Why would a woman want to bleach her private parts? Possibly because the culture in which she lives demands it.
That appears to be the (sad) state of affairs for many dark-skinned gals in India, or so suggests a recent commercial for a vaginal whitening product directed at Indian consumers (via Time.com).
The commercial, for skin lightening cream Clean and Dry Intimate Wash, has triggered varying degrees of hostility in North America and abroad for its message that when it comes to labia, dark is bad and “white” or “fair” is good.
The 30-second spot, which you can view at the Time.com site, is brief, tame and odd—in other words it fulfills all the requirements of a commercial necessary to sell vaginal bleach.
It features a young Indian couple at home. The male appears bored and disconnected, the female seems perturbed (she’s got her unsightly ‘interior’ décor on her mind it seems). Then the female hits the shower and gives her tickle trunk a rinse with Clean and Dry and the bloom is back on the rose, romantically speaking.
Some critics have gone to town on the blatant misogyny and implicit racism of the commercial and the product it’s pushing, others have focused on the health concerns, questioning the overall safety of taking a harsh bleaching chemical to sensitive flesh.
On the Time.com site, writer Alexandra Sifferlin speaks to Los Angeles dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu about the potential perils of vaginal bleaching.
Wu not only confirms that many North American women also worry about the shade of their “down there,” but that taking care of that area with a bleaching product isn’t without its risks. Wu says that many of the products haven’t been tested on the delicate areas in which they’re meant to be used. Moreover, she adds that some products may contain toxic ingredients.