I’m sure by now the news has spread that T.I., the rapper, takes his daughter on annual trips to the gynecologist. He wants to make sure her “hymen” has not broken. Now, let’s be clear, a hymen is a thin piece of tissue that covers the opening of the vagina. A hymen is low key a myth and an agent of patriarchy but I digress. Hymens are different for everyone and can easily tear inserting a tampon, playing around, sports and of course sex. Supposedly, once the sacred seal to the vagina is “broken” you are longer a virgin and no longer useful? This is the way we make girls feel about having sex. Once “it’s gone, you can’t get it back.” The brand of “tainted”, “used”, or even worse “normal girl who has had sex” is branded and stuck with you for life. Thus the pressure and obsession for girls to stay virgins begins. Now T.I. wants to make sure his daughter doesn’t have sex before “her time” and that she doesn’t make any drastic mistakes but is there no other way then taking her to the doctor after every birthday party to check her hymen? Imagine, after turning 16, there is a sticky note on your door that says, “Gyno. *insert random time*.” Now also imagine being pressured to signed the release form by your doctor so that the doctor can reveal that you are still the fair maiden you were born to be- you are still intact and not damaged by the dangers of sex. Sounds ridiculous, right? I thought so but that could just be me.
We live in a culture- yes, Black culture too, that shames girls for exploring their bodies, their options, and preferences in reference to sex. We make sex seem so dirty and bad. We also make girls believe that once that have had sex, there is something different about them. That they have lost some value, especially if they didn’t have the perfect deflowering with a man they’ll love forever. Sex isn’t always perfect and virginity is a made up concept used to control women. Virginity is a more emotional and mental concept than a physical one. Growing up in my Black, Christian house hold, sex was extremely taboo. I knew I wasn’t supposed to do it and once I did it, my life wouldn’t be the same- according to people around me. I also had a father who was born in the 70s, went to the military and had one daughter. So by default, it became part of his purpose and responsibility to make sure I wasn’t having sex and threaten the guys I dated. Fun times. And of course, many of the people around me encouraged him and said, “well that just a father. He protecting you.” That’s bullshit. Older people made sex seem so life changing and detrimental to my well being or existence. It’s definitely not and we should we really get out of the habit of teaching our children this. It adds unnecessary pressure and creates hysteria around a natural, physical thing. That creates the stress and worry around being sexually active. Trickles of sweat. We tell this to girls and damn them for wanting sex or even thinking about it while we give a pass to boys. Even T.I. says he feels different for boys than he does girls. Maybe the difference is that one is inside and the other is outside? I’m confused here. Men create these outlandish rules for women and their virginity that can lead to some harmful ideas and behaviors regarding sex. Slut shaming, over sexualizing little Black girls, and hyper masculinity (the idea of getting a virgin is better than a woman who has had sex. Or you don’t want a woman with too man “bodies”) are just a few that come to mind.
It really comes down to, “do we really want to keep living in a world where girls fear their bodies and have a fear of sex?” A fear of sex because we don’t don’t want to disappoint our fathers?