FairGlow – Fairness + Proteins

“Stepford Wives”

This is another inexpensive Indian soap that seems to be pretty high quality and, I think, marketed for women, though it's fairly innocuous and not particularly floral or per-fumy or what one might think of as feminine. There is a drawing of an Indian woman on the packaging, but if you'll notice, it's one identical woman standing right behind a woman, maybe looking over her shoulder?—both with the identical smile. Or maybe, perhaps odder, it's a two-headed woman—though I have no idea what that would signify. Maybe it's kind of a “Stepford Wives” thing, which is a bit disturbing. The package says: “Fairness + Proteins” and “India's No. 1 Fairness Soap”—which I was thinking had something to do with fairness, as in treating their soap-making employees fair—I was thinking about the the politics of the soap company, as in they don't test it on lepers or something, but now that I think of it, it probably has something to do with fair or light skin. Looking more closely, I notice, of the two women, the one in back has slightly darker skin, as if the lighter skinned one is emerging from the other one.

Anyway, the soap is a very white bar, pretty boring and normal really, except, if you want to think about it, the very extreme whiteness is kind of odd. If there is one adjective I could choose for this soap it would be “clean”—which is kind of silly, in that you might use that for any soap. But this soap is even cleaner than the rest, with no film, no aftertaste, no weirdness, no nostalgia, just pure, and white, and soapy. On the back it says, “Makes skin fairer from within”—which is really weird, now that I think about it, the idea that skin color is not surface but comes “from within”—like in a moral sense, as in “cleanliness is next to Godliness?” So maybe there is some weirdness with this soap, after all—it's getting more interesting to me, though disturbing. The package also says: “reduces the dark melanin”—which I guess is what determines skin color. So that's kind of disturbing. I look online, and I guess there is such a thing as “whitening soaps”—I had no idea—which are intended to lighten age spots, freckles, and sun damage, but also just make you overall lighter skinned. There is some warning about this, as I guess some of these treatments can contain harmful stuff like mercury, which leads me to read the ingredients (something I suppose I should always do). There are a bunch of chemicals, of course, I have no idea what they are, but also, interestingly, “Mushroom Extract”—haven't seen that before—so I'm choosing to focus on the possibility that it contains “shrooms” so as not to have to think about this whitening business.

Soap Review No. 18