05/09/2012 12:41 BST | Updated 05/11/2012 05:12 GMT


Much has been written recently about the "vaginal rejuvenation" cream launched in India. This cream supposedly tightens and rejuvenates women's genital areas, so women can "feel like virgins" again.

The company behind this product claims that the cream empowers women.

Similarly, there are various types of cosmetic vaginal surgery, which supposedly tighten the vagina (one can also increase or decrease labia size or change the clitoris, among other such intimate, "aesthetic" procedures).

In short, there seems to be a general cultural attitude that women should spend money - and potentially go through the pain of surgery - in order to make their vaginas tighter and more appealing. Whether these creams and operations actually have an effect is debatable, but what is also debatable is whether this is meant to serve men or women, and who is truly empowered by such procedures.

What would it mean to "feel like a virgin"? For many people, it would mean not quite knowing what to do and not having a particularly satisfying sexual experience. For some, it may also involve pain.

This is the state that women want to return to? That seems unlikely.

Men may make much of their desire for tightness in a woman, but is that really something women long for themselves? If sexual encounters are not adequate, why not work on improving technique or changing position rather than attempt something that is expensive, medically risky, and might not even help?

It also seems rather suspicious that the more invasive strategies for supposedly improving sex are aimed at women (sounds kind of familiar - where is the hormone-based preventive pill for men?), and are frequently performed by men. Yes, how very empowering for women.

And with all the other issues this world is facing, how can "designer vaginas" be worth spending so much time and money on? If a woman feels that her genital area doesn't look or feel right, she should see a real doctor, not a cosmetic surgeon who will just sell her false dreams in the form of operations. It may be that all a woman really needs is to see pictures of the variety of genitalia that is out there. Or it may be that she does in fact need medical intervention of some sort, but most likely it won't be in the form of a "rejuvenating cream".

Promoting cosmetic surgery and tightening creams is distinctly unethical, and just encourages women to think that there is something wrong with her and how she looks.

In short, how does spending hard-earned money on quack creams and unregulated surgeries empower women? It would be better for women to remain tightwads than to open their wallets and their legs to people who are just preying on their insecurity, insecurity that society has created and is now profiting from.