How do I love thee? Let me count the ways: I need your vagina to be glowing and white, it needs to be tight too and well if you don't bleed on our wedding night is it even love? - Elizabeth Barrett Browning did not write this but perhaps a large number of Indian men are filling this in their secret diaries and sending them over to companies to create products so that they can love their women better?
Well if this sounds illogical, it is because the product is just that.
First, they gave us whitening creams, then they gave us tightening ones and now dear women, you have been gifted a product that is going to make you 'fake bleed' on your wedding night and make that husband of yours feel triumphant. A product called "I-Virgin - Blood for the First Night" (Yep catch your breath, it's a real product) pretty much summarises what a woman's virginity means to the society.
Warning: Keep common sense and science aside, if you're planning to read further.
As Amazon explains, the package will contain a "blood powder" capsule, which one is supposed to insert inside the vagina, a few hours before penetrative intercourse on your "wedding night" Because of course, the mere idea of a woman being sexually active before marriage is blasphemous. By the time you actually have sex, the capsule will have dissolved and post-penetration, it will consequently release a liquid substance which resembles blood, since obviously, no one in India actually knows what blood looks like and Bollywood has ruined us anyway.
Turns out, Amazon is selling quite a few of these products. Virginia Care has also been selling these "red liquid capsules for the first night" and the official website comes with explicit instructions as to manoeuvre one's wedding night in order to get desired results - and yes, the website clearly states that foreplay is a strict no-no.
Dr. Shweta Goswami, a gynaecologist and IVF fertility specialist said, "These virginity tests are usually unscientific because it is not necessary for the hymen to get damaged only through sexual intercourse. A woman might lose her hymen because of rigorous activities like swimming or horseback riding! It would be impossible to prove virginity that way. Bollywood has created a certain idea that women bleed when they have sex for the first time, but that's not always the case!"
She also confirmed that using capsules such as these could have adverse side effects as well, although rare since these are for one-time use only. "Inserting anything into your vagina increases chances of vaginal infection. It may even lead to PID or pelvic inflammation disease," she further added.
The idea is to trick people into believing you're a virgin, even if you're not or have torn your hymen prior to the act of intercourse by other means. Now the question is, why should a woman even have to go to such lengths in order to prove her virginity? Why is virginity even considered a big deal when it comes to marriage? The whole idea of someone having to take such extreme measures just to prove to her husband that she is indeed "pure" is both disturbing and dehumanizing!
The debate here has nothing to do with pre-marital sex; that is entirely a personal choice for both parties. But if a man is not being subjected to just demeaning scrutiny and absurdity to prove his "virtuousness", why should a woman have to stoop to such levels? One word: Patriarchy.
This is not the first time women have succumbed to societal pressures and used products which are simply degrading to our gender as a whole. Remember vagina lightening creams? Because au naturale is obviously not what men want and our purpose as women is to fit into their mould of what an ideal woman should be. A few days ago, a product called "cleavage wrinkle-fighting" pillow went viral. Who even knew that cleavage wrinkles were a thing?
The point is this - When will the men around us stop deciding what to do with our vaginas, our cleavages, and our hymens? When will the world stop telling women what to do with their bodies?