Beauty pageants are not fair

Beauty pageants are not fairBeauty pageants are not fair
Highlights

India has always been obsessed with fair skin, and it seems like it is a long road ahead for this...

India has always been obsessed with fair skin, and it seems like it is a long road ahead for this stereotypical mindset of people to change as was evident in the recently held beauty pageant Femina Miss India that chose to shortlist only fair-skinned women, and body statistics that promote the skinny look.

While there were previous beauty pageants that chose models that were of all skin types sending a message that there is no partiality for the women with fair skin;the trend seems to have again reversed by allowing women with fair skin to reach the finale.

This issue is surely a concern for those who want to pursue the dreams in the field of modeling, and also sets a dangerous precedent of stereotyping. Though there are videos coming up against body shaming and negative portrayal of women's body, it is a sad thing that prestigious platforms are not making an effort to shred the baggage of obsession for fairness.

The organisers of the afore-mentioned beauty contest were attacked for selecting only light-skinned women, and human rights activists said the contest highlighted the nation's failure to respect women from all walks of life.

At the same time few of the fashion industry stakeholders are not surprised with the pageant selection in a country where a woman is often judged by her appearance and complexion. Mumbai-based, fashion stylist Archa Mehta says, "I agree with what the beauty pageants are doing. When it comes to Miss India contest, the winners will represent India globally.

If we include dusky people, they may not reach the last level globally at contests like Miss Universe or Miss World because there, the importance is given to fair skin. During a few pageants we represented dusky people as well. All these pageants have their own rules to select the contestants. Instead of discussing the beauty pageants selecting fair and skinny women, we should stop endorsing the fairness creams."

Many in the fashion industry seem to endorse the preference to fair skinned contestants as they think that dusky people will not win the at the global contest, a valid view bsaed on the previous references.

Hyderabad-based model Sruthika Varma says, "Beauty pageants has to select fair and skinny women, nothing is wrong in this.

Because every pageant has their own rules and certain criteria to select the contestant. There are couple of pageants like Asia Pacific Beauty Pageant that have the age limit from 16 years to 40 years, while in other pageants you have maximum age limit as 25 or 26 years. And when it comes to height, in Asia Pacific Beauty Pageant it starts with 5.2. When it comes to Femina Miss India they have their own criteria."

In such a scenario many also feel that women need more platforms that showcase them as people, who are capable, women with a lot of potential, who can achieve a lot, rather than women, who look good in a prescribed sort of format.

Hyderabad-based fashion designer Deepali Tholia says, "I don't believe that everyone should look fair, tall and skinny. And everyone should get the chance if they are talented; beauty pageant is all about beauty and brain and it is unfair if we are going with only looks."

YashuMashetty, a model from Hyderabad says, "I believe that all women are beautiful in their own way. I do not agree with what the beauty pageant is doing, but maybe it is becoming a kind of trend, which is wrong."

Hyderabad-based designer Gaurang Shah also disagrees that dusky people cannot contest for any beauty pageant. "While celeb showstoppers do add strength to a designer collection, it is the concept and the design elements, which eventually thrill the ramp audiences. In recent times, we have focused on highlighting our work on the ramp, drawing the attention of the audience to every single creative work that we showcase.

For us, our designs are showstoppers. When it comes to choosing the right model, we have chosen those that blend with our creative work. In our LFW show in Spring Summer 2016, we sprung a surprise as we combined with Supermodel Carol Gracias to break all the stereotypes as she sashayed down the ramp flaunting her baby bump," says Gaurang Shah.

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