Pharmaceutical company Ultratech India recently launched a "vaginal tightening" product (gel) using actress Celina Jaitly as its ambassador.
18 Again, a "vaginal rejuvenation and tightening gel", is the next big newsmaker to hit the country since the infamous "vagina whitening or lightening" solutions offered in a TV advert by an Indian company (Clean & Dry Intimate Wash).
If India's obsession for white skin could stoop to such lows as the genitals then the "tightening" of the vagina is clearly not as appalling as one would presume.
But what's ironic is that the markers of the "tightening" gel have marketed this product under the guise of "empowering women". The irony here is that the product would ultimately help men (let's not get into sexual details here) if it does indeed live up to its promise of "tightening and rejuvenating the vagina". So, it's a tad bit unconvincing to try the "empowering women" marketing approach unless your intended audience is the naive and gullible.
The subject of vagina has always been a touchy one for conservative India to deal with. Medical practices like hymenoplasty or hymen reconstruction surgery -- a procedure done by some women in India just before their marriage to reaffirm their virginity (a clause conservative India still finds very important in the context of marriage) to their spouses -- are already relatively popular in the country.
Not to suggest that any new vaginal gel in the market adds leverage to these existing archaic mindset but it does little to eradicate the existing stigma, and nor is it expected to.
The concept of a "tightening gel", though not new around the globe, is attracting quite a bit of buzz in the web -- Twitter was already buzzing with a flurry of comments on the new product. And poor Celina Jaitly found herself taking a bit of a hit for simply promoting the product she was paid to endorse.
The makers of the product say it is a "first-of-its-kind in India". And the buzz it has already generated (whether they are positive or negative feedback) has invariably helped the company put its brand name out there.
The makers are also hoping to create "a demand" for the product in the market and are "targeting towards concerns that are not usually talked about publicly". They believe that their cause is more legitimate than feeding into the stigmas and prejudices of the populous. They say there is a need for such a product because the vagina tends to lose its tone and elasticity due to age, repeated sex, childbirth, excessive exercise and other factors. But the Twitteratis are having none of it.
Most of the reactions came from women who were either appalled or shocked by the news of the launch, but some took time to make sarcastic remarks. User @_sonal_h commented: "Trust #India to come out with a product to rejuvenate your thing and to call it 18 Again!! LMAO"
User @RonnieBarko tweeted with a direct reference to the product: "Can you get vaginal loosening cream? Asking for a friend."
And user @DawnHFoster clearly thought the whole empowerment market strategy was a bust. She tweeted: "Is 18 Again vaginal tightening gel an important tool in female empowerment" CLEARLY NOT, FFS."
These early reactions suggest the product itself would have to go a long way before it becomes something of a hit among the ladies, but for someone without a vagina I suppose I am not best suited to remark on the need for this "first of a kind" product.
A few more hilarious tweets on the product:
"Hey, I've seen you on TV. You're that girl from the vaginal tightening cream ad, right?" *awkward silence*
Retightal - Vaginal rejuvenation cream.
Instead of calling the vaginal rejuvenation and tightening cream 18 Again, they should have kept it simple: Mating Again.
Vaginal tightening cream - if you *really* don't want to let go of the guy. #OverObsessedGF