During 50s, the rise of education in Malay, positive growth of rubber prizes and shift from social and religious orientation Malay publication to commercially orientation entertaining magazines of pre war period caused the increase number of Malay magazines. These magazines was filled with incongruity, portraying sexy women on their covers, despite the message of religion in the text. Magazines that were the best representative of the shift culture would be Asmara, Fashion and Aneka Warna.(Scholarbank.nus.edu.sg, 2015)
Aneka Warna, an entertainment magazine which were popular in Malaya and it was mainly targeted to adults. It contained soft porn stories and sexy photographs of foreign as well as local actresses and singers. Asmara was another entertainment magazine that focused on issues regarding women and love. It contained many sexual pictures, women love stories and pictures of Hollywood and Bollywood artists. Fashion, the first Malay Fashion weekly magazine of Malaya that lasted for 15 years contained news and articles on women and fashion , film stars and linked fashion of clothes to ways of modern living.(Scholarbank.nus.edu.sg, 2015)
Involvement of western culture and mindset toward the beauty of body developed a new trend of exercising among Malay women in order to get beautiful bodies. Women’s bodies, became a key indicator in showing women’s status and position. Therefore, those articles which I have mentioned above were showing the content related to beautiful body becomes a powerful assets in showing confidence and maintaining sexual attraction in marriage. They want to give women the emphasization on the needs of time, money and efforts investment on their bodies. Such articles can be seen through magazines such as Asmara. Adopting the beauty care of western women seems a must preference for Malay women in that stage. Makeup and skin care become the needs in order to become stunning. Learning on ways of wearing high heels, making modern western hairstyle, matching accessories with clothes became part of modernity’s lessons. Malay women’s preoccupations with beautification in this period were characteristic of this time Furthermore, over emphasising on sexuality and recommendation of implying seductive manner in magazine such as Asmara causing Malay women begin to lose their identity. Term of “malu” is being applied within these women that mimicked the Western culture and exposed their body to the public. “Malu” has several connotation but the meaning here were most probably saying they were ashamed in carrying the honor of family and society.(Scholarbank.nus.edu.sg, 2015)
In conclusion, modernity of malay women might be great in encouraging them to improve their appearance just like how the western female did in order to be more confident and impressive. However malay women were losing their identity and experiencing corruption in morality while chasing for fancy and perfection. Islamic intellectuals also showed their anxieties toward the adoption of western modernity in malay female society as they clearly understand that those “modern” practices were opposing their Malay and Islamic believes. Magazines at here become a wicked tool in spreading the yellow culture and influencing women’s decision making process. They were used for the inappropriate intentian, leading Malay women to a dark world of American influence and causing them being judged and criticised badly.
Here are the magazine cover of Fashion magazine and Asmara magazine that I kept mentioned and discussed about. Evidence of western culture was being implemented in Malay female society could be seen through these magazines.
image above shows the magazine cover of Fashion. As you can clearly seen from the screenshot, the women began to know how to make up.They darken their eye brow and coloured their lip with striking red lipstick. On the corner left, there was image of the main character in the magazine was wearing a gorgeous western gown while taking photo, showing the implementation of western culture in their fashion.(Sejarahwanita.org, 2015)
Image above shows the Malay women were presented themselves in a more sexy way. Implementation of western culture can be seen through this magazine cover. For example, all the models in the cover were wearing makeup and their red lips were sharp and recognisable. Their hair was being permed or tied prettily. Besides, the model in the middle was wearing a sweet heart line dress that showing half of her breast and posing a sexy pose while taking photos. The most significant and prove the adoption of western modernity occurred would be their high heels. (Sejarahwanita.org, 2015)
Scholarbank.nus.edu.sg, (2015). [online] Available at: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/bitstream/handle/10635/15580/Kartini02Chap.pdf?sequence=3 [Accessed 26 Jun. 2015].
Sejarahwanita.org, (2015). Sejarah Wanita » Women’s Magazines in Malaysia. [online] Available at: http://www.sejarahwanita.org/womens-editorial/#mg [Accessed 26 Jun. 2015].