Almost every woman in Malaysia wants to be like them, dress like them, even walk and talk like them: Vivy Yusof and Noor Neelofa.
Two big names that created a huge impact in women’s lives day in and day out. Well, at least that’s what it’s like here in Malaysia. These two are the epitome of women empowerment, grace and success. Despite many claiming that their success stems from the fact that they were born with a silver spoon, these two icons didn’t take a day for granted - because if they did, they wouldn’t be where they are today. If anything, they’ve fully taken advantage of said privilege and built an empire in the fashion industry to make women feel beautiful and confident.
When you're at the peak of your success, things can't all be butterflies and rainbows. And when you're the talk of the town, it doesn’t take a whole lot to “trigger” netizens - especially on social media. When Neelofa launched her first turban line in a nightclub, people went absolutely berserk! The next 7 days after the incident, all you can see people talking about on all media vehicles was Neelofa and her rationality on the venue of choice for launching a hijab line. Everyone was quick to judge, quick to react, and they were so adamant to give that much attention to something that is so petty.
Vivy on the other sparked crazy reactions from the ladies because of her statement of what empowerment should be. She wrote an article for a local news portal to announce her 3rd pregnancy (congrats Vivy!). But things turned sour because instead of empowering, people felt she was being condescending. Vivy said that the article was taken out of context through her Instagram post but netizens fought back by saying it was not. Vivy herself didn't understand what the real issue was about. And it goes on and on and on until the “crispy rendang” issue came about. And let’s not go there.
You see, these two stories says a lot about us, the keyboard warriors - rather than these two women. These two women, despite being privileged, have worked and are still working their asses off to sustain an empire under their name. Because if they don't, other than the loss of exclusively designed hijabs, many hardworking people employed by them would lose their jobs. And the jobs that they're providing, puts food on someone's table today. We’ve given so much of our attention to these petty issues when social justice can serve a greater purpose.
Ultimately, we choose who and what goes viral and famous. We have that power. But let us not abuse this power. Fight for real social justice. Look around us, some are fighting for education rights and mental health. Fight with them by swinging the digital spotlight on real world issues. Change the the connotation of ‘keyboard warrior’ to a positive one. At least at SOLS 24/7, that is what we advocate for.
If you really want to make changes, there are a number of platforms that allow you to be the advocate of the social justice. Social justice that creates real impact in people’s live. At SOLS 24/7, we have 12 running programmes across Malaysia, providing help to individuals and communities in education, IT, health and many more (click here to see more). We’ve seen great success stories of the underprivileged community but stories like this are rarely shared and retweeted. Why can't social media be used to spread more good and positive things? Real social justice is more than just correcting the venue for a hijab launching or whatever someone said over a pregnancy announcement.
Real social justice is to make positive changes in a community as a whole. This kind of social justice are not often talked about and we let it pass by. How often do we focus on big achievements on social media for 7 days in a row? Or how often does a community project that creates lasting impact goes viral for the a prolonged period of time on all social media? Instead, we make famous out of ridiculous issues and personalities. And for what purpose?
Like the American journalist, Howard Cosell used to say “What's popular isn't always right. What's right isn't always popular”.