Skin whitening creams are big business in this part of the world. This was shocking to me at first. I guess I was pretty naive, but the truth is that lighter skin is desired over here and people do odd things to get it.
One of the most popular products (and I often lurk around the display at Lulu Hypermarket, just to see the women and men checking them out) is Fair & Lovely. A commercial plays over here sometimes. It shows a young girl getting ready for a dance competition a month away. She is using Fair & Lovely as well and dancing her heart out, and on the night of her performance, she is clearly a star because of her moves and the lighter tone of her skin. Sigh.
The preponderance of these products is mildly irritating on another level, and that is because it truncates every other line of skin care products. Take Oil of Olay; I can't get my favourite thermal mini-peel here and that's probably because most of their freaking shelf space is taken up by whitening creams and potions.
This is a Fair & Lovely display that was on in Abu Dhabi Mall. I found it disturbing on a number of levels - that one has to be "fair" to be "lovely", for staters – and not least for the creepy "Mirror mirror on the wall" vibe it gave off. I have no idea why these Filipinas are in there.