New Delhi: That virginity in India is still considered a necessary virtue by many is no secret, what with young, newly-wed women subjected to virginity tests like the two-finger test or in-laws checking the bedsheets after the first night of marriage in some parts of the country.
The obsession with a woman’s virtue and vaginas has led to a number of products including whitening and tightening creams, and services like hymen restoration surgeries. And now, Indian women can buy artificial hymens and fake blood pills online.
Who makes them and how do they work?
The artificial hymen is a cellulose membrane that a woman inserts into her vagina about an hour before intercourse. Post penetration, it ruptures and produces a small amount of ‘blood’ giving the idea that the woman has had sex for the first time. On the other hand, there is the pill, filled with a sort of red dye. It is inserted into a woman’s cervix and melts with her body temperature releasing the dye during intercourse.
The existence of these products came to light recently when a Twitter user flagged that a pill named i-virgin was being sold on Amazon India.
Wow. Didn't believe the RT, so had to check. This really exists. I can only say wow. Bloody WTF wow. pic.twitter.com/ce6oI7ODc1
— Anamika- Don't @ me- See pinned tweet. (@NameFieldmt) November 12, 2019
Her tweet sparked outrage, which led to the removal of the product from Amazon India. A spokesperson for the online retailer tells ThePrint that sellers on Amazon are solely responsible for the product. “Amazon operates as an online marketplace in India. Sellers selling their products through the Amazon.in marketplace are solely responsible for all necessary product compliance. The product in question has been removed from our store.”
There was no information available about the manufacturer or seller of the i-Virgin pills at the time of publishing this story. But Mumbai-based company Swayamacare claims to have “exclusive” rights to import artificial hymens to India from “well-known international partners with all the pre required data and compliance”.
These artificial hymens are imported from a Germany-based company called Virginia-care, which, incidentally, also makes the fake blood pills. The artificial hymen is priced at 55.5 euros (approx. Rs 4,300) while the fake blood capsule is priced around 53.50 euros (approx. Rs 4,200).
The website also sells a virginity certificate, which it claims serves the purpose of proving the “innocence of a family in case of an emergency”. The certificate is priced at 19.90 euros (approx. Rs 1,575).
A gynaecologist tells ThePrint women should not use such products.
“We don’t know the authenticity of these products and what are they made of so people shouldn’t be using them. Also, these products are just putting a woman down. We don’t know if they work properly or what substances are used to manufacture them. I strongly advise people to not use them,” says Dr Manisha Singh, a gynaecologist at Fortis Bangalore.