Women wax and bleach all manner of body parts—yes, even anal-bleaching is a thing (and popular enough to land a scene in ‘Bridesmaids’). But a new product marketed in India has alerted us to a problem we didn’t know we had: too-dark vaginas! The ad for Clean and Dry Intimate Wash features an unhappy couple who, apparently, have a very bad sex life (dude can’t even see his woman for the newspaper and coffee in front of his face) until the woman gets her act together and bleaches her lady-parts (THEN it’s time for a pillow-fight on the couch).
The ad is mostly disturbing because of all its awful implications for the skin tone wars in India, where women are encouraged to avoid tanning and use skin-lightening creams (which have been found to contain mercury and all manner of other toxic shit that is at least as bad for women’s physical health as it is for their self-esteem) in order to meet beauty standards that prize fair complexions. But it’s also upsetting because the trend of making our vaginas look perfect for sex has become an obsession, and one that implicitly says our bodies are gross as-is.
Shaving, waxing, plucking, exercising and even surgically enhancing female genitalia are all practices that have become so common, it’s rare to meet a woman who doesn’t do at least one of the above. And those who don’t are assumed to be spinsters, or simply so out-of-the-game that they’re sexually inadequate that they shouldn’t date at all. (Was anyone else disturbed by the fact that Jennifer Westfieldt based entire scenes of ‘Friends With Kids’ around discussions of how soon kegels would make her vagina tight enough to go back on the market after giving birth?)
And what’s even more disturbing is that the practice of spending excess amounts of time and money on grooming genitalia is pretty much exclusive to women—please, find me the man who regularly endures 30 minutes of painful waxing—and dumps a significant amount of cash—on keeping his junk hairless to please his lady-friend.