Online retailer Amazon has found itself in the middle of a social media storm after it was found selling a product in India, which offers “blood for the first night”. Netizens wonder, by selling a product which helps fake virginity on the first day of marriage, whether Amazon is supporting the centuries-old taboo.
The product 'i-Virgin-Blood for the First Night' is virginity pill capsules with blood-powder that women can insert into vagina about two-four hours before the penetration. The date when the product was first made available at Amazon.in is shown as June 11, 2019. However, it is not clear why it created a flutter on social media now.
The mini capsules claim to have following benefits: 'high-quality blood-powder', 'no side effects', 'no surgery', 'easy, fast, safe and convenient'.
Few details are provided for the safety of the product. In the questions and answers section, the response to the query, “how many days for expired” is a simple “yes”.
While the item in question has sparked surprise and horror on social media, it is not a new product in the Indian context. In one medical research article, a ‘nonsurgical procedure’ wherein a capsule ‘embedded with red dye’ or containing artificial blood is inserted into the vagina before sex, made to burst to ‘imitate the rupture of hymen’.
The need to pass ‘virginity tests’ can become a life-or-death one in certain regions.
Among the Saansi community in Rajasthan, the practice of conducting virginity tests is common in certain districts, with a white thread placed upon the bride and groom’s bed on the first night. The groom’s family inspect the thread the next day for blood stains to confirm that the bride is a virgin. If she ‘fails’ the test, she may be obliged to pay compensation to the groom’s family, or even undergo a series of tests, ranging from walking on burning embers or staying underwater without surfacing.
Such products are even sold in Europe, with a German company, VirginiaCare, selling artificial hymens containing bovine blood.
That there is demand for such products in India is not improbable. Those who viewed this product on Amazon also checked out similar offerings, such as the SPENTO artificial hymen, or ‘vaginal repair’ herbal tampons.
Though it sounds new in India, Amazon is learnt to have been selling such products for quite a long. 'Virginity Complete Package' and 'Artificial Hymen Kit' are some of the similar products available on the online shopping site.
Woman's virginity is a strong taboo in India and many other nations. In India, as part of the Kanjarbhat caste tradition, a bride is subjected to a “character test” on the wedding night.
Many have expressed concern that in a country where a woman's virginity often determines her worth, such products could encourage unscientific beliefs and taboos.