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Does your misogyny have enough racism in it? Fairer vaginas for all

April 15, 2012

The recent advertisement on television for fairer vaginas has done its bit to engage, enrage and amuse. What more can a little ad do, after all?

Rupa Gulab “shamefully confessed” to not being outraged by the ad, she was so busy rolling on the floor with mirth. In any case, it’s not advisable, she sagely counsels, to look down your nose on fairness cream manufacturers:

“they may notice that your nostrils resemble black holes and cannily invent a specialized fairness cream to lighten them up.”

Lindy West is thrilled:

“Splendid! God, I was just saying the other day that my misogyny didn’t have enough racism in it.”

As for me, I’ll admit to being quite relieved to learn from Tara’s plaintive query below, that  whitening product manufacturers have successfully  produced “hyperpigmentation” as the ultimate nightmare  for white women too. Sisterhood is global indeed !

Tara is worried:

“hi i have a question i’m a white female my bikini line area is white however the lips of my vagina are dark and i find it very embarassing have you got any remedies.”

Simon Childs emailed Midas Care, the creators of Clean and Dry, this very special product, with some queries.  Denying categorically that it was a skin whitening product, they said:

“Clean and Dry is a direct result of conversations with women between the ages of 16 to 35 years, across the country. The task was to identify the problems faced by women in their vaginal area in their daily life. Unfortunately, not many of them knew whom to talk to about such a personal problem. They did not even take the problem to their gynecologist [sic.], choosing instead to suffer silently. ”

Naturally Childs came away impressed with the consumer focus groups run by Midas Care that were

“so empowering that women felt confident enough to tell marketing consultants things about their genitals that they had kept secret from medical professionals…Yes, Clean and Dry is going to achieve what feminism has been aspiring towards for years, rendering it pointless.”

Alyque Padamsee ad guru, offers a scientific explanation for why people like fair skin:

“The only reason I can offer for why people like fairness, is this: if you have two beautiful girls, one of them fair and the other dark, you see the fair girl’s features more clearly. This is because her complexion reflects more light.

Lindy West is quite convinced by this explanation based on a sound foundation of physics:

“We just want our vaginas to reflect more light—is that so wrong? I mean, WHAT IF MY CAR BREAKS DOWN AT NIGHT AND I DON’T HAVE A REFLECTIVE ENOUGH VAGINA? Really, the ultimate one-vagina-to-rule-them-all would glow in the dark like one of those deep-sea fishes.”

Some self-defined feminists on email lists expressed the despairing hope that perhaps the ad revealed a recognition of women getting rather than giving oral sex for a change, although as Lakshmi Chaudhry pointed out:

“…if a guy (or girl, if that’s the way you swing) is actually looking at your vagina, I can safely promise you, he’s not concerned with its exact hue.”

I think I’ll let Deepanjana Pal have the last word for now:

“Nowadays, the person who needs fair skin is the woman who wants a job, the athlete who wins a tournament, the consummate professional that stands on her own two feet. ..It’s almost as though we’re so uncomfortable with the idea of a liberated, independent woman that we feel the need to slip a few insecurities into her psyche. “

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