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Did Elle Lighten Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's Skin on Indian Cover?

Goddamn it, Elle. "I'm Dreaming of A White Christmas" isn't supposed to be a racist aspirational anthem.

The tune's a familiar one: women from countries where much of the population is darker skinned are told that paleness is next to godliness, that in order to be beautiful, they need to whiten up. A dark skinned actress is made lighter because, even in her world-renowned beauty, she's not good enough the way she is. Women, by extension, will implicitly understand that if not even Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is beautiful enough without products that alter her appearance, imagine all of the work that they must have to do, imagine all of the products that they must buy to even deserve to count themselves as members of the same species as female celebrities.


Feel bad about yourselves, ladies! Feel bad and buy what we're selling.

Judge for yourself:

Illustration for article titled Did emElle/em Lighten Aishwarya Rai Bachchans Skin on Indian Cover?
Illustration for article titled Did emElle/em Lighten Aishwarya Rai Bachchans Skin on Indian Cover?

What do you think, readers? Do you think Indian Elle whitened Rai Bachchan, or are they just taking artistic license to achieve the look that they wanted for their cover? Do you think the lightening can be attributed to lighting? Does it matter?

Race Row Over Fashion Bible Elle's Cover Shoot After Bollywood Star's Skin Is "Whitened" [Daily Mail]

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So I snagged the contrast image and dropped it into GIMP and adjusted the color levels until the whites of her eyes were actually white. Or, at least, they looked white to me. And she is pale. Pale pale. Darker than the cover, but then, the lighting in the shot is a lot darker.

Which makes me think that they probably did the same thing for the magazine cover, and with the really bright lighting, it washed her out.

Remember, I was trying to whiten her eyes, not lighten her skin, and this is what I came up with. I'm not an artist, but I can use the Color Balance tool.