The Construction of Beauty in Malay Magazine Advertisements

  • Weng Marc Lim Monash University
  • Ding Hooi Ting Monash University


ABSTRACT The images in advertisements have the power to shape one’s perception, specifically the way one looks at the world. While the images of women portrayed in most advertisements in the American and European context are often seen as a creation of artificiality that establishes an impossible standard of physical perfection for most women, the question of whether such a state of affairs exists in the Asian context and the underlying reasons for such a state remains in ambiguity. This paper seeks to shed some light in this dark area of the scholarship and contribute its findings to the body of knowledge as it aims to provide an in-depth investigation on how women are portrayed in Malay advertisements and the implications that may be perceived by its viewers, with a concentration on the area of artificiality. Several distinguished famous advertisements featuring women found in Malay magazines that are distributed worldwide were analyzed using a qualitative thematic analysis. The findings of the study indicates that women in Malay advertisements were being portrayed: (i) in an ideal yet artificial state of perfect facial beauty, (ii) passive and as a precious belonging to men, (iii) young with the characteristics of intelligence, cheer and beauty, (iv) being absolutely slim in all conditions, and (v) having high confidence even in their worst periods of the month. The rationales in the elucidation of the observed phenomenon and the subsequent theoretical and managerial implications were also presented in the paper. Keywords: Advertising, Artificiality, Malay, Portrayal, Women
How to Cite
Lim, W. M., & Ting, D. H. (2011). The Construction of Beauty in Malay Magazine Advertisements. Contemporary Management Research, 7(3).