The ad shows (click through for video) a woman wearing trousers, looking mournful because her vagina is dark, like the cup of coffee she’s holding in her hands. The suggestion is that her depression is intensified by the fact that she has a disinterested partner who would rather drink coffee than, well, her. Cut to the depressed woman looking much happier as she goes for a shower. At this point we see an animation. It shows us a hairless, feminine crotch (with gravity-defying rose petals in the background, if you please). Those who have read or seen John Berger’s Ways of Seeing will remember in classical European painting, nudes usually had no pubic hair because hair is associated with maturity, sexual power and passion. “The woman’s sexual passion needs to be minimised so that the spectator feels like he has the monopoly over such passion,” said Berger.

Coming back to the advertisement, once the animated crotch is whitened courtesy Clean and Dry, the woman emerges in a pair of shorts and proceeds to jump on a sofa and stuff her partner’s car keys into her shorts. This is, apparently, how women communicate they are available and have suitably tinted vaginas. Mine, incidentally, is thoroughly disapproving of such products and actions. (The only place that a car key should be stuffed is in the ignition.) There are a couple of curious aspects to this ad. First of all, when even Indian advertising is making oblique references to cunnilingus, Dyer may be on to something with his theory that the primacy of fellatio is finished. Secondly, it’s interesting that according to the ads we see on TV, whitening is a problem that is increasingly faced by women who are modern and independent.