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The All Singing/Dancing Indian Vagina

The All Singing/Dancing Indian Vagina

September 03, 2012

Lightening and tightening all the way into India's underpants.

When I was around 20 years old, I had auditioned for a part in the 'Vagina Monologues' that was going to be performed at my university in a little Prairie town in the American Bible Belt. I quit after a few rehearsals though, because the entire process was exhausting to the Indian sensibilities I had been raised with. It's actually kind of funny to look back on. There I was, world-travelled, multi-lingual, in the process of becoming a highly-educated modern young woman (which can mean very different things to different people), but my kryptonite turned out to be repeated exposure to the word 'vagina'. Over the course of a few hours even. It was exhausting, upsetting, flustering, it made me want to cry. I just wanted to be a practicing artist, why did I have to wade through dreaded vagina territory to get there. My face would flush, my ears would turn red. Most of the time I wasn't able to look anyone in the eye or speak clearly. Rehearsals would start with the whole team standing up in a circle and any random object being tossed along with the person doing the tossing joyfully shouting out any word that meant vagina. In those days I was still a proper pleasant little desi girl, and I had never heard so many different words for this vagina thing that I knew every female was born with but was told not to go exploring. I could barely say 'sex', 'condom', or 'penis' in those days, and all these free happy rainbow vaginal cries - by both men and women! - took a toll on me. Aiiieeeeee! 

Thank goodness that trembly little girl grew up.

I expect the reaction of most Indian people to the infamous '18 Again' ad ('I feel like a viiirgin!') is a mix of all the things I felt at those rehearsals. The traditional men and women are probably upset because we are not supposed to talk about 'such things'. The young intellectuals are probably outraged at the advertising industry that is once again being insensitive and suspiciously subservient to the colonial and patriarchal attitudes that objectify the Indian female, even to herself. The rest of the folks are probably just confused. About what qualifies as a virgin, what a vagina really looks like (and where it can be found), if age is related to virginity, if boys can also be virgins, and questions about the product and where one can look at it and touch it (the product, not the vagina). I assume most of the interest in this product will come from the young people who are more curious than perverted because India is a country where sex education is pretty much non-existent. It makes people, even the boys, blush and giggle. This attitude is cute in preteens but can put teens and adults in dangerous situations. I can tell you though what's going to happen: people will now start talking about '18 Again' in whispers with their friends; one of them will get a hold of the product and then poke and prod the container with their friends. In the long-run, the product might sleepily find its place in the sexual life of Indians. I remember a similar phenomenon in the 90s: condom ads. Do you remember it too? We all seem to have survived that catastrophe, and the country goes on, mostly for the better.

The truth is simply and unglamorously this: women live in bodies that have sexual parts. Those parts require upkeep and maintenance (the way teeth do), even if solely for the comfort of the woman. If she feels clean and comfortable, she will be happier, more relaxed, and should she have sex, will be able to enjoy it more. Vaginal tightening techniques have been around for a very long time all around the world, and like television and the internet and marijuana are tools that when used appropriately can wield practical benefits that have nothing to do with stereotypes. A quick look at the website of '18 Again' brings down the scandal quotient of the product considerably. I personally was a bit let down by their technical, almost medical lingo. They have stuff on there about preventing involuntary urine escape and infections and maintaining pH levels. What! No seedy graphics or perverted copywriting! Apparently the product is a gel that needs to be applied to the vagina twice a day everyday for at least 3 months that will yield results if vaginal tightening exercises are also performed. I wasn't sure what they meant when they said that using this product will leave you  'as confident as you were when you were 18,' but that seemed to be the extent of their clumsy, sugary-sweet writing, so I can forgive them. Their Facebook page is very female friendly and inspiring even, almost like they're Dove; they even have quotes on there by Oprah Winfrey and Obama. I personally felt a little idiotic about how I'd initially got all mad and judgmental about the product from watching their commercial. '18 Again' seems like just another feminine hygiene product.

It is the job of the marketing department to get people to notice a product by manipulating certain triggers in human behaviour. They got mine by saying - singing - 'virgin' over and over again. Touche, ad folks, touche, a very good show. 

