya Anak Malaysia
@Roshinee_M, who is of Indian descent, spoke of the misrepresentation of her culture and the lack of diversity.
Stating that it was “clear” that the brand didn’t have any Indian people on set, she explained, “No Indian girl is wearing a flower garland casually like that. Sebenarnya, we often use those smaller gardlands to adorn the pictures/statues of Hindu gods.”
Indian people do wear ornate flower gardlands, but typically only during rites/rituals such as during an engagement, wedding, funeral, etc. You know, that sort of ceremonial things.
No one is out here wearing a jasmine garland as a fashion necklace.
In addition to the outfit, the model also put her hands together and moved her head sideways.
“I guess you just relied on what your idea of being Indian is – and reproduced that. It is unfortunate but not surprising that such a forced muhibah video concept regurgitated such a stereotypical and flawed view of Indians,” she said. “The head/hand shaking was duly acknowledged too.”
The Twitter user then called out the company for choosing to go with one model instead of approaching an Indian woman.
Or perhaps you couldn’t employ a Malay/Indian person in this short ad – because most of your cosmetics, including this advertised foundation is actually NOT INCLUSIVE for the many darker skinned women in Msia. So you had to get the fair model to put on your ‘dark’ Sand shade
The retail chain later had a spokesperson contact @Roshinee_M who said that after being made aware of the issue, will take future steps to “do better” and “be better educated on these issues moving forward.”
Video was produced by an influencer for the c.code (who have since apologised too), then reposted by Watson’s. Watson’s still took responsibility for it though, and clarified they will take necessary steps. Thanks Watson’s
Here’s hoping we see less of these sort of videosss
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