What do you do when you get a call from someone asking if you were interested in buying a fake hymen pill?
I cringed. Big time!
Unfortunately, that wasn’t all – the call was followed by a description of how it exactly works. A part of it was: “after having inserted the hymen, it melts during the intercourse. The man does not notice it and enjoys the bloodstains on his penis and the bedsheet.”
Exactly! I felt the same annoyance you’re feeling within me.
Turns out, the content was only a part of the problem – what left me even angrier was the confidence reflecting in the voice of the salesman. He seemed super proud of selling this product.
And that’s exactly where the problem begins – it’s the 21st century and still there is a market for products like these. The existence of this product is proof that we, as a society, are okay with our women compromising their health to uphold the patriarchal stereotypes around women’s virginity.
Fake hymen pills are designed to be inserted into the vagina during intercourse. The idea is to pose a virgin during the sex. The pills contain blood-like content that pops up and leaves the hymen-breaking stains. The target audience for this product are women who need/want to prove their virginity in their relationships.
This product puts women’s bodies at risk by inserting foreign blood into their sensitive organs.
It clearly disregards reproductive health and is another attempt to chain down women’s autonomy with societal norms of behaviour. Let alone being humiliating and encouraging submission from women, it has high chances of posing health hazards.
Dr Ishant Anand, MD, Pathology discovered that the Germany-based parent website mentions the capsule contains bovine/cattle blood inside the capsule. “There is a lack of verification to claim that these capsules are safe. I would urge people to keep their honour and to not buy this product,” he says.
Highlighting the obsolescence of the product, he adds, “There is a flawed assumption in our society that intact hymen is a proof of virginity. There are studies which say that chances of bleeding during first sexual intercourse is less than not bleeding.”
23-year-old fashion intern Simran Chabbra says, “I think it’s terrible a company has taken advantage to capitalise on the taboo the society has over premarital sex and has gone ahead to make a product like this. Also the fact that a female doctor supposedly endorses it and vouches for it is disturbing. In 2020, we think we’re progressing as a society but the fact that things like these exist is what is contributing to setting us back.”
Backing up a campaign with these arguments, online mobilisation and campaigning organisation Jhatkaa.org initiated a twitter storm asking online retailers like ShopClues and Snapdeal to take the product down.
And within a day of the public pressure, ShopClues responded to Jhatkaa.org:
Thank you for your prompt response and sharing the product ID with us. We're getting this product discontinued from our website and sharing strict feedback against the merchant. Kindly wait for the next 24 hours for this to be applied.
— ShopClues.com (@ShopClues) February 18, 2020
This public action was also a ripple effect of another channeled outrage that took place last year. In November 2019, Amazon recognised the toxicity of the product and acknowledged pulling it down their website.
The campaign at Jhatkaa.org asks aims at taking this product off the market.
One of the variants of the product is still up on Snapdeal. However, we know that we have citizen support to make Snapdeal receptive to the demand of taking it down. That’s exactly why, this is the right moment to put pressure on Snapdeal.