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Restore Virginity in 40 Minutes? Shut up & Take my Money!

 Restore Virginity in 40 Minutes? Shut up & Take my Money!

The rising popularity of Hymenoplasty among Indian Women

In a quiet corner of Kolkata, Dr Indrani Lodh, a renowned gynecologist, meets a hesitant female patient one morning. This seemingly ordinary encounter unravels a complex tapestry woven from societal norms, modern medicine, and cultural expectations. Dr Indrani specialises in gynecology, a field that navigates the intimate landscape of women’s health and well-being.

As the patient, around 30 years old, walks into her office, her embarrassment is palpable. This unease stems from a surgical procedure she seeks, a procedure with a name she is reluctant to have associated with her. Dr Indrani’s inquiry is met with hesitation, but eventually, the patient confides in her. This clandestine surgery, known as Heminoplasty, is shrouded in secrecy, carried out to restore a woman’s hymen.

It’s a procedure that holds cultural and societal significance, particularly in a country where concepts of purity and virginity remain deeply entrenched.

Hymenoplasty, a surgical reconstruction of the hymen, is a practice gaining traction. In India, this procedure has seen a 20-30% annual increase in demand. Why do women opt for this?

The answer reveals a society that places immense importance on virginity and purity. The concept is not confined to rural areas but extends to urban landscapes, intertwined with matrimonial advertisements and marital expectations.

Dr Indrani Lodh

The obsession with virginity is rooted in age-old beliefs. Traditional communities have their own set of customs and rules, such as the Kanjarbhat Samaj, which inspects brides and evaluates their purity. The extent of this fixation is highlighted by products like “i-Virgin—Blood for the First Night,” a pill aimed at simulating virginity. Such products reflect a larger societal pressure that drives women to extreme measures.

The issue is further complicated by a lack of comprehensive sex education, perpetuating misconceptions around virginity. India’s diverse religious landscape contributes to this complexity, with various faiths ascribing different degrees of significance to sexual purity. Even in the modern era, the discourse around virginity is reflective of deeply entrenched patriarchal norms. The Pew Research survey underscores the pervasive belief that wives should unquestioningly obey their husbands.

The stories of individuals like Shivani, Priya, and Vivek vividly depict the struggle between societal expectations and individual agency. Shivani’s experience reveals how young women often resort to surgery to meet matrimonial expectations. Priya’s choice of hymenoplasty emphasises the stark reality of societal pressures overpowering personal convictions. Vivek’s fight against virginity tests highlights the resistance against this ingrained tradition, and the dichotomy between social change and legal action.

As the dialogue surrounding virginity continues, it’s crucial to recognise that virginity is not a scientific term but a social construct. The United Nations asserts this fact, challenging the widespread belief in the hymen as a definitive marker of virginity. While legislative measures can contribute to change, they must be accompanied by shifts in societal mindsets. This requires a concerted effort from all quarters—individuals, influencers, and institutions.

The complexity of virginity and its implications in Indian society is a nuanced narrative that demands attention, introspection, and reform. The stories of women seeking hymenoplasty, the advocates fighting against virginity tests, and the medical professionals at the forefront of these discussions weave together a narrative that goes beyond medical procedures and delves deep into the very fabric of societal values. The journey towards reshaping these norms may be arduous. Still, it is essential for a society that aspires for equality, understanding, and progress.

Divya Mangal

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