A picture of the finalists in the Miss India beauty pageant has reignited accusations that the country – and especially it’s beauty industry and media – is obsessed with fair skin.
A newspaper recently published a collage of all 30 contestants selected for the Femina Miss India pageant 2019, with observers saying the light-hued, long-haired women were practically interchangeable.
A Twitter user shared the image, from the Times of India, and asked: “What is wrong with this picture?”
As others pointed out, one could swap around all 30 pictures and no one would be able to tell the difference.
In fact, each of these women perfectly fit into the conventional notion of beauty, many said – tall, fair, straight hair, thin and “endowed with a collar bone”.
Many emphasized how these beauty pageants were imposing impossible beauty standards for women around the world. For young impressionable minds, this could be harmful.
India has tussled with the debate over lighter skin equalling beauty many times before. Socially, fair skin is often seen as a mark of higher caste and seen as more desirable for prospective spouses and producing fairer children.
Magazines and film studios have regularly been criticised for promoting the idea that dark skiing is less desirable – and this has often been illustrated by beauty pageants, both domestic and global.