Photo of Miss India Finalists Sparks Skin Color Controversy

A collage of the 2019 Miss India finalists is causing a global controversy.

The picture, which features 30 headshots of the beauty pageant finalists, was published in the Times of India newspaper, and immediately sparked a conversation about colorism, which is defined as “a form of skin color stratification and skin color discrimination that assigns lighter-skinned individuals and particularly women greater worth and value.”

“Miss India contestants. They all have the same hair, and the SAME SKIN COLOUR, and I’m going to hazard a guess that their heights and vital stats will also be similar. So much for India being a ‘diverse’ country,” read one tweet that went viral in the discussion.

“What is wrong with this picture?” wrote another.

“There is a perception they have to emulate Western beauty standards to win,” said Radhika Parameswaran, a professor at Indiana University’s Media School.

The pageant’s grooming expert Shamita Singha told the BBC she insisted the Photoshop team were told not to alter skin tone, but blamed a tight publication deadline and newspaper print for the change in appearance.

“This is not the skin tones of the actual pictures. These are just some of our girls in the last year. Everyone’s skin colour is kept as is.”

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