"Beauty standards have always catered to power -- they've ensured that cishet, white/upper caste, non-disabled, elite continue to enjoy status. It is time we changed that." -- Dr Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju, doctor and activist
iDiva presents India's 50 Most Beautiful Women
, an initiative which aims to explore the relativity between courageous and outspoken women and the conventional definition of beauty. The extensive list includes women who have come of age in politically fraught times, women who have rejected labels, and women who have spoken up against injustice.
Taking cue from her own life story, which helped her form her own definition of what is beautiful, India's first trans, plus-size model Dr Mona Varonica Campbell says, "Beauty shouldn't be categorised as trans, cis, gay, bi or straight. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, it's about equality." Sharing Campbell's thoughts and her focus on equality, activist Dr Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju adds, "Beauty standards have always catered to power... it is time we changed that".
Rounding off the list are actors Sayani Gupta and Maanvi Gagroo. Gupta takes a no-holds barred approach when it comes to her political leanings and she defies the film industry's obsession with eurocentric beauty standards. Gagroo on the other hand, has been vocal about loving her body and the way she looks, thus encouraging young women to have a more body-positive approach to beauty. The list would be incomplete without Laxmi Agarwal, an acid-attack survivor and activist. Fighting the stigma associated with her scars, Agarwal has been instrumental in helping women who have had the same experiences as herself to recuperate and rehabilitate.