It never ceases to amaze me that however things might change, basic human truths remain much the same. When I was a young girl, societal conditioning had me believing that no matter what I did, I was always less than perfect, I wasn’t only dealing with severe body image issues but also thought that there was something wrong with my vagina. Ever since I hit puberty, I thought my vagina was too dark and I started feeling miserable because of my periods, discharge and odour. As a result, I used to vigorously scrub myself until I started chafing and got wounded, not feeling clean despite that. I always thought there is something wrong with me and there was no one I could talk to. This wasn’t only until I was a young girl but it lasted until I was in my mid-twenties. It was only much after the birth of my son that I started reading and realising that there was nothing wrong with me, never was. But the years of feeling inadequate because of casually flipping through beauty magazines had done its work and even though I started feeling more confident about myself, doubt always crept in.
The other aspect was lack of knowledge about how my body reacts in different situations and experiences. For example, for the longest time I didn’t know why I felt sudden dryness and itchiness in my genital area whenever I was down with throat infection and on heavy does of anti-biotics. And I didn’t understand that I might get a serious yeast infection just because I decided to stay in my sweaty tights for too long post a run. And finally, when I did, I didn’t understand why I would choose to stay in denial.
For this and many other reasons, I started taking a keen interest in issues that affect women and girls. Finally, when I could, I started writing and sharing whatever I could to help, with only one thought on my mind, that even if it helps one woman, it’s worth it.
When I got the opportunity to create Imbue (with my partners) I didn’t just see it as a product but as a platform and an idea. One, if it became big enough, would become a haven for women to understand their own bodies. Even now our social media channels focus less on the product but instead talk about intimate hygiene and other issues that women face on a personal level. We want to tell women that there is nothing wrong with their bodies and there is indeed nothing they need to be ashamed of. We want to use our channels to discuss the basics of a woman’s anatomy in a matter of fact of way. We want women to understand when they need to seek help from a gynecologist and more importantly, we want them to understand that their vagina doesn’t need to smell like flowers. Which is also probably why I fell in love with our Intimate hygiene foam and wash and have such a strong conviction to take it forward. It offers a simple solution to the real problem of dryness and itchiness.
It’s like I have been given an opportunity to create something I always thought I needed and now the onus lies upon me to fulfil this responsibility well.