The new L'Officiel India cover totally eeeeked me out. In my mind the photoshoot probably went something like this: Ten girls. Cream and beige tone dresses. 'Now pout.. breasts out.. sexy sexy year'. And it's a wrap.
It's neither brilliantly styled nor is it an amazing concept (especially for an 100th Anniversary issue) but I don't usually go in on covers I don't like. As usual, it seems as if L'Official was cashing in on star power - in numbers. Yes, Priyanka Chopra and others are in this picture somewhere. But you'll probably have to look closely. (Update: Priyanka isn't in here like original news reports suggested but I don't blame them for being confused).
This is exactly what freaked me out. All these women - some even successful and smart - look the same. So similar that is scared me. The nose jobs scared me. The skin tones, or lack there of, scared me. THE COVER IS SCARY.
The problem with Indian female beauty is bigger than an addiction to plastic surgery and fair skin. It's insecurity. In a nation of diverse races, languages, religions, and yes, skin color, we have defined beauty as one image - the white girl. Indian women aspire to look white but are told to 'act' Indian. But this cover doesn't reflect the definition of Indian beauty outside of India - Lakshmi Menon, Freida Pinto and Padma Lakshmi are just some examples of how NRIs (Non-Resident Indians as the Indian government defines us) are changing the image of Indian women worldwide. The question is: will women in India follow? The issue isn't just insecurity of a women's own natural beauty, it's a societal issue in India. If beauty is redefined, will it destroy the system and the way we've defined it for centuries? Will the elite - who thrive on social structure - allow females from all walks of life to be defined as 'beautiful'? Clearly this runs deeper than we all think. But the history is the past and it's funny that while the rest of the world - including westerners - have embraced diverse images of beauty (and natural beauty), Indians have decided not to follow suit. Indians don't want to follow but this might be the time for an exception.