Thursday, August 9, 2012

Whitening and tightening

…aaaand I’m back.

Good break. Lots of sleeping. Lots of mulling over the meaning of life and so on.

Lots of worrying over how the hell to keep my brain in one piece while my wedding comes together and I leave Madras forever and ever.

And lots of yoga.

But, I am not back to talk about my life. I’m talking about whitening and tightening.

Does the subject of this discussion make you queasy? Uneasy? It does? Then read on. It gets better. Trust me.

Earlier this year, a pharma company launched a line of vaginal products called Clean & Dry. But Clean & Dry came into the picture much later. We must talk about the anti-ageing shenanigans first. For the longest time men were the ONLY demographic that advertising catered to. You don’t believe me? Look at some of the vintage advertisements and figure it out on your own, okay? I won’t waste my time trying to convince you.

When catering to a male demographic, a woman is often objectified and made to look stupid, ignorant, dependent, idiotic, and incapable. And everything about a woman – personal and non-personal is put under the scanner and found fault with. Be it her personal hygiene, grooming, cooking skills, clothing, even her frikkin’ underclothes, EVERYTHING comes under the scanner and is made to look like the man you’re trying to attract is the motivation behind you looking and feeling good about life. Even breakfast cereal didn’t escape this built-in sexism and other feminist jargon-y nonsense.

And yes, I could go on and on, but analysis is time-consuming. Let’s look at the new boundaries that advertising is trying to mess with – our vaginas.

Yeah, vaginas.

Can I type it again? Vaginas.

We were tolerant when you told us that using creams on our face to tighten and whiten skin would ensure that our men would never tire of us and that we would live happily, romantically, ever after in happy land. But man, when you tell us to whiten our vaginas, wax it and now tighten it, we don’t need to be tolerant of your fucking budget and corporate interests and a product that needs to be advertised.

I mean, what the hell is all this about? You honestly think pimping a product to keep vaginal area dry, vagina-shaming will work as a way to get women to buy this stuff? You think we, as a country, got to 1.2 billion people before the commercial pimping of Clean & Dry and all his siblings by staying away from wet, loose, dark vaginas?

The more I think about it, the more annoying it gets.

They finally figured out that men can be objectified too and what did they give us? Armpits. Yeah, armpits – clean shaven armpits. Most men I know don’t shave their armpits, so you’re selling a lie already. Most men also don’t have six-pack abs and fill out a shirt like that’s what their life’s calling is, and also, most men don’t have picture perfect faces. Most men, like most women, don’t have the luxury of instagramming themselves or even photoshopping themselves when living in the real world and meeting people in real time. Their armpits, like most armpits, are also not silky smooth and pretty-smelling. By making them spray on some deodorant – be it Axe or Fogg or Cobra or 18+ or whatever other shit brand of deodorant you can think of – it doesn’t mean that they become attractive by virtue of that product and so on.

The joke is that this entire exercise is about women’s empowerment, apparently. What empowerment? A vaginal product and an anti-ageing product will empower me to do what? Win an Olympic medal? Seriously? You don’t say. If you’d mentioned this earlier, we could have created a medal factory, so that China and America wouldn’t win all the Olympic medals, morons.

All this “empowerment” coming from an industry that employs people who don’t know how to spell “transcend” and yet manage to get their copy printed on the front page of a national daily? I think we ought to seriously re-think the way in which advertising seems to be taking up all the air time on cable TV.


  1. which is the largest growing plastic surgery in australia? vaginal re-tightening and hymen reconstruction....dont believe me? check it out on google..and at a recent conference, the star speaker who was from australia told us that india should be the perfect place to practice this surgery- because ...and i quote "indians value virginity" it seems even divorcees who remarry want to get a new hymen..whether they tell its artificially reconstructed to their husbands or not- i really dont know...anyway..its become a big fad nowadays...even beating boob jobs....and hence i think all that attention down south is spilling over into the public space...using harsh chemicals (most of these bleaching stuff contains- perborate/hydrogen peroxide)- in sensitive areas- for remember thats mucosa- not taking a mega risk of allergies/eruptions..wonder if the companies mention the risks on the packs?

    anyway loved the point you made about not everyone having six packs or perfect faces...not necessary...sometimes you need to be satisfied with what you have..and know when to stop...

    and btw, that armpit and axe add....has me cracking up everytime i see it..

    1. Yeah, it is only because we value virginity that these ads make sense to us. Comic value aside, I don't know what other fathomable reason the company had to make this ad.

      If only virginity was as simple as a hymen being reconstructed, the dynamics between men and women would be far simpler! And I don't think companies mention the risks on the packs except to say "If infected, consult a physician". I haven't bought a bottle to know what it says on the pack, to be honest...

      As for knowing when to stop - toughest thing to do :)

  2. /Priti Nair, director of Curry-Nation who made the campaign explains its high degree of nuance and tastefulness -"Since the product is primarily targeted at housewives with children, we wanted to create a film that is tasteful yet engaging"./


    1. So housewives who have children want to feel like virgins a? What does that even mean?!

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