For the second time in the past six months Elle magazine is being criticized for lightening the skin tone of a model on its front cover. The most recent example pertains to the January 2011 issue published in India and featuring former Miss World and Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
This is a shameful action on the magazine’s part. There is absolutely no plausible reason to lighten their beautiful, natural skin tone, except to diminish the model’s race. Beyond that, it also diminishes them as women. Altering their photo in such a manner says in a not so subtle way that they are not good enough as they are, so we have to make them better. That is all we need, yet another way to make both women and men self-conscious about their bodies.
Don’t we have enough problems with bulimia and anorexia derived from images of overly thin models plastered on innumerable magazines? Don’t we have enough people going under the knife for augmentation or reduction surgery of one kind or another? Don’t we have enough advertisements on how to build muscle in 90 days? Don’t we have enough balding remedies being pedaled like tonic water? The artificial and superficial beauty these vain messages promote are essentially saying, you are not good enough as God created you. No wonder so many in this country suffer from low self-esteem.
Now, the beauty merchants appear to want skin fading or bleaching. If that is so in vogue, why do so many of us spend a small fortune to get the perfect tan? Elle’s methodology could almost be construed to be “create controversy in order to sell more magazines.” If true, that is a disgusting and vile promotional effort. It is time to reject Madison Avenue’s notion of beauty by not buying such magazines on newsstands and canceling your subscriptions until the artificial and superficial image makers stop.