Despite living in the 21st century, in India, certain things still remain taboo. Namely, engaging in intercourse before marriage and more than that, the concept of virginity. According to the Oxford dictionary, virginity is defined as “the state of being a virgin”. Now, that is an extremely vague definition and a lot of people come to their own conclusions regarding the topic. The sad part about this is that it isn’t just a problem related to India. Recently American rapper TI came under fire for revealing in an interview that he accompanies his 18-year-old daughter to the gynecologist every year after her birthday to ensure that she is still a virgin. All this from a rapper who raps about tearing a woman into two with his ahem… organ (double-standards!). Read on to find out all the details of this product and why this is such a controversial topic (1).
Online retailing mega-giant, Amazon, recently landed itself in major hot water after the retailer stocked ‘blood’ to fake your virginity on the wedding night. The manufacturer advertises the product as an alternative to expensive surgery treatments like hymenoplasty and vaginal rejuvenation. According to the manufacturer, the woman is meant to insert the product inside her body 3 hours before the act, and the powder will mix with her natural fluids and seep out. The product, aptly called ‘I-virgin-blood for the first night’ is a virginity pill capsule that contains high quality ‘blood powder’ contained within the capsule is supposed to resemble natural blood. The product was first launched on Amazon on June 11th, 2019 but only really gained attention after it created a buzz on social media a couple of days ago.
While most of us have the privilege of education and have adequate knowledge and resources regarding virginity and the myths associated with it, not a lot of people can say the same. In many parts of the country (and the world) virginity is still considered a ‘gift’ that a woman must give her husband on the wedding night. Since there is no accurate way to measure the virginity of a woman, people assume that if her hymen ruptures during the act of intercourse and she bleeds, she is a virgin. This is an extremely inaccurate way to measure a woman’s virginity as the hymen can rupture even during various physical activities. These activities can range from cycling to physical exertion to sports to using a menstrual cup (2).
There is a very low likelihood of a woman’s hymen staying intact until marriage, regardless of whether she has engaged in intercourse or not. The reason why this is turning into a significant cultural issue is because of the various crimes and other problems related to the concept of a woman’s virginity. In many countries, the honor of a woman’s family is placed in her virginity. This has lead to various crimes like honor killings, acid attacks, rapes and in worse cases, death.
In the Saansi community of Rajasthan, the practice of conducting virginity tests is very common in certain districts. A white thread is placed onto the couple’s bed during the first night. The next day, the family of the groom is supposed to check the thread to ensure the marriage was consummated and that the woman was a virgin before the wedding night. If the woman ‘fails’ the test and the thread is still white, her family is forced to pay a compensation amount to the family of the groom. In some cases, she is even asked to perform certain ‘tests’ like walking on burning embers or staying underwater without resurfacing (3).
The product first gained notoriety after a Twitter user drew attention by sharing screenshots of the product online. Many social media users initially thought it was a joke and thus didn’t take it too seriously. However, after many users found the page and shared it online, people realized it was very much real. Many users expressed concerns that products like these can fuel the patriarchal mindset and encourage character tests and violence against young women. Here’s the tweet that drew attention to the product:
Our Final Take
We think it’s absolutely ridiculous that products like these even see the light of the day. It’s horrific to imagine the plight, so many young women face due to these old fashioned, illogical and outdated cultural norms. It’s crazy to think that no matter how modern our society seems and how far we progress, we will still be plagued by problems like this. The only way to combat such issues is to educate families and spread awareness about the myths of virginity. Although Amazon did take down the product after netizens lashed out at them online, there are still many other products out there that prey upon this ridiculous concept. Our question is; why did the product get approved to be sold in the first place? Tell us what your take on this product is in the comments below. Did you also think it was a joke?
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