Beauty, Features

Kangana Ranaut: A Class Act on Shadeism

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The expression ladka gora ho ya kala par ladki gori hi honi chahiye  (A man's skin tone makes no difference, but a woman must have fair skin) is an expression commonly used in the South Asian community, to reflect the perceived beauty of fair skin. The idea that fair skin is more desirable than a darker skin tone has been prevalent in various South Asian communities. This ideology is also reflected through the popularity of skin lightening products, such as fairness creams. Bollywood superstars including Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, John Abraham, and others often lend their names to skin lightening products in exchange for endorsement deals. It’s no wonder that India is the largest market for these products, with a value of approximately Rs 3000 crore in the country alone. However, despite the popularity of these products and  lucrative endorsement deals that come with them, there is one actress you won’t see as a skin lightening cream spokesperson anytime soon: Kangana Ranaut. While promoting her latest film, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Ranaut spoke candidly with the Hindustan Times about her stance on the culture of skin lightening, and revealed that she had turned down a Rs 2 crore endorsement deal for a fairness cream. She explained that as a public figure she has certain responsibilities that she must follow, one of these being to act as a positive example to her young fans. She does not want to send her fans the wrong message about what is considered attractive or unattractive in terms of physical beauty. She also felt that taking part in such a campaign would be an insult to her sister Rangoli, who has a darker complexion. We love that Ranaut is embracing her status as a role model and taking a stand against an outdated idea of beauty. Beauty comes in all colours, shapes, and sizes, and we should celebrate difference rather than trying to cover it up. We hope more Bollywood stars follow Ranaut’s lead in standing up for true beauty! To find out more about the effects of Shadeism in the industry read our article, Shadeism: Lack of Beauty in Skin Tones from the June/July 2014 issue: bit.ly/1HwJmuk  

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