American e-tailer giant Amazon left many Indian Twitter users outraged after listing a product called ‘Blood for the First Night’, sold by ‘i-Virgin’.
The product is a small capsule that contains “blood-powder” to be inserted in the vagina before a couple’s “planned night”, stated its description on Amazon India. It added the “high-quality blood powder contained therein then completely dissolves”.
The company was soon hit by Twitter activists, finding itself amid a social media storm after netizens spotted the product being sold on the platform, Amazon was under fire for supporting regressive mindsets and age-old taboos.
The product, which has been now removed from the website following the backlash, offered an “alternative for hymenoplasty” for women.
The outrage over the product, which offered an alternative to virginity, came from ultra-conservative as well as liberal and modern netizens – some disturbed that a product was available to fool old-fashioned families, and others by the suggestion that a woman’s character is somehow dependant on her virginity which persists to this day in India and several other countries.
Among various communities in India, if not all, a virginity test is done on a newly wedded bride by placing a white sheet on the bride and groom’s bed on their first night. The groom’s family then inspects the sheets on the following day. The bloodstain on the sheet confirms the virginity and character of the bride to her in-laws. However, if she fails the test then her family might be asked to compensate the groom’s family or in some cases an annulment of the marriage can be demanded.
India is not the first country to see such products offered. They are also sold in Europe, by a German company, called VirginiaCare, that sells artificial hymens containing bovine blood.