Unfortunately, the entertainment industry has been built upon decades on decades of misogynistic, unrealistic beauty standards. We’ve been thought what’s “beautiful” and what is “not beautiful” through the media we consume. And in the same what that the media curated our expectations of beauty, it – on a subconscious level – created the unhealthy habit of ostracising those that do not fall under their (the media) standards. But, without excusing the choices that people make, bullies have actively chosen to attack and or make comments about all the ways in which their targets are “lacking”.
Malaysian singer, Siti Sarah binti Raisuddin – better known as Siti Sarah – recently took to her personal Instagram account to share her initial experience in the limelight. Sarah, who made her debut way back in 2001 in the competition ‘Bintang RTM’ , detailed the difficult time she had as a result of people who made fun of her looks. She was even apparently told:
“How do I sell [promote] this kid, with her looks she’ll be hard to sell,”
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On the way the industry treated her, Sarah says that at the time, even the “pretty” artists had a hard time promoting their projects, “what more those who did not have the looks”. But it is the abuse that she faced had at the hands of the public that took a toll on her.
“Even back then there were netizens, you know! Face not pretty la, talking about my nose la, calling me animal names. What animal was I not insultingly compared to? hahaha the sadness was real. There were times that I was down.”
But it was thanks to reporters and PR agents that made the effort to seek her out for photoshoots as well as her responsibility to her family and her support from her fans that kept her going. Over time, she made herself known in the music industry, gaining recognition as a versatile singer and even representing the nation on an international stage. And, after what the 36-year-old describes as “decades of struggles in the industry”, Sarah soon started a family, having gotten married in 2011.
However, she was soon faced with another challenge. In her caption, Sarah detailed losing her voice after giving birth to her first child.
“After giving birth to my first child, all of a sudden, my voice disappeared, when my voice disappeared, my income was lost ? at that point, it felt like God was taking away a source of income because all I knew at that point was to sing ?? “
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The ‘Saat Hilang Cintamu’ singer married to comedian Shuib Sepahtu on 26 February 2011, and have been blessed with three children – Uwais Alqarni, 9, Dzahira Talita Zahra, 6, and Ariq Matin who is now four years old.
It’s a good time to remember the golden rule: “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.” No matter how much your fingers itch to hit send, if it is not constructive feedback, it would be better for you to keep it to yourself. With the ease of news distribution these days, it is easy to focus on negative news and negative emotions – do we really want to add on to that? And if you find yourself on the receiving end of the negative comments, ensure to surround yourself with positive people like Sarah has – people who love, support and believe in you.
*Cover image credit: @sitisarahraissuddin