No, you aren’t seeing double in the photos below. And that’s what Miss India critics are calling out.
The Miss India beauty pageant is under fire from people calling out its seeming lack of diversity after an image showcasing finalists’ headshots showed only fair-skinned faces with very similar physical characteristics.
The image, which has gone viral, is from a newspaper spread in The Times of India.
Despite India being one of the world’s more ethnically diverse countries in the world, the 30 finalists appear to fit one standard of beauty, critics argued.
“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,” she further argued.
Many online stressed there was nothing overtly wrong with the women themselves, but what irked them was the lack of representation from a population of 1.3 billion.
They said it mattered which finalists make it to the pageant because they go on to represent India on a wider stage in Miss World, with many going on to become Bollywood actresses, appearing in front of millions of impressionable young women.
IMAGES WERE RETOUCHED: ORGANIZERS
In an interview with BBC News, the grooming expert for the pageant, Shamita Singha conceded that the headshots had been retouched because the contestants looked "like plastic.”
She further blamed the newspaper’s print for the way the contestants looked and stressed that the contestants’ skin was not as fair as the viral photo suggested.
"This is not the skin tones of the actual pictures," Singha said. The organizers have also responded by posting multiple photos of the contestants on its Facebook page -- with more noticeable differences in appearance.
But critics point out that this latest fiasco didn’t happen in a vacuum.