A picture featuring all of the finalists in the Miss India beauty pageant has sparked a fury debate on how the country’s beauty industry and media are totally obsessed with fair skin.
The collage which was published in the Times of India newspaper shows 30 headshots of the contestants.
All 30 contestants of the Femina Miss India pageant 2019 are no doubt stunning.
However, as all of the finalists wear their glossy long hair loose and have a virtually identical fair skin tone, observers threw a criticism that they were all “practically interchangeable.”
It began after a Twitter user Sameer Sewak shared the collage and posed a question, “What is wrong with this picture?” that it began to attract the public’s attention.
What is wrong with this picture? pic.twitter.com/61B23aYFr6
— Sameer Sewak (@Naa_Cheese) May 28, 2019
Following the picture making rounds on India’s social media, users started to poke fun at the picture as some netizens commented that they were all actually the same person.
While there is nothing wrong with the picture, the lack of diversity among the finalists has highlighted India’s obsession over fair skin.
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As Miss India beauty pageant faced heavy criticism over the lack of diversity shown in the picture, the organization’s grooming expert, Shamita Singha explained to BBC that the published picture did not reflect the actual skin tone of the contestants due to it being Photoshopped.
“This is not the skin tones of the actual pictures,” she said.
Singha added that tight publication deadline and newspaper print led to the change in the appearance.
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India’s obsession over fair skin when it comes to women is well known by many as fair skin is regarded as superior compared to darker tones since the country’s first fairness cream, Fair and Lovely was introduced to the mass market in the 1970s.
The skin whitening cosmetics have been among the highest selling in India thanks to the long list of top Bollywood celebrities who have appeared in its advertisements to endorse the products.
For years, Fair and Lovely’s commercials have always promised its consumers not just fair skin but also better job and marriage prospects.
Nevertheless, there have been campaigns held in recent years to encourage people to celebrate dark skin.
In 2014, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulating advertising body, has also set guidelines barring commercials from depicting people with darker skin color as “unattractive, unhappy, depressed or concerned”.
Unfortunately, the prejudice against people with darker tones still remains at large among many in Indian society and this collage of Miss India’s beauty pageant contestants definitely does not help to put an end to the prejudice.