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A recent photo of Femina Miss India 2019 pageant finalists makes us wonder why all contestants must fit a particular template to be called ‘beautiful’.
Recently, The Times of India published a collage of all contestants selected for Femina Miss India 2019. The strange thing about this collage was that despite the fact that India is such a diverse country with different skin tones, hair structure and body types, the collage looked like a ‘xerox copy’.
After seeing the picture one Twitter user shared the picture and asked people, “What is wrong with this picture?
After that, Twitterati weren’t late to notice that how the collage represented one single tone “the fair one”
This picture has again raised the question of inclusivity in the beauty pageant industry. The Miss India pageant has been pretty often criticised for not being a representation of India’s diverse ethnicities. Though this time there is a certain amount of representation from the North Eastern states, it still feels as though all the women look quite alike.
Even when it comes to linguistic diversity one doesn’t see any other language in the contestant videos apart from English. India is a multi-lingual country and Miss India is a national pageant and a representation of Indian women. Yet, it doesn’t feel so.
This particular collage has again raised the debate of the country’s obsession with ‘my fair lady’. It is startling to see how there are hardly any brown skin tones among this group. How can all the contestants for Miss India be so fair and have a similar skin tone when India itself is a country of diversity and brown women?
Obviously, people belonging to different regions cannot look similar and have the same skin tone. Hence, it is hard to say if it is their natural skin colour that has been photographed, whether they have been loaded with ‘fairness’ makeup and beauty products, or if they have been digitally whitewashed. No matter what the issue may have been, this photo collage raises the big question of how we as a society still want our women to fit into that fair, tall, slim and straight hair category.
Miss India whitewashing all the diverse contestants to make them fit into the ideal beauty stereotype raises a lot of questions about our society as a whole. Many young women do try different ways to just fit into these norms of ‘ideal beauty’ because otherwise, they feel unaccepted by their peers. Teenage girls suffer due to low self-esteem and try extreme methods which include using bleach creams and makeup products at a very young age because of the idea that only ‘fair is lovely’.
The message that Miss India is giving a lot of young women out there is disappointing. Instead of promoting acceptance, it goes back to the same old societal norm of one-size-fits-all when it comes to female beauty.
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