Hymenoplasty?
April 30, 2007 7:24 AM   Subscribe

Muslim women in France are having surgery to 'regain their virginity'. From the article: "I don't want to disappoint my fiance," she said... "I wouldn't have had the surgery if I hadn't met him."
posted by chuckdarwin (88 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: single link wire lol muslim women news&pussyfilter. -- jessamyn



 
Been going on the US for years (and practiced by non-muslims first).
posted by Burhanistan at 7:32 AM on April 30, 2007


It seems highly unethical to me... what sort of opportunist arsehole doctor performs this sort of procedure? These poor women.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:41 AM on April 30, 2007


technically making her a virgin again.
This is, I suppose, the functional definition of virginity. If a man were to act awkwardly, come too soon, and not pleasure his partner, could he be considered a virgin, too?

(Some female mefites may complain the aforementioned criteria do not reliably discriminate virginal from non-virginal males. For those specimens, we suggest looking at the facility with which he rips open a prophylactic package with his teeth as a marker of experience.)
posted by adoarns at 7:42 AM on April 30, 2007


There was an article in Harpers a while back about the practice in Japan (or maybe South Korea).
posted by chunking express at 7:42 AM on April 30, 2007


Is there some kind of surgery that would allow me to regain my romantic youthful optimism?
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:43 AM on April 30, 2007 [8 favorites]


It's nice these women live in a liberal society that would even allow these sorts of things.

It seems highly unethical to me... what sort of opportunist arsehole doctor performs this sort of procedure? These poor women.

How so? How is it any diffrent then any other cosmetic surgery?
posted by delmoi at 7:43 AM on April 30, 2007


Karima also lost her virginity to an ex-boyfriend. She plans to marry soon and her fiance expects her to be a virgin.

A leading Muslim spokesman said Islam says bride and groom should be virgins before marriage, but did not take a clear stand for or against hymenoplasties.


Who thinks her fiance is a virgin?
posted by kisch mokusch at 7:44 AM on April 30, 2007


Oh my mistake, it was a man made hymem you could buy in China, which would basically fake being penetrated for the first time. Yeah.
posted by chunking express at 7:45 AM on April 30, 2007


delmoi asks How is it any diffrent then any other cosmetic surgery?

Because it's not voluntary. I put that quote in my post for a reason: the girl didn't want the surgery. Her sexist dipshit fiance expects her to have a hymen, so she's getting one. MOST people who have cosmetic surgery do it willingly.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:47 AM on April 30, 2007


How is hymen-reconstructive surgery any more degrading to women than the plastic surgery that gives them bigger boobs or poutier lips or removes cellulite!?

This article is absurd. Hymen-reconstructive surgery is viewed by many women in conservative societies as totally liberating ... they have their sexual freedom to do what they want while nominally complying with their societal norm.

Yes, while it is sad that certain societies or families or neighborhoods place a premium on virginity, so it is that others do on breast-size and anorexic and unnaturally thin body sizes.

I think the more prevalent such surgery becomes and the more it is talked about, the more it will reduce the premium on virginity in the long run ... and is therefore a positive innovation (though in a back-handed way).
posted by Azaadistani at 7:50 AM on April 30, 2007


I'll be less polite. This post stinks and the poster is editorializingly ignoring the fact that "hymen restoration" happens across a broad spectrum of cultures and countries. GYOB, please.

Yes, I made up an new adverb.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:50 AM on April 30, 2007


chuckdarwin, perhaps you do not know the meaning of the word voluntary. It is voluntary. She has the option of disappointing her fiance, or risking that he may not marry her. It's as 'voluntary' as flat-chested girls who get their boobs enhanced because their boyfriends/fiances want it.
posted by Azaadistani at 7:52 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


posted by chuckdarwin at 4:41 PM
It seems highly unethical to me... what sort of opportunist arsehole doctor performs this sort of procedure? These poor women.
The same category of unethical opportunist arseholes who nip/tuck other insecure women? I believe there's even a related word to ponder: designer vagina.

