Vogue India recently issued their 10th-anniversary issue which featured Kendall Jenner, many people were disgruntled with the fact that in a country that has so much diversity, the magazine chose to feature a caucasian woman.
There are many issues with this choice. India is known for glorifying fair skin from its movies to the lyrics in songs, but also a majority of South Asian actresses are renowned for their fair skin. Moreover, these same actresses are featured in ads to sell skin bleaching products in order to seem more attractive. South Asian women have faced a high amount of scrutiny if they do not have fair and lovely skin. Promoting fair skin is a real issue in India. Many women feel inferior to others if they do not have the same fair complexion and the age old question “Who will marry you?” is brought up. South Asian women have been forced to conform to euro-centric ideals in order to feel accepted within society, and this cover portraying a white woman only pushes this agenda that euro-centric features are more appreciated.
Fair skin is sold in a bottle in India. And now, this cover is showing that in a country with gorgeous women who have skin kissed by the rays of the sun, a white woman is more attractive and should be celebrated on their 10th-anniversary.
Given that many Indians are trying to embrace all shades of brown skin, this magazine cover sets us back in terms of portraying diversity within India. Actors, like Abhay Deol, have recently taken to social media to mock fairness creams to demonstrate how useless and degrading the creams really are. It would be great for Vogue India to see this issue and embrace all skin tones instead of plastering Kendall Jenner on the cover. It would be extremely refreshing to see a magazine like Vogue demonstrating that beauty is not limited to euro-centric features. South Asia is not lacking models that could be on the cover promoting the beauty and diversity of a country like India. Lisa Haydon is one of the few models that comes to mind! Moreover, celebrating 10 years of Vogue India, the magazine could have promoted Indian designers! This is an opportunity to show how amazing and vibrant South Asian clothing is! By conforming to the typical guidelines, Vogue India truly cut itself short. From designers like Manish Malhotra to Ritu Kumar and many more, India is full of talent. If only Vogue India decided to break the mold and portray this talent perhaps the cover would not have gathered such backlash.
I acknowledge the fact that Sushant Singh Rajput was modeling alongside Jenner for some of the shots. Even though he is an Indian actor, I wonder why did they not choose an Indian actress to model alongside him?
In other words, Kendall Jenner is a beautiful woman, but I wish Vogue India had taken this opportunity to promote Indian models who have had a harder time breaking into the industry. Given that the modeling industry favors euro-centric features, it would be a refreshing change to show some diversity and embrace Indian culture.