The Miss India pageant has come under fire for lacking diversity after a newspaper released headshots of the 30 finalists that looked identical identical.
The Times of India published a full-page collage of the 30 women who will compete on June 15 for the spot to represent their country at the Miss World pageant in Thailand in December.
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But critics slammed the organization after it was pointed out on social media that it seemed all the finalists were identical and lacked true representation of the country’s women.
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“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,” one woman said on Twitter.
Another person shared the same image and asked why couldn’t a “Miss India be a dusky or dark brown or darker chocolate brown?”
One Twitter user described the group of women as an “assembly line production.”
Fair skin has become an obsession for the country in which the top Bollywood actors and actresses have endorsed skin lightening products which have become among the highest selling products in the country, according to the BBC.
Beauty pageants like Miss India have been accused of highlighting that obsession.
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Shamita Singha, the pageant’s grooming expert, told the BBC that the original pictures were retouched because the contestants looked “like plastic”, but insisted the photoshop team was not told to alter skin tone.