It’s true that Ms. America was the target of many cruel and racist tweets, many of which were not true, but when I looked into what Indians had to say I found that Ms. Davuluri would have probably met with criticism had she chosen to compete in a pageant in India.
I found a particularly interesting quote from entrepreneur and author Varun Agarwal that read, “You know what’s ironical? A dusky girl like Nina would have never become Miss India. At least she became Miss America.”
It is no secret that most lotions and creams that are sold in India assure lighter skin. When I first moved here I remember buying lotions, creams, shower gels and deodorants which I later had to throw away because I hadn’t realized that they were all guaranteed skin lightening products. I was appalled at the billboards and TV commercials all encouraging women to buy lightening skin products.
What’s more is the fact that you will rarely see any lead actors or actresses in any Bollywood movies, rather the preferred stars all have lighter and ‘fairer’ skin.
Nevertheless one of the few dark-skinned movie stars, Nandita Das, has launched a campaign called “Dark Is Beautiful,” her goal is to fight the Indian stereotypes of “beauty.” A particular target of theirs is Shahrukh Khan, India’s leading male actor, who is a spokesman for skin lightening creams.
I read a particularly interesting article in The Hindu which posed a truly interesting connection between the Indian obsession of lighter skin and the American vision of a typical Ms. America; it’s either, “white or nothing.”
Sadly this is true, if it weren’t then there wouldn’t be a multi million rupee cosmetic industry thrives on promises of lightening a woman’s skin colour. Nina Davuluri would have not stood a chance in any beauty pageant held in India.
Psychologist Jamuna Tripathi took the words out of my my mouth when he said, “We live in a world that perpetuates stereotypes. Society has made people with dark skin feel apologetic. The good thing is that Nina has been so gracious through it all. Her self-confidence and maturity definitely make her a winner.”
Link to The Hindu article: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/pigment-of-our-imagination/article5142670.ece
Link to ‘Dark is Beautiful’ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/darkisbeautiful?fref=ts