India’s whitening battle continues as women disappointed
NEW DELHI and PUNE: With Pond’s and TRESemme announcing its subtitle winners in December, Indian women are again lashing out over the continued campaigns directed at them to whiten up.
Many praise the event as “the ultimate launch pad for young women with aspirations to make it big in the fashion, film and glamor industries,” as IndiaTimes wrote.
The website added that the pageant, in its 50th year, “has created actors and celebrities out of Zeenat Aman, Juhi Chawla, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sushmita Sen, Diana Hayden, Dia Mirza, Neha Dhupia, Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta to name a few. They represent the perfect woman – one who has the classic combination of beauty with brains.”
But women are angry that these sort of promotions of what beauty is has continued to push women away, especially if they aren’t white enough.
“Certainly this sort of thing is all about promoting Pond’s and their continued push to tell India and us women that being dark is not beautiful,” said activist Tanila King, who was in Pune to demonstrate and pass out information cards to those heading to the area in order to tell them how wrong the pageant is.
“It is time that we Indian women stand up and tell each other that being dark, black and brown is nothing to be ashamed of. We are Indians and we are all beautiful,” she told Bikyanews.com.
She received numerous angry stares from participants and leading fashion figures as she attempted to get near the entrance. Police moved her and her group of fellow women’s activists away from the area where celebrities were arriving.
One passersby simply told her, “you’re just angry because you are dark and ugly.”
The winners of the Ponds Femina Miss India Pune 2013 will be fast tracked to the finale which will be held in Mumbai, thus giving them a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Women in India have long been bombarded with the concept of white is better and although campaigns to end the “ideal woman” promoted by Bollywood and advertising campaigns, little change has been made.
For King and her group of female activists, she says that the elite have bought into the idea that because they are whiter than most Indians they have something better and this is “ridiculous.”
“We have to change this because if we don’t Indian women will continue to struggle with their identity and it will hurt women. We are not objects that can be bought and sold based on our skin color. It is wrong,” she added.
** This article was originally published on December 9, 2012.