Explaining the Racism Behind Vaginal Bleaching Creams

BlogHer Spotlight

[Editor's Note: Recently, we featured the controversy over a genital bleaching cream marketed to South Asian women. The comments ranged from shock, to laughter, to arguments that this latest fad is another example of sexism, not racism. BlogHer Andrea Edwards of Without the Bollocks is a white Australian woman who has been talking about this controversy with numerous friends of Indian descent, who have helped her understand the context of just what a big deal skin color is in some cultures. --Grace]

The thing is, I am not an Indian lady, and I did not grow up in a country where the colour of my skin was a measure of my social standing. Skin colour just wasn’t an issue, and while the town I grew up in is more multi-cultural today, it wasn’t in the 70s and 80s. As such, I can’t recall any attention being given to the colour of my skin – although, if anything, white skin was bad because it meant you’d get sunburnt – much more of an issue in Australia! With that said, maybe some of my female friends would say bollocks, I experienced stuff, but more broadly, let’s face it, we were girls – there’s always some shite to deal with about the way you look, and not just when you grow up - always!

However, my female Indian friends have very different experiences to tell – often blowing me away with their stories. The thing is, I can listen to what they say, but I can never really understand what it was like for them being part of a society that rated them on the colour of their skin.

Read more from Vaginal Bleaching... Oh Please No! at Without the Bollocks