And oh, I suggest the term hymenetic engineering to give the whole thing a pseudo scientific ring to it.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:52 AM on April 30, 2007


These poor women.

One could make the argument that the real "poor women" are those that don't get the surgery and are ostracized because of it. The women who do get the surgery are only making the problem worse by creating unrealistic expectations. (Though obviously they are also victims to some extent.)
posted by DU at 7:52 AM on April 30, 2007


If ever there was an epitome of going by the letter of the law (Islam, in this case) instead of the spirit of it, this is it.
posted by notsnot at 7:53 AM on April 30, 2007


I'll ignore your clumsy attempt to make up a word and ask this: none of the words in my post express opinion at all. I posted a headline and a quote. I expressed my opinion downthread. Am I not allowed to have a fucking opinion here?
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:55 AM on April 30, 2007


Azaadistani - she said (quite plainly, I thought) that she said she wouldn't have had it done if it weren't for her fiance. Doesn't sound too voluntary. It sounds coerced.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:58 AM on April 30, 2007


Am I not allowed to have a fucking opinion here?

Not if you don't know the meaning of the word voluntary, and then insist on misusing it.
posted by Azaadistani at 7:58 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is there some kind of surgery that would allow me to regain my romantic youthful optimism?

No, but they do make pills.
posted by delmoi at 8:00 AM on April 30, 2007


Oh great, now one has to explain the meaning of the word 'coerced' to you. Actually ... go look it up.
posted by Azaadistani at 8:00 AM on April 30, 2007


there's a scene in A Dirty Shame where Big Ethel is chasing the kids around telling them about this.
/recent viewing //still (sorta) scarred
posted by acro at 8:00 AM on April 30, 2007


Azaadistani - Not if you don't know the meaning of the word voluntary, and then insist on misusing it.

Now you're just being silly... and you didn't read my other reply to you. I don't know why you're so pissed off; did someone sew your hymen on crooked?
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:01 AM on April 30, 2007


Azaadistani - she said (quite plainly, I thought) that she said she wouldn't have had it done if it weren't for her fiance. Doesn't sound too voluntary. It sounds coerced.

WTF? Why would a man coerce a woman into having this procedure? That would make no sense. The whole point of getting it is to make one man belive he's the first person he's slept with, if you knew she got the procedure, it wouldn't have any effect.

The only possible explanation for her statement is that she wants to decive this guy into thinking he's her first. No one can coerce you into lying to them.
posted by delmoi at 8:02 AM on April 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


"... see, you take the capsule of fake blood..."
posted by acro at 8:03 AM on April 30, 2007


Am I not allowed to have a fucking opinion here?

no, only virgin opinions are allowed
posted by pyramid termite at 8:07 AM on April 30, 2007


"I dated a boy when I was 15 and I didn't even realise what had happened," she said, referring to her first and only sexual experience. "I didn't understand what I did."

This kind of reasoning is so typical of the funadmentalist mentality of being able to bargain with God in order to avoid the consequences of one's actions, on one's own pathetically inadequate human terms. And so like the Christians "reclaiming" their virginity".

This procedure is more of a band-aid on the brain than anything else-- a reinforcement of one's own delusion that very real, identity-defining moments in one's life never actually happened.

They should sell accompanying lobotomies at special rates.
posted by hermitosis at 8:07 AM on April 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


i don't get it. the rationale for hymenoplasty is for the deflowered girl to come to her marriage bed a virgin, so she won't have to fear (as azaadistani noted) that "he may not marry her."

but won't they already be married when the new guy finds out? unless, of course, she goes the premarital shtup route with him too? so what's she gonna do, get a new hymen with every new guy? what we need here is a simple pill/injection that would cause it to grow back naturally, like a fingernail.
posted by bruce at 8:08 AM on April 30, 2007



Who thinks her fiance is a virgin?
posted by kisch mokusch at 10:44 AM on April 30


If we exclude prostitution and homosexual encounters, I do.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:09 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


chuckdarwin, you'd fare better by not hanging out in your own thread, editorializing and bickering over it. The post should speak for itself.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:10 AM on April 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Am I not allowed to have a fucking opinion here?

no, only virgin opinions are allowed
posted by pyramid termite at 8:07 AM on April 30 [+]

Ba-dum-dum. You win!