12 Comments

  • alka narula
    By
    alka narula
    04.09.12 06:21 PM
    i read the whole post and then the comments to see peoples reactions,and am seriously impressed by the comments as well as the post..the 2nd para about teens n preteens and peoples reactions to the cream god i couldnt stop laffing..really well written,loved reading it..and my take it on it is same as tys,harry and divyas...thanks for sharing nri:)
  • tys
    By
    tys
    04.09.12 03:47 AM
    @abhishek : love it when you bring religion into the whole scenario...makes sense actually, considering that without sex and death , religions will be naught and cunts will be tighter and dicks will be bigger and god will belong to the religious....brilliant!
  • Abhishek Ghosh
    By
    Abhishek Ghosh
    04.09.12 03:37 AM
    "...It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first..." - Lennon, John

    (A part of the original quote)
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    03.09.12 09:35 PM
    I'm sure you can buy a virgin for the price of the cream. But then what's the point of that, I would rather prefer a whore where you know what you going to get.

    I am sure there are variety of surgery for this kind of things and loads of women gets it done for some reasons and what's a point of this, it's going to go south soon or later, so I don't see no point in this.

    @ TYS Buy an expensive car because I've been told that it's a penis extension by load of guys I know. :)

    HARRY
  • tys
    By
    tys
    03.09.12 09:25 PM
    okie...on a serious note...girls, its your body...nobody, least of all, me, has a right to tell you what to do or not to do...not even going to claim that I speak for all men out there...but personally, this is insulting to all of us, as men, that you are being made to feel that this is even a necessity...

    dont put stuff down there...if this was something that made you, i repeat, you enjoy sex a lot more and is safe to your body, then go for it...but this is for the man...and if he cant except your naturalness, then maybe its time you find someone who does..

    i also realize that , this could also be used to make a man think that the girl he is with is doing it for the first time...and if hes such a douche bag, maybe you should just fuck his best friend for the fun of it...

    ladies...your body...treat it well...no one is worth this...

    why is this even important? hell, is it only me or does this all feel very pedophile?
  • tys
    By
    tys
    03.09.12 08:53 PM
    @ a singh : thanks for the concern...i guess the issue is more of finding the problem first before applying the cure..but any help will be appreciated. With my man boobs, I am beginning to believe iam actually a bearded lady.

    anyhow..i dont want to side track the relevance of this great article which raises some valid issues on marketing or creating an insecurity, with my insignificant problem...

    but considering that this particular product is now being introduced, is there a probability that our dip sticks are becoming smaller?

    maybe nature is creating the equality we are demanding...damn, we are all becoming women!!!
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    03.09.12 06:44 PM
    Thank you, Tys:)

    I just had a thought. I regularly receive emails (must be on some kind of database) giving advice on penis enlargement. As I have no use for them, I could forward them on to you.

    Good luck with your 'issue'. Perhaps you could ask your partner to meet you halfway. After all, relationships are about compromise...
  • tys
    By
    tys
    03.09.12 04:35 PM
    @ a singh : i hate to admit how hilarious that was...i guess the echo joke will not go down well here..
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    By
    Jayanth Tadinada
    03.09.12 01:59 PM
    The reaction aside, the fact that they have started selling vaginal whitening creams and vaginal tightening creams shows that there is a targeted effort from the industry to exploit (or create a new one if needed) an insecurity in the consumer, particularly women.

    The sociological impact it is going to have on millions of women is not known but can be imagined.

    We have discussed a few aspects of this issue here.

    http://www.flawsophy.net/2012/08/two-waggin-tongues-on-movies-women.html
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    03.09.12 01:40 PM
    At least there is some subtlety in the marketing. Another product on the market is called Hymen Gel!

    And the slogan?

    'Ever wondered why there is a gap in the relationship'!!
  • tys
    By
    tys
    03.09.12 12:56 PM
    what is unfair is that these feminine products seems to work as intended, and my penis enhancing cream is yet to show result...

    great read...i guess you had me at the word vagina...now i will read all the links and come back with a more intelligent and hopefully politically correct comment.
  • DivyaS
    By
    DivyaS
    03.09.12 06:20 AM
    What I do have an issue with is that this organization is selling their OTC product with some pretty huge claims, all wrapped up in pseudo medical lingo, over national tv. As if women needed one more thing to make them feel all the more insecure.

    If this is truly something that works, then convince doctors to prescribe this and sell it? Such treatments belong in a Gynecologist's office- and no where else!

    Just to recap, 18 Again-- You aren't my gynecologist, so forgive me if I don't want to put your cream of dubious nature up my ladyparts.

    ~DivyaS

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