You Are Not White Enough!

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with Jezebel

“Good news, ladies! Society has discovered another new thing that’s wrong with you, which means another opportunity for you to make yourself more attractive for your man. Score! Turns out, the colour of your vagina is gross and everyone hates it. So bleach that motherf***er. Bleach it right now!”

I must’ve knocked my head and woke up in some parallel dimension universe where the world has been taken over by the Racist Vagina Police. This is a hoax, surely?!

Did you know about this? Not to worry. If you didn’t, you will now.

I’ve searched the blogosphere to see whether any of you have written about the latest in demented “fairness” trends.

The burden of guilt lies of course with the female population of this planet. Apparently, fair ladies, you have come short in one key area. Your privates are not white enough!

This is no joke. Serious stuff. It threatens the very survival of the human species. So take note and do something about it. Pronto.

Ever wonder why your boyfriend or hubby has been giving you a wide birth lately? Or perhaps it’s your “friend with benefits” who is a no show yet again? I’m certain that after the last half dozen “headache” excuses for a distinct lack of in-between-the-sheets action, you must have questioned it.

Experts to the rescue! It turns out it is not them. It is you. Or to put it bluntly, your vagina has lost its allure. If you are still in doubt, watch this video.

Disgusting, right? I really feel for the man. I mean, come on.

They sit down for their morning coffee. It’s another beautiful day in whiter-than-thou heart of India. But something is very very wrong.

You can cut the tension with a hatchet. The poor guy can’t even bear to look at her. It is all too much. The HORROR. After everything he’s had to put up with, and now THIS?

How could she let him down like that? Go and scrub that thing, girl! He looks like he’s about to retch. Can’t you see what you’re doing to his coffee? It’s all ruined. So brown. Just like your… Too much of a gentleman to bring up the subject, mind. Although he’s clearly all cut up about it.

But! She has a secret weapon. Lo and behold! Enters: Clean and Dry Intimate Wash. Can’t expect the sexy times to roll without putting in the effort.

Now look at him smile. Oh. Yeah. Result. She was only one wash away from being beautiful, sexy and confident. That’s what a light-reflecting labia will do for you.

Phew. Divorce papers shelved. Disaster averted. She’s definitely getting some tonight. Humanity lives to see another day.


I admit. I’ve known for a while that there is a hierarchy of skin tone within the Indian community. It seems insane to me that this should be the case, but then India, despite being the world’s largest democracy, also happens to be amongst the most unequal. It is not just about an inequality of wealth and social standing, it has to do with the cast system. And yes, skin colour is a big part of that.

Darker-skinned Indians are encouraged to avoid direct sunlight and bleach their skin with products like Fair & Lovely. Should we be troubled by this?

Consumer capitalism seems determined to make us question everything about our bodies, looks, scent, invading the most intimate parts of ourselves for one reason and one reason only: to sell us things we don’t need, at prices we can’t afford.

All I can say is this. Don’t go there. There’s no man in this world who will reject you because of your unbleached Bermuda Triangle, and if there is… Someone who expects you to change your body in order to be with them, is so not worth it. Honestly.

Just say no.

This article was inspired by whence comes the above pic too.


Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

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67 thoughts on “You Are Not White Enough!

  1. Yet another topic that had never even entered my otherwise busy mind. Who thinks up this stuff? Amazing. Oh, and I like the writing style very much, with the opening as an advertisement. Nice job.

  2. That is absolutely disgusting. As if we, as women, need one more thing to remind us that we are more imperfect than any man, (at least in society’s gage).
    I’m baffled. I guess I’ll just have to be unattractive then 😀

    • Isn’t it just? I could not believe it. Pretty sure it took me a few minutes to recover from the shock of what I’d just watched before I could even have a reaction. India is a paradox when it comes to women. On the one hand, there are so many women in high powered positions – if I recall correctly there are more female bank CEOs in India than anywhere else. On the other hand, you have the latest rape scandals and the stats are through the roof.
      This “bleaching” and skin colour hierarchy I think is one symptom of a much wider problem in India, but I think it exemplifies the broader difficulties that women across the world have to deal with.
      I wish the beauty industry would desist from telling us that we are ugly and unworthy of success and even love unless we buy their products. There must be a healthier way to market things.
      And I’m with you on that 😀 If bleach-free makes me unattractive then so be it.

      • We allow them pull off such crap Vicki, seriously annoying!
        I would not be surprised a woman headed this very campaign, okay perhaps because it’s India, the odds are slim, but you know what I mean.
        This unfortunately is not just in India, but resonates in every derogatory Ad or legislation geared towards the female. The obsession with the female vagina is rather rampart in many areas, governmental and otherwise…look at the U.S.A.

