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Strict Height Requirements Set for Miss India

24, April 2017

A recent article was published about the process that Miss India hopefuls have to go through to compete for the crown. The article discusses extensively one requirement for the competition: the height requirement.

Femina Miss India 2019 titleholders. Photo: Miss India Org Instagram

The Application Process

Miss India has an extensive application process to compete for the crown. First, you must go online and register for an audition. In the registration process, it asks for basic information like age, name and hometown, but also asks for the registrant's measurements and photos of the hopeful.

After the registrant submits the form, there is an audition process which is detailed in a book titled "Making Miss India Miss World: Constructing Gender, Power, and the Nation in Postliberalization India." During the auditions, the applicants are measured by Miss India officials to make sure that they all meet the 5'5" height requirement. The judges of the auditions are then extensively briefed by two Ernest and Young officials. The presentations include characteristics of previous international winners of Miss Universe and Miss World.

They were consistently reminded that they are not selecting the next Miss India but instead, the next Miss World or Miss Universe.

Judges are then asked to clinically evaluate each woman's body, her ability to lose weight, and her ability to be molded into a Miss Universe. Anyone who does not meet the 5'5" height requirement wears a white sign with the word "invalid" printed on it.

What This Means for Miss India Hopefuls

The height requirement is particularly problematic for India as it tries to conform to ideals of Western beauty. A recent study shows that women in India are on average shorter than women in most other countries. The average height for an Indian woman is approximately 5'1", which is far shorter than the average height of a Miss Universe winner, which is always increasing. This may put many individuals who are vying for the Miss Universe crown at a disadvantage. Critics say that requiring hopefuls to aspire to an ideal body type that is so significantly different from their natural body type will cause damage to these ladies. What do you think about this process? Do you see similarities in your country? Let us know below!

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