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Queen Wars November 17, 2009

Posted by payjr in Uncategorized.
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We talked quite a bit in class today about Aishwarya Ray Bachchan being the globalized face of India. Her ability to transcend regions, cultures, and languages travels beyond L’Oreal mascara ads as she enters the realm of toys, more specifically Mattel’s very successful Barbie Doll.

Aishwarya+Rai+model+new+Bollywood+Barbie+doll

All seems well until a little competition starts creeping in.  Is there a picture finish for the race to that contract?

STIStory_370341.html

Here is another article on the subject: bollywood-barbie®

The article sheds light on the mixed ethnicity of  Katrina Kaif, whose mother is British.  Born in Hong Kong, her parents separated when she was young.  She was raised in Hawaii and later moved to England, her mother’s native country.  I find it interesting that SHE in fact was chosen (or given the opportunity via Aish declining) as the face of the Bollywood Barbie.  What does this say about the future “Queens” of Bollywood?  Does a globalized face equate to lighter skin tones?  What impact will this doll have on girls growing up in India?  Comments and questions are welcome.

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1. jasdev00 - November 17, 2009

I think this shows the direction India is headed. Indians have always preferred lighter skin to darker, despite the fact that a majority of Indians have darker skin tones. Fair skin is seen as the ideal skin tone. There are numerous products in India that push for fairer skin, and show that only those girls with lighter skin are happier, more successful, etc. Like this ad:

2. andrewmw11 - November 18, 2009

I think that this is an interesting point. The preference of lighter colored skin I feel is the preference all over the world. Central/South America also favor light skin, and have commercials to show it. However, in terms of India, did the creation of the “fairer skin” come from British influence or has it been around since before colonization? Also, does this preference then alienate India’s representatives to the world in comparison to the broader Indian audience? In other worlds, does the fact that a representative for a product must be light skin help bring people closer together in India, or does it cause tensions? Just some questions for thought.

Prof. R - November 20, 2009

Those are smart questions, Andrew. I believe that there is a bias toward “fair” skin even in Indian mythology, though it is no doubt exacerbated by colonization.

In some ways, the contemporary models/actresses who are light-skinned are seen in aspirational terms, as they are in any culture. Not many of us look like Julia Roberts or Jennifer Aniston or Eva Longoria, but these womn are what the world sees as essentially American.


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