*This is a sponsored post.
I attended the 18Again launch earlier this week. I had been informed that the product is a vaginal rejuvenation gel and that the brand stands for Women Empowerment. To be quite sure, that connection wasn’t absolutely clear to me then. A lot of thoughts have been swimming around in my head since which is why I’ve taken this time to put up this post. This week has also seen quite a bit of conversations (yes, backlash too) about 18Again and on the #WomenOnTop hashtag they began. Let me talk about what I’ve seen, heard & thought. But first, the commercial that’ll go on air shortly.
I was struck by the tagline of ‘Like a virgin’. Virginity is a notion that’s not friendly to women at all. It’s patriarchal, painful and represses women. It wasn’t until the speakers began talking that I realized it was meant to imply only the sensation of a virgin – a tight, healthy vagina.
The event brought up a few interesting conversations. I spoke to Mahabanoo Kotwal of The Vagina Monologues fame. In keeping with the play’s premise, she talked about how women don’t have a space to even think about this part of their bodies, let alone express fear or concerns about it.
Prof.Dr.R.M.Saraogi was one of the panelists at the launch discussion. He talked about vaginal health concerns that women face, some of which even the more educated & ‘evolved’ of us may not know about. For example I’ve never even heard of urinary incontinence and vaginal flatulence. These conditions exist, causing a great deal of embarrassment for their sufferers – older, menopausal women. But in addition to suffering the conditions themselves, these women also suffer silently and alone. Dr.Saraogi says that some of his patients talk about the strain on their marriages and that it’s often a challenge to identify whether the cause is psychological or physical. Since the woman is unable to articulate something she is embarrassed about, she may fail to get assistance that’s easily and readily available.
The celebrity guest, Celina Jaitly had a similar thought to add to this. Any modern working woman knows a big challenge we face today. It’s not the glass ceiling or bigger issues – it’s clean, sanitary toilets. Yeast infections abound on toilet seat rims and are the most common way women get infected. Any woman who has to use a public toilet in an office, a set or a mall is vulnerable to these. If we can have calcium supplements, vitamin tablets & nutrition-enhanced foods, shouldn’t we have our choice of vagina-specific health products too?
To come back to the virginity bit of the campaign – aren’t we keeping vaginas trapped by repressive notions of that word? Sexual pleasure is only one of the functions of the vagina. It is also part of a complex biological system that undergoes several changes over the course of a woman’s life. These changes impact the woman in more ways and in more places than just in her panties. Depression, hot flushes, giddiness, nausea, fluctuating libido, digestive disorders, urinary infections – the vagina could be the source of any of these. As empowered women, we need to be able to first acknowledge these issues, secondly be able to articulate our needs and finally receive support for them. Our vaginas definitely deserve it.
I’m neither recommending nor disparaging the product 18Again. But I’m saying I’m happy that I’m being given an option to at least think about it. I deserve good health and everything that goes towards making it so, including a choice of products. If I were to consider using this product, I’d check with my gynecologist. Now how many women have one? If you don’t, please get one immediately – it’s the most fundamental step in empowering yourself: good health.
The 18Again gel promises vaginal health and protection from infections in addition to tightening. Personally, these are the features that I find even more interesting since there hasn’t been a product that addresses the need for good vaginal health. I can’t comment on the efficacy of the product but the fact that one exists forces us to recognize a need for it. And that I believe, is definitely empowering to women.
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