LIFESTYLE

Priyanka Chopra's Maxim India Cover Slammed For 'Unrealistic' Armpit Photoshopping

'It's no wonder there is a body image problem across the globe.'

20/06/2016 13:27 | Updated 21 June 2016

Priyanka Chopra's Maxim India cover has caused quite a stir, after fans accused the magazine of Photoshopping her armpit beyond recognition.

The Bollywood actress is pictured on the magazine cover, holding her hair up into a ponytail. The underneath of her arm is so smooth and hair-free that it resembles that of a plastic doll.

Body image campaigners have branded the cover as "alarming" as it portrays "unrealistic beauty ideals" that could be damaging to vulnerable young women.

The heavily-edited armpit was first called out by BuzzFeed India writer Srishti Dixit, who said it might make young girls feel ashamed or embarrassed of their own armpits.

She wrote: "Lots of people aspire to look like actresses on magazine covers. And it’s literally, physically impossible to have armpits like this. So a lot of young girls are gonna see these armpits and grow up hating their own."

Other people have taken to Twitter to complain about the cover, with some branding it "unrealistic".

Positive body image campaigner, Leyah Shanks, branded Chopra's cover shot as "scary".

"There are a few things going on here that are alarming: the inherent gender stereotyping of females, the sexualisation of women and their bodies, and the shockingly unrealistic ideals of beauty," she told The Huffington Post UK. 

"Priyanka Chopra looks almost like a doll."

She added: "It's no wonder there is a body image problem across the globe when hugely powerful publications don't exercise their power to bring about change - but rather continue to instil and perpetuate insecurity."

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Recent research carried out by Dove found that 76% of Indian women believe it is critical to live up to certain beauty standards.  

"These beauty standards are influenced by Bollywood, media and society of what is termed beautiful," psychologist Varkha Chulani told The Huffington Post UK. "Emphasis is on shape of body, colour of skin, shape of eyes, texture of hair."

To try and tackle this issue, Dove made a film with 85 Indian women celebrating their own ideas of beauty.

Mary-Ann, 23, who features in the advert, said: "In general, the current face of beauty would be a fair and smooth-skinned woman with long, silky-smooth, straight hair."

Smooth-skinned beauty with long, silky-smooth straight hair? Sounds familiar.

The brand also found that the vast majority of Indian women and girls (80% and 77%, respectively) believe that to do well in life they need to look a certain way.

According to Varkha Chulani, this pressure leads to low body confidence, with around seven in 10 Indian girls opting out of social activities because they don’t feel good about the way they look. 

She explained: "If women and girls don’t believe they are beautiful, they miss opportunities in life - whether it is in careers or socially."

The Huffington Post UK has reached out to Maxim India for comment and has yet to hear back at the time of publication. 

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