It was only a matter of time that the skin brightening business in India traveled from the face to the vagina. That time is well and truly here.
Vaginas in India are now brighter, fresher and cheerier with the advent of ‘Clean and Dry Intimate Wash’. Eva Ensler has no choice but to update the material in her ‘Vagina Monologues’ because at least in India they smile more readily.
In the commercial above the girl, who already seems to be several degrees fairer than the average Indian skin tone, is lost in thoughts as her man nonchalantly drinks coffee while reading the morning paper. Soon enough you discover that she was lost in thoughts about her vagina. The wistful song in the background goes: “Kho gaye hum kahan? (Where am I lost?). The deeply philosophical question is answered as the scene shifts to her under shower where she or an animated representation of a woman applies ‘Clean and Dry Intimate Wash.’
She emerges triumphant from the shower, fully assured that everything down under is welcoming enough for her man. The man, ready to tackle the day, is stopped in his tracks by the bouncy girl as the background song goes, “Na na na na janana, hai taazgi yehan.” (No, no, no, don’t go. Freshness is here). If there was more a cheerful invitation for a morning quickie, I do not know about it.
Several points come to mind while watching the commercial. I do not mean to be crass but looking at the girl’s complexion, I seriously wonder whether she really needs to brighten up her pubes. And what about the man himself? Did he brighten up his privates as well? Also,do they do it before he leaves for work? After all, that seems to be the implication. These are important questions that need to be raised by someone with an uninhibited mind.
Skin-lightening products are a big business in India because they cater to the well-known Indian obsession for fair skin. Skin brightening has historically enjoyed cultural sanction. It is very common in many parts of India to give brides a turmeric paste treatment hours before their wedding. It is a fairly elaborate ritual where the bride is massaged with a fine turmeric paste because it is supposed to make the skin glow in anticipation of the first night of marital bliss ahead.
The vagina wash is understandably causing many to wince at how shallow life is becoming. A lot of women are upset at the perpetuation of ridiculous ideas about beauty and fairness. At the same time though, I am sure many women are embracing the product because they too have bought into the mythology that beauty means being fair in all parts of the body.
As for me, who am I to stand between a wash and the vagina?