Are you a Virgin?

The hymen is a membrane that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening which rips or tears the first time a female engages in penetrative intercourse, which may cause some temporary bleeding and slight discomfort. (Wikipedia) No blood means the girl is not a virgin, moreover she is not chaste and therefore considered impure/immoral/unclean by the family. No tradition, at least not any that I have heard of, questions the premarital chastity of the boy.

A woman’s integrity is measured by the strength of her hymen… in-laws/husbands-to be are known to check for a woman’s virginity before agreeing to the marriage! Thus comes the demand for hymenoplasty

Hymenoplasty is the procedure of surgically reconstructing the hymen. The sooner it is done after the hymen breaks, the easier it is to reconstruct, using remnants of the broken hymen. If it is done a long time after the breakage- the procedure becomes more difficult. However, surgical challenges is not what is severely wrong with this process its the attitude of  women and also the society.

Firstly, hymenoplasty is a direct outcome of the restraints that society places on female sexuality. The idea of virginity is extolled, and an active sexual life pre-marriage is looked down upon in general, especially for women(the stud vs slut mentality that many people may have). Sex should be for procreation, not recreation; and a woman who is ‘loose’ may never find a husband and a home. Thus ensues a mad scramble for the nearest surgeon, and the guarantee of a happy married life is ‘sealed’.

It is unfortunate! But then again, a lot of women in this world in general, are unfortunate. Remember Sita’s agnipariksha to ‘test her chastity’ after she spent her time being held captive by a foreign king in a foreign land? I do not recall anyone asking for a similar test for her husband, Ram! No test for you, guys. Your purity is certified by the XY chromosomes, it seems!

Keeping jest aside, any man or any woman should be free to choose their sexual partner at any time after they reach legal age of consent, be it pre or post marriage. What should ideally exist between any couple, married or otherwise is mutual respect and trust, not a hymen. And, if any woman wants to reconstruct a piece of skin in her body, it should be because she chooses to, just like she can choose whether or not to put on makeup before going to work. It should NOT be a means to stain her bedsheets on her wedding night and prove to society that she is as pure and perfect as “they” require her to be.

Debadrita Jana

She is a geologist by day, an author by leisure. She has published a book, Mind on Paper ; and is a proud parent of Shadow, a beautiful calico cat.

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