      • Right, Dotta? That’s what I thought. How on earth did that ad ever make it out into the world? I thought the beauty industry had enough money in the bank to get the best experts in this and marketing a product in a way that is so demeaning of the very people who are supposed to be buying it is just … awful.
        Personal hygiene products are always a tough one when it comes to advertising, but this one has just topped everything else I’ve ever come across in the category of insanely insulting. And it has a not so subtle undertone of racism about it.
        Fair is beautiful? Come on. What millennium do we live in? I thought we’d moved on from that already.
        Naïve of me to think so, I know.
        And I know that you are right regarding its relevance beyond India. Unfortunately this is on trend across the West too.
        I despair of what could be done to change that.
        Thank you for your comments, Dotta. You always have valuable points to add to the discussion, greatly appreciated.

      • OHMYGOD! I’m with you; when I first heard about this, it seemed impossible that it could be true. It what universe would an actual man even think about this or an actual woman buy into it?! And yet……..
        Well written article — thanks for providing some context.

      • Thank you, Robin. Incredible, isn’t it? At first I was convinced it must be a hoax, but when I did my research I realised that not only have these products been around for quite some time, but they are actually popular and a fellow blogger informed me that not only do women use them, but men too.
        It beggars belief. To imply – as the advert does – that your personal relationships will be negatively impacted if you do not use their product, seems to me to cross many a line.
        I’m glad you enjoyed the article and thank you for taking the time to comment. Appreciated.
        Warm regards,

    • I am not sure about the timely, but it is certainly trending. I had something else lined up for today, but couldn’t resist this, and I knew that if I were to write on this topic I had to – what’s that expression? – beat the iron while it’s hot. 🙂
      Thank you for your comment. Will do my best to keep it up. The media is sure to provide something else for us to get our teeth into soon enough.

  3. very versatile style of writing and bringing a topic which is quite hush hush to even talk about, indeed beauty products are helping women gain their confidence back about their bodies, but sadly true India is becoming a rape capital yet this doesn’t stop us from looking good, at least for those who respect women 🙂 thanks Vic for sharing this great article !!

    • Thank you, monalisajoshi. It is very interesting what you mention about the topic being generally kept behind shut doors.
      I wonder whether that may be part of the problem. If no one talks about it then everyone can pretend it is not an issue, and meanwhile the problem is perpetuated, handed down the generations.
      I’ve been meaning to write about India’s women’s issues for a long time now.
      It saddens me to see what is going on, especially as I feared it since first becaming aware of the cultural tendency to celebrate new-born boys and not girls (coupled with the shocking trend amongst the middle classes of girl-embryo-infanticide).
      This increasing scarcity of the female population instead of leading to women being cherished, it’s led to what you mention “India is becoming a rape capital”.

      On a lighter note, Indian women are beautiful, no matter how dark or light their skin colour. I quite like French women’s attitude to beauty: looking good is not about the symmetry of features, skin colour or even whether your looks fit what society deems “beautiful”, it’s all about confidence. You look as good as you feel. And if you feel good about yourself then that’s what people will notice first when they meet you. 🙂
      Warm regards,

    • I think I may have been answering your comments in the wrong order. I hope it all makes sense in the line up. Can’t wait to find the next one (I’m assuming there is a next one) – Off to find it now. And thank you!

  4. This is about an INFERIORITY complex very rife in the male population. I see it in my country of-birth Nigeria a lot. Men who are so lacking in character and form, the only way out is to prey on the defenseless victim their society has empowered them to terrorize.

    I will not go into the skin bleach thing my friend, it’s also not just India…it’s here in the U.S, Africa, Asia etc.
    You notice the young attractive couple used in the ad? they give the illusion this is what the cool people do, and of course the low self esteem kicks in and the otherwise clueless man finds courage and his poor partner is terrorized into making him feel worthy.

    Human’s control the Media for crying out loud! A reasonable HUMAN should have seen the grossness of this and not allowed it see the light of day.
    I hate to say this, but why are all these countries like mine, where they perpetually ram religion and righteousness down one’s throat, always the ones where such abominable crap happens?
    #Nigeria #India #The good old U.S.A are all filled with rather religious folks! Sickening!

    • Dear Dotta,
      I agree with you regarding the inferiority complex, although I think it must be one of many interwoven factors that result in the kind of behaviour we witness, unfortunately, daily.
      Regarding the couple in the add. Again, you are quite right to point out that they are used to promote a certain lifestyle. What is more, they are both extremely light skinned, which is somewhat disturbing in the context they are used. That woman, I thought she must be made of porcelain.
      These types of ads are specifically tailored to be aspirational I think. I weep for those who deemed it acceptable to have anyone aspire to that.
      Thank you. Once again very good points.
      Warmest regards,

    • I have to admit that what with the media constantly bombarding us with that beauty trick and the other, I am yet to come to a point where I think it is safe to feel good. I do it anyway 😉 even if unsafely.
      Thank you for your comment, especially about voice. It is always reassuring when the result is the one strived for in the process. I am glad that you liked the post, Winifred, and it is good to hear from you again. Hope all is well.