*tips hat*
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:11 AM on April 30, 2007


bruce, if you have a harpers membership you can read about what the Chinese have done in the article I linked up thread. They've made a device women can insert into themselves to fake having a hymen.

And yeah, this post is pretty ridiculous. People don't make chuckdarwin angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.
posted by chunking express at 8:14 AM on April 30, 2007


The only possible explanation for her statement is that she wants to decive this guy into thinking he's her first. No one can coerce you into lying to them.
posted by delmoi at 11:02 AM on April 30


I understand this, but it acutally makes no sense. He's supposed to be a virgin too, right? So why can she just fake the pain from him breaking her hymen? How would he know how it's supposed to feel to him?

And, stupid question, can't the hymen be broken by non sexual activity?
posted by Pastabagel at 8:14 AM on April 30, 2007


Another difference between this surgery and other types of cosmetic surgery is that, while they are both probably painful and expensive, other cosmetic surgery is usually done to last (or at least it's supposed to...). Not, you know, made to be destroyed once more in a matter of minutes. Which of course leads to the question, WHY the high premium on something that is going to be destroyed in a matter of minutes? And I have no clue. I guess people just like their presents to come in nice wrapping paper, even if they're just going to rip it off right away.

All that aside, it seems like the bigger problem is starting a marriage off with an involved act of deceit. Doesn't seem like an expensive lie is the best way to lay groundwork for marital bliss.
posted by crackingdes at 8:18 AM on April 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


"what we need here is a simple pill/injection that would cause it to grow back naturally, like a fingernail."

what we need here is a simple pill/injection that would cause people not to buy into bizarre fundamentalist craziness...
posted by stenseng at 8:18 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt and one of the highest-ranking Sunni authorities, has said that hymen reconstruction surgery for women who have lost their virginity before marriage is halal (permissible) and that a man has no right to demand proof of a woman's virginity if he cannot provide proof of his own. In addition, the fatwa states that a woman who has had sex before marriage but has sincerely repented is under no obligation to inform her husband of her sexual status."

Less about Islam, more about culture...
posted by zarex at 8:18 AM on April 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


So zarex, I guess as long as somebody gets to bust something, everyone's happy? Bizarre.
posted by hermitosis at 8:23 AM on April 30, 2007



And, stupid question, can't the hymen be broken by non sexual activity?


Yes.
posted by dilettante at 8:27 AM on April 30, 2007


Seems to me this phenomenon occupies a gray area between choice and coercion. (And yes, I do assert that gray areas exist). If a woman faces that much social pressure to be a virgin on her wedding day, the pressure could easily overwhelm any personal desire she has in the matter. On the other hand, if these women in general refused to give into the social pressures, fiances/families/etc would be more likely to come to grips with reality.

I certainly don't know what it's like to be in the shoes of such women, but when I hear things like "I don't want to disappoint my fiance," I must admit that I have two gut reactions -- what a fucking asshole of a man, and what a cowardly woman.
posted by treepour at 8:28 AM on April 30, 2007


I wonder if this is how the whole Virgin Mary business got started.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:28 AM on April 30, 2007


Sounds like a great investment opportunity. Perhaps I'll open a chain of these, up and down the country?

"Ladies! Are you scared you'll have a problem convincing your man that he's the very, very first? Was God simply 'running short' on the day he was handing out vaginas, so in your case, he improvised and used a paperhanger's bucket?

