Disgrasian ran an article criticizing skin-whitening products, particularly highlighting Clean and Dry Intimate Wash, a vaginal whitening cream recently launched in India with a 25 second ad on primetime tv that shows a man disinterested in his (clearly very light-skinned) partner until this product saves their relationship through the magical powers of a whiter vagina. To be clear, this is not to bleach your pubic hair.
First there’s the body-shamming aspect that tells women a vagina that deviates from “social ideal” deems you unworthy of romantic affection. And you wonder why so many women are uncomfortable with their own vagina? It’s cause we talk about it like some sort of maggot hub that smells or isnt tight enough or too hairy.
Then there’s the “lighter is better” trend in most of the east half of Asia- Fair and Lovely off the counters in India, skin whitening in korea and japan, women covering most of their upper bodies in southeast asian during the day- which is linked to classism/hierarchy because traditionally, wealthy women stay indoors while lower class women work on farms and other outdoor places that darkens their skin and is also linked to imperalism as asian women undergo transformation to achieve more western looks such as high-bridged noses, fairer skin, and larger eyes with double eyelids. And please don’t think that you can solve the problem by pointing out that “asian women have such beautiful skin, why would they whiten it when american women have to tan their skin” as if they didnt know the “americans” they are referring to solely consists of fair skinned white women cause we know the 13% of black and 1% native american women probably aint getting tans and I doubt the 5% of asian women are in significant numbers either. Because fair- skinned women who feel the need to put themselves at HIGH risk for skin cancer because in America, the tan are the privileged who owns beach houses and travels outdoors while the blue collar workers stay indoor and must therefore be lighter.
Then there’s the deep seated racism in America where we love to use photoshop to lighten black women’s skin a few shades when they’re on the covers of our magazines. That some most darker black women feel not as desirable as they look simply because of their shade. That korean dramas wont feature a tan-skinned lead actress anytime soon.
So amazingly sad and scary how this product combines so many oppresssions -sexism, classism, imperalism, racism- perhaps as proof that different forms of oppression are interconnected and motivation for people to unite in our struggles.
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