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Southeast Asia, explained

On sale in Thailand: a cream to lighten the vulva

Start enjoying a "brighter, clearer" vulva in just seven days
Asia whitening cream 2012 09 24Enlarge
Thai girls pose on Facebook with bottles of "Lactacyd White Intimate" vulva-whitening cream in hopes of winning a trip to Paris courtesty of the product's maker, Lactacyd Thailand. ((Facebook/Lactacyd Thailand)/Screengrab)

"Everyone wants to look good!"

So chirps the model in Lactacyd's new commerical for "White Intimate," a cream that promises to "gently lighten" a woman's vulva. Seconds later, the camera pans to her crotch as she warns about "skin coloration in parts we overlook."

In India and Asia, there's nothing particularly novel about creams, backed by huge advertising budgets, that claim to whiten skin.

No gender and no crevice is ignored by marketers' entreaties. You would think most guys could write off their armpits as beyond beautification. But, no, deodorant for men laced with whitening agents is a popular item in Bangkok. It's so popular that locating deodorants that don't claim to whiten your pits can prove challenging.

So however outrageous by Western standards, the Thai debut of a vulva-whitening cream simply takes the whitening obsession to its obvious conculsion.

In an interview with The Guardian's Kate Hodal, a rep from this campaign's marketing agency explained that the industry has "evolved from face-whitening to body and deodorant solutions." This "intimiate toiletry" has hit the market because research suggests that women are "keen to have such a product," he said.

But just because this crotch-whitening agent is marketed towards Asian women doesn't mean it's produced by an Asian company.

Lactacyd's profits go back to Sanofi-Aventis, a pharmaceutical conglomerate based in Paris.

http://www.globalpost.com/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/vagina-whitening