Hasnain Lehri and Rabia Butt have been around the modeling industry for quite a while now and they have gained much popularity in recent years. They have been the face of many high-end brands and graced us with their presence in every fashion week. In 2015 they posed for the elite brand Elan for their collection named ‘Jasmine Court.’
In the series of photographs, the photo-shoot takes a sudden shift and Hasnain Lehri seems to be replaced by a horse is what the audience laughing. Twitter got super busy cracking jokes over the photo-shoot.
Apart from the jokes, there was one unsettling thing that not a lot of people picked on.
Unfortunately, Rabia Butt was purposely tanned in this shoot because it looks like Elan couldn’t find themselves a dark model. This is indeed what we call whitewashing in media. The concept behind this is that when white people are cast – be it fashion industry or films – to portray non-white roles.
Instead of creating opportunities for dark-skinned women we are robbing them off of it by casting fair-skinned women to play their role. It doesn’t make sense what they are trying to say here. Are dark-skinned women not beautiful enough to be cast as models? If that’s a yes then why make yourself politically acceptable by painting them brown.
Now, most of you will argue with me that this is an old shoot, however, after looking at their Instagram, the problem still exists. Their models appear to be unnaturally tan. See for yourself.
What is Pakistan’s Obsession with White Skin After All?
It looks like Pakistani’s have the “Bleaching Syndrome”.
Throughout our history, the subcontinent has been on the radar of various European settlers and traders, including the Portuguese, Dutch, and French. All these invaders were fair in comparison and hence pushed their narrative of associating light skin with power.
Being subjected to a succession of white overlords, we have been brainwashed into equating light skin with power, status, and desirability. However, with movements like Dark is Beautiful or Dark and Lovely, the narrative seems to be changing a little. People are called out for endorsing the old ideologies that marginalized people of our community.
However, what’s even uglier is when brands or other devices of media to stay relevant and appear “woke and inclusive” adhere to such ways. If you aren’t brave enough to cast a brown woman as the face of your brand then don’t. Don’t try to come off as a responsible and inclusive brand if you can’t do justice to it.
It is downright ugly and shallow.