Virginity remains a USP among brides in our society, and while we are doing nothing to correct this regressive mind-set, women are being bestowed with hacks to dupe their husbands on their first night. Recently, Amazon was at the receiving end of social media outrage when it was found that the online retailer was selling a product called “I-Virgin – Blood for the First Night.” According to a News 18 report, the package contained a “blood powder” capsule, which was to be inserted in the vagina, a few hours before penetrative intercourse on the first night after wedding. While the retailer has pulled the plug on these fake blood capsules, the question is, why did it take social media outrage for the company to realise how wrong this product was? Also, why does society continue to obsess over bridal virginity, to an extent that we would rather give her options to fake it than challenge social norms?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Amazon has pulled back the fake blood capsules for brides after social media outrage.
  • The pills were to aid women fake virginity on their first night.
  • Just why was the product made available by the retailer in the first place?
  • Why would we rather encourage women fake virginity, than challenge regressive social norms?

While the retailer has pulled the plug on these fake blood capsules, the question is, why did it take social media outrage for the company to realise how wrong this product was?

From the product developer’s point of view, this must have seemed like such a noble idea, giving women an escape route from patriarchal obsession with virginity of women. Firstly, bleeding during your first intercourse is not a sure shot way to test a woman’s virginity, and secondly, this demand that women remain asexual till their first night is plain unreasonable and deeply misogynist. It is foolhardy and wrong to expect women to “save themselves” for their husbands, it never was. But saying that out loud and showing our society and entitled grooms a mirror is the way we need to navigate the testy conversation around virginity hooplah, and not bypass it with fake blood capsules.

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This product doesn’t give women an escape route; it further traps them in the web of regressive social norms that objectify them. It doesn’t challenge why a bride’s worth is pinned to her uterus. A woman’s looks and physique can make or break her marital prospects. The fact that she is a virgin goes without saying. No “decent” girl will have premarital sex, and these days, men for whom it still matters, are frank enough to ask about it before the alliance is formalised. It matters, because the burden of a household’s dignity and lineage rests solely on women, thus their wombs must remain under lock and key. Besides, it hurts the fragile egos of largely sexually deprived and orthodox Indian men if their bride has sexual experience. What’s more, it makes them insecure about their own performance in bed. Why bother being open-minded and confident, when you can simply demand a virgin bride? Patriarchal entitlement much?

What we need is not fake blood pills, but an open conversation on sex and sexuality in our society, and why objectification of women needs to stop. There is much more to a woman than her vagina, her body. But if that is all you care about, then you don’t deserve her.

Coming to online retailers, they need to seriously keep a stricter check on what all is being sold on their platform. Their moral compass and product itinerary shouldn’t be guided by social media outrage, but their own sensibilities.

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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