A new ad for skin lightening product launched by an Indian company, which claims to 'brighten' the skin around the vagina, has attracted widespread condemnation.
A 25-second TV commercial for Clean 'n' Dry Intimate Wash is being advertised on prime time television, in India, which shows a woman using the product to lighten her sexual organs to please her man.
The product has attracted condemnation on Twitter and blogging sites, with one (male) user branding it 'the ultimate insult' and others bemoaning the extent of discrimination against darker skin tones.
The advertising tagline for the product is: "Life for women will now be fresher, cleaner and more importantly fairer and more intimate."
Described as 'unique', the product is apparently designed to keep the skin 'fresh and protected from infection all day' with the added bonus that it will 'brighten darkened skin in that area...making it many shades fairer.'
The product has divided opinion in India, being seen by many as a sad indictment of discrimination against darker skin within the social caste system, while others deny the product has any racist connotations.
"The campaign to eliminate the scourge of darkness has extended to every nook and cranny of a woman's body," the Daily Mail quoted Columnist Laskhmi Chaudry as writing in her blog.
"The only reason I can offer for why people like fairness, is this: if you have two beautiful girls, one of them fair and the other dark, you see the fair girl's features more clearly. This is because her complexion reflects more light," Alyque Padamsee, the ad director, added.