Malaysian ad implies being slim and fair is what you need to keep your husband, and commenters agree

Facebook/SW Dual Effect Malaysia

Women can only hold on to their husbands if they are slim and fair-complexioned – that seems to be the message of an ad in Malaysia for skin whitening and slimming product, Slimme White.

In fact, as many ads go, being skinny and fair-skinned is the panacea for most of life’s problems, especially when it comes to relationships – but we’ll come to that later.

So in this four-minute-long ad, we see a desperate, crying wife who’s chased out of the home by her husband after he divorces her.

In a series of flashbacks, we see how her husband has changed before and after marriage, from the sweet loving boyfriend who will take care of her when she’s sick, and cook for her if she doesn’t know how….

Before marriage: “When I’m sick will you take care of me?” “Of course… if I don’t, who will?”

To a heartless husband who won’t take his wife to the doctor when she’s sick and raises a ruckus (water is thrown on her) when the food she’s cooked is not up to his standards.

If that’s not emotional abuse, we don’t know what is.

After marriage: “You have legs? Here take this money [throws it at her], and go (see the doctor fast), I’ll be in trouble if you die here.” Harsh.

The husband complains that the food she’s cooked is bland, and splashes water in her face when she tries to tell him why.

After reminiscing on the good ol’ times and bemoaning how it’s all gone south, the woman – let’s call her Abused Wife (AW) – then goes to the home of an older friend for solace, where said friend introduces her to a mysterious product – Slimme White.

The friend encourages her to consume the bottle of liquid without actually telling her what it’s for.

Personally, that’s just creepy and I’d run for the hills at this point. But maybe AW was too distraught to think straight.

The frame then cuts to a month later, where the newly slim and fair AW (who has literally transformed into a different person as she’s played by another actress altogether), saunters down the street and catches the eye of, you guessed it, her ex-husband, who miraculously is able to recognise her.

Someone’s looking different.

As predictably as TV dramas go, husband regrets ever divorcing her and pleads for her return, but she rejects him, wishing him happiness as she goes along her way.

The story fades off before lines of text appear in Malay, which we’ve translated as:

“Treasure the people we love before we lose them forever. It’s not that our wives are not pretty, it’s only because they are too busy taking care of the family and doing the housework.”

The frame then cuts to the product with the tagline “Slimme White – Helps to bright skin and for weight loss”.

Sold yet?

One might think it’s tone-deaf and inappropriate to use the topic of marital strife and domestic abuse as a platform to sell your product, but strangely enough, it has worked.

The ad, posted on Slimme White’s Facebook page on Sept 25, has so far garnered an impressive 5,800 comments and over 30,000 shares.

Amazingly, a majority of commenters focused on the narrative – with some (yes, even women) agreeing that yes, that’s what happens when people get married, and this is why you shouldn’t neglect your looks after marriage. Seriously?

Everybody wants to tag their significant others so that they take this video as a lesson. And it’s like as if the guy is 100% wrong. But in my opinion, that’s not true. Women should also learn from this. Why is it that when you’re married, the woman doesn’t dress up for the husband? Doesn’t it say in Islam that the wife should be presentable for their husband. See, the husband comes back from work all tired and sees his wife looking like a witch. Think about it. The husband gets stressed from work, got so many things to think about. When he comes home, he wants to destress. When he gets home, he feels calm when sees a wife not looking like an old aunty. Why the wife didn’t take Slim(me) White from the start? Why after divorce then she wants to look nice? To show off to those not related to you? After that, the husband is also wrong. When the wife is sick, you should bring her to the clinic because she’s your responsibility. Your responsibility. Why like that? Throw money some more. Poor thing. In conclusion, this video shows that the woman is also at fault, the husband is also at fault. Watch and judge them both, not just the man.
Facebook/SW Dual Effect Malaysia

“Moral of the story, even if you’re married, you should still take care of how you look. Maybe our husbands are not like this but they still like to see their wives look good. So take that as a lesson.”
Facebook/SW Dual Effect Malaysia

Only one user brought up the salient point of how the advertisement’s message is misogynistic and misplaced, not to mention shallow:

‘Monyet’ is monkey and ‘tolong viralkan’ is help to make viral.
Facebook/SW Dual Effect Malaysia

Controversial advertisements touting skin whitening products are not new to the country, the most recent being Watson Malaysia’s ‘black face’ ad accused of perpetuating the ‘fairer complexions are better’ stereotype.

But judging by the response to this latest one so far, it’s a win for Slimme White, and a zero for womenkind.

Watch the video here: