START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
921,015 people care about Women's Rights

Boost Your Sex Appeal: Whiten Your Genitals

Boost Your Sex Appeal: Whiten Your Genitals

Despite the date stamped on the calendar, I think it’s safe to say that summer has officially arrived. For many of us, this means increased hours outside, whether it’s on a bike, in the water, or merely sprawled in the sun, working on our tans. Despite concerns surrounding UV exposure, there’s nothing quite like a nice, natural looking bronze glow to give off an aura of robust health and boost summer sex appeal for women and men alike…at least in the U.S., anyway.

In India, however, the opposite seems to be more in demand. Women there have long been taught that fair skin is the ultimate mark of beauty, as evidenced by their booming skin-whitening cream industry. According to a recent article in the BBC News Magazine, the skin-lightening sector brought in $432 million in 2010 and has grown by 18% each year since. This translates into more skin-whitening cream than Coca Cola being sold in India on an annual basis. It also means women there are bombarded with advertisements featuring prominent models and actresses whose complexions have been airbrushed several shades lighter than their natural skin tone.

On its own, this is troubling enough. How are girls and young women with an undoubtedly wide range of skin tones supposed to develop a healthy self-image if their complexions exclude them from a very narrow definition of beauty? What health risks are they exposing themselves to if they’re constantly slathering themselves with bleach? Exactly whose idea of beauty is this anyway?

A new, particularly troubling product aimed at lightening women’s genital areas only adds to the imbroglio. The BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan describes an ad for the new cream:

A couple sits on a sofa. The husband reads a paper ignoring his beautiful wife: her face, a picture of rejection…

Moments later, this scene of spurned love turned soapy when the leading lady was seen taking a shower.

But–she wasn’t using any ordinary shower gel. No, she was using a skin lightening wash, which, as the graphic which then popped up on screen informed the viewer, would lighten her genitals.

After an application of said fairness cream, rose petals appear on the screen, and just like the ending of a good old Bollywood film, the couple are seen happily embracing.

So…not only are women supposed to have alabaster brows, delicately porcelain shoulders, and creamy, sweeping legs, but their nether-regions need to be flawlessly fair as well? Or they’re not desirable? Even by their husbands, who hopefully value them for something other than their appearance??

Unfortunately, this ad seems like it goes far beyond the fairness = beauty argument. It’s tying women’s worth directly and exclusively to their sexual potential, and not even their own sexual potential, but their ability to sexually please their male partners. If they don’t comply with what is arousing and desirable to men–in this case having a creamy colored pubic area — it seems they aren’t worth a second glance. Women, therefore, should strive for beauty not for their own sake (that would just be silly), but solely for the pleasure of their male counterparts. Not exactly a new idea, but nevertheless not the best message to send to adolescent girls trying to develop a sense of self. At least therapists in India won’t have to worry about their job security any time soon.

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

 

Related Stories:

Elle Magazine Airbrushes Global Star’s Skin to Make Her Appear Lighter

Men Gladly Exchange One Year of Life for Perfect Body

Girl Scouts PSA Encourages Girls to Examine Media Critically

Read more: , , , ,

Photo Credit: zandura577

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

173 comments

+ add your own
10:52AM PDT on Sep 21, 2012

we can't be hating on them for whitening THEIR skin when we are darkening ours. creams, spray ons, tanning beds. every country has weird beauty practices.. (think china and small feet, some african tribes with the long necks ect)

12:58AM PDT on Sep 3, 2012

I love the feeling of the sun on my skin, in moderation, and as a result, I tan. It certainly has nothing to due with what men like. In fact, being Lesbian, nothing about my life has anything to do with men, so I find this whole mindset of living one's life for men's acceptance to be sad and dangerous, on so many levels.

I see where advertisements are once again pushing under leg deodorants for women. Just another way to keep us feeling that there is something wrong with our bodies and to keep us always feeling insecure. Our bodies are fine just the way they are.

8:45PM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

"If we are going to be disgusted by these Indians trying to lighten their skin, than we should be equally disgusted for americans trying to darkern their skin through tanning."

Amen, Emily W

3:11PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

The ad sounds like it was stolen from one of the old 1940s ads for Lysol as a douche product. Ick!

2:38PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

Very disturbing...

12:38AM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

Very upsetting...

12:02AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

this cannot be good for your skin esp, sensitive areas : O I say put it in his face and it is hard to deny!

11:15AM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

Ewwwwwwww. No thank you.

7:00AM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

All I can say is Wow....

7:53PM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

If we are going to be disgusted by these Indians trying to lighten their skin, than we should be equally disgusted for americans trying to darkern their skin through tanning.

In india and other middle eastern countries, dark skin is looked down upon (whereas in the USA its light skin). In the middle eastern areas, dark skin is a symbol of a worker or farmer (somebody who, in history, would be darkened by the dirt and mud they worked in). The rich had the lighest skin due to cleanliness, and thus the idea was born that light skin should be considered more beautiful than dark.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

Sometimes the science is bad in a study (think Andrew Wakefield) and sometimes the reporting of science…

The fact is, unless you're a scientist you're unikely to want to read or even understand a scientific…

Sometimes these reports are only of general knowledge but people take them too serious.

meet our writers

Steve Williams Steve Williams is a passionate supporter of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) rights, human... more
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.