  5. I haven’t yet watched the video, but being an Indian I have always felt that the FMCG have made use of these so called color racism to sell their products. And now it has extended to men folk too. I don’t know whose idea was it to convert all brown skin to white. That is sick and I have always felt bad about those products. Adds too much pressure.

    • I’ve tried to describe more or less what goes on in the video in case readers can’t access it for whatever reason, so that at least they get some understanding of what the commercial promotes and how that product is presented – context, story-line etc. I hope I have succeeded, although of course watching the video does help to paint a more vivid picture.
      And thank you for your comment, KG. I agree with you, absolutely. It is sick. It is the kind of pressure no woman should ever be put under.
      One representative of that company compared their bleaching products with lipstick. Apparently, there’s no difference between applying rouge and making your skin lighter by bleaching it. Ha!
      This goes beyond makeup and such. This is an attack on actual skin colour, which some call tone hierarchy, but to me it sounds like a form of in-community-racism.
      If you know of anyone who has used the products and would like to share their experience or speak out about the motives behind it, I would appreciate it if you would nudge them my way. Only if they wish to be nudged, of course. No pressure 🙂
      And thank you again x

      • I don’t know people who use the products to be interested in blog (reading/writing). But I can give you my experience in my own family 🙂
        I am considered fairer than my siblings and I am light brownish. And for some good reason, myself and my sister (who is the darkest of the lot and she has faced enough problems of her own because of that) were never interested but interestingly my brother (who is darker than me) did use the products. So in all fairness, this advertisement portrays only the impact of it on Women because that is predominantly the case. But in the recent years, there has been a tremendous growth of similar products for men too and they are also equally addicted.
        The reason: well, the inferiority complex because they feel that darker skin doesn’t the enough recognition (even if our cine stars and all other popular people are brown skinned). Its just that we want what we cannot have or change. I don’t understand one thing though. If these people use these creams and it really works, then they wouldn’t need it forever isn’t, if it really works and changes your skin color for ever!!! People tend to forget that part totally and the media misuses that ignorance.
        Even during the match making process (in the predominant arranged marriages here), it is weird how dark skinned guys want fair skinned girls and later, if none available settle for their own color. And not to mention the trouble the dark skinned girls had to go through. Color of the skin is also a factor along with the horoscopes here. At least down south, where understanding is less among people.
        And yes, with respect to community also there is a supposedly difference in color and prejudices related to it. But that is for a different post 🙂 The reply has already gone too long for my comfort and I just got up 😀
        In short, even though this advt portrays the issue with women, it is equally alarming in men community too, at least in recent times, at least from where I am.

      • Amazing comment, KG. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It adds a lot of depth to the discussion. I feel that this is one of those circumstances in which the personal is very much political.
        In particular, whilst I was aware that men struggle similarly with this hierarchy of skin tone, I did not realise for example that they similarly fall victim to the marketing and advertising power of bleaching products.
        And you are quite right to underline the fact that ultimately these products do not actually work. One of the links I had imbedded in this article touches exactly on this topic, and actually concludes that their not working may be the best things about those products, because something that would actually bleach your skin would very likely do a lot of damage and end up hurting those who try to use them.
        Thank you so much again. You are a star! 🙂
        Warm regards,

      • Not at all, KG. Your comment was brilliant as well as comprehensive, and I am grateful that you took the time to consider the question in such depth. Thank you.

  6. I wish I could believe that this was some sort of joke or SNL skit– what a mess. I’ve spent some time over in China & SE Asia and they have similar thoughts regarding the lightness of their skin, though obviously it’s not caught up in a caste system as well.

    I really REALLY hate to admit this but I think at some point in my misguided life I accidentally watched an episode of one of the Kardashian shows and they were talking about having to do something to change the color of their hoo-has… I mean, is any man worth that, really?

  7. Vic,

    Into the Canadian Club Classic (that’s alliterative) 12 year old Canadian rye whiskey. You’re killing me. I’m biting my tongue. Thankfully I’ve refrained from making reference to that classic 1977 Charles Bronson movie “The White Buffalo.” Or the recent Canadian plague of albino beavers.

    Did I mention that it says “SMALL BATCH” on the label?