Now, your lot in life is no longer fixed. Call 1-800-SNATCH-SQUAD for a consultation with our highly trained team of urological experts. (Caution: training may not have taken place at a US medical hospital. Staff training facilities include Brazil, Lithuania, Morocco and other 'centres of excellence' in the genital reconstructive arts.)

What's that you say? You don't think you can afford it? We can radically transform your life, making a 'mousehole' out of your 'mulehole' for no money down!

Yes, I'll repeat that. NO MONEY DOWN!!! Can you afford *not* to have this procedure? Right at this very moment, the man of your dreams may be thinking of slithering off with some tight-punani'd slut, while he turns his back on you simply because you let him talk you into that one night of swinging with the rest of the team.

Don't let the bastard get away with it. Call us today on 1-800-SNATCH-SQUAD. You can pay us back after you've married him and you've got control over his pay packet.

An investment in your punani is an investment in your future.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:28 AM on April 30, 2007


So zarex, I guess as long as somebody gets to bust something, everyone's happy? Bizarre.

On a tangent, I always thought the opening hype ceremonies of high school football games where the players crash through a big swath of decorated butcher block paper while they're running out to the field some kind of Freudian display of virginity taking.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Too bad the article doesn't have more specific numbers. I'm curious how widespread this really is in France.
posted by rottytooth at 8:29 AM on April 30, 2007


crackingdes got it right... they're starting off their marriage with a lie. That's a GREAT idea.

Silly straight people.
posted by matty at 8:31 AM on April 30, 2007


Putting aside for a second the bizarre bandying about of the word "voluntary," why is nobody talking about the cultural underpinnings that would cause a hymenoplasty to exist in the first place? It's like the elephant in the room no one will talk about.

So, let's assume that husband would not marry her if he knew that she was a virgin. Well, maybe she shouldn't marry him. That's what I would tell her if she were my best friend or sister. I would tell her that no matter what religion she were into or how fervently she were into it.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:35 AM on April 30, 2007


did someone sew your hymen on crooked?

I plan to use this put down as often as possible now.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:39 AM on April 30, 2007


Having a hymen doesn't make one a virgin, it's merely evidence of same. If a man didn't know what to look for he wouldn't know if his new bride were a virgin or not. Though I have no first-hand knowledge of this ritual, I understand that there is a procedure (either formal or informal) in some cultures to actually check for a hymen at some point just before marriage, thereby insuring the woman's "suitability". No such luck for a man.

Maybe a medical dictionary would have a different definition, but Websters says nothing at all about a hymen.

And, yeah, the marriage based on a gross act of deceit seems somehow flawed from the get-go. But who am I to judge? I'm still single (and hymen free! Whoo!).
posted by Pecinpah at 8:40 AM on April 30, 2007


chunkingexpress, people don't make chuckdarwin angry, chuckdarwin makes chuckdarwin angry
posted by acro at 8:40 AM on April 30, 2007


Hiding your history from sexual partners is a really bad idea. These procedures just make it more and more socially acceptable. What effect will these surgeries have on the spread of STDs?
posted by SBMike at 8:46 AM on April 30, 2007


I'm just glad they understand what makes a marriage work: A series of expensive and stupid lies that will have to be maintained forever.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:50 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


n't
posted by roll truck roll at 8:50 AM on April 30, 2007


Ugh. Someone PLEASE tell me something good that comes from Islam. Please. From what I can see, it mostly leads to: Hatred. Fundamentalism. Terrorism. Intolerance. Degradation and dehumanization of women. Intolerance of thinking and questioning. Fear and hatred of different opinions. Fanaticism. Violence. Hyman reconstruction. Female genital mutiliation. Requires rigid, unthinking adherance to ideals. I know I'm getting set up to be flamed, but I'm so TIRED of hearing about all the horrible things that happen in the name of Islam. So tired of it.

I'm sure there are women of all persuasions who would do this kind of surgery-but it seems like Islam is the most repressive and rigid religion