    *walks to penalty box* [holds up sign] (upside down)

  8. I have NEVER heard or seen such a ridiculous product in my life. What kind of sorcery is this? Women AND men can’t actually believe this product is effective for the relationship as the ad, right? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry 😉

    • Until I came across this add I was only vaguely aware of the existence of such products myself. I thought that when people spoke of “lightening” their skin they meant applying lighter tinted makeup. I did not realise people were actually being encouraged to bleach their skin.
      As for the scenario in the advert, it is wrong on so many levels, isn’t it?

      • Certainly. I second that. There was also a painter who specialised in the same subject, and you could certainly not find two of the same amongst his creations. It seems that it is one inexhaustible theme.

      • Can you believe the silly Canadians being so silly as to think they won the war of 1812?

        Down here we tend to gloss over the burning of Washington with the story of Dolly Madison saving the picture of George Washington.

        And stories of the Battle of New Orleans, which took place after the war was over…. LoL… 😉

      • LoL. I linked in a Canadians song parody.

        Seems every time Americans got adventurous and invaded “England” through Canada which was closest they kicked us back out, haha.

        Happened in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Them fighting hockey player types can be tough. 😉

      • Yeah, their history is a bit incorrect, flawed and outright wrong.

        But we never did conquer Canada…. Haha.

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    • What I find disturbing is the fact that women succumb to the dictates of such advertising and actually attempt to follow suit. I do wonder how social constructs like this manage to seep through and influence people to such an extent.

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  12. A very good write-up Vic. Inspired writing, I think that’s what it’s called. Congratulations.

    In New Zealand, where I live right now, the women (and to a certain extent, the men) think they are too pasty. Too pale. Too white. Time and again, they’d look at me with envy The courageous ones, my friends and colleagues mostly, approach me and tell me: “It’s so unfair – you tan beautifully without even trying!” Then they go on ans say: “I sit in the sun all day without sunblock and risk getting skin cancer just to get a tan and the only thing that happens is I turn red like a lobster.” And then they say further: ” You go out in the sun for a few minutes to swim, slap on tonnes of sunblock so you wont get skin cancer, and lo and behold, you still come out with a beautiful tan. You see Vic, I’m of Asian origin, but I have grandparents from both sides who have some Hispanic blood, perhaps from guardia civil who raped their great grandparents when my birth country was under the Spanish regime for 300 years. I have brown skin that turns slightly pale (almost reddish brown) in winter and becomes a darker shade of brown in summer, especially after swimming in the sea.

    In my 20 years here, I observed that no one is ever satisfied with what they have, whether or not society (or men, in your case) dictates what is desirable. Most people want something they don’t have. Those with straight hair, spend a fortune to get it permed. Those with curly hair, spend even more to get it straightened. Temporarily. I’ve just returned from a four-week holiday in Paris and London. And guess what, everybody was ogling me in the Metro and the streets of Paris. The same happened in London and Southwest France. I’m always given the look of appreciation. And it’s not because of how I look. For Christsakes, I’m not THAT good-looking. It’s because of my brown skin. They want something they don’t have! If they can only peel off my skin and glue it on them, they would do it. LOL.

    Aren’t we lucky? We are satisfied with what we are and what we have?

    Keep the fire in you Vic. You are a natural writer.

    L’etalon Marron (LEM for short)

    • Wonderful comment, LEM, thank you. I really appreciate you sharing your personal experience as it does put things into perspective. I agree with you that we all (at least to some extent and some of the time) want what we do not have. However, I do think that society and media in particular dictate a lot of what the majority comes to regard as desirable, and I think that when it comes to skin bleaching at least, their attitude is irresponsible and it tends to impose a skin-colour-hierarchy.
      Warm regards,

  13. I just can´t believe this, Vic! I even didn´t want to watch the video, I don’t need to. This is terrible! We women should never do things to get men’s approval. If someone wants to change us it’s better not to be with the man in cuestion.
    By the way, thanks for liking my posts “texture” and “learning from the guru”
    Kind greetings,

    • Thank you for your comment, Marianne. It is a dreadful state of affairs, isn’t it? When I first watched that video I didn’t know whether to laugh at its ridiculousness or cry because of what it implies.

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  17. I think as a white female (I wrote this deliberately to show how product placement and pr see us) that this kind of disgrace of “commercials” and “products” shouldn’t see a daylight, let alone product placement in a store. Disgusting and rasist, degrading every woman. i can’t see the commercial Don’t sure why…But i think I saw it already, what is the saddest part :/

    • It may be that the add was taken down from youtube. I tried to imbed the video, but I’m afraid the process on offer by WordPress doesn’t appear to work for me, it only adds a link. I’ve asked for help, but unfortunately after following instructions from fellow bloggers I still haven’t been able to add it as an imbedded video (hence my decision so describe what goes on in the add, just in case the link fails).
      I was certain it was a hoax at first and I completely agree with you that is is degrading to portray women and their bodies in this way and yes: racist too. It saddens me that this should be the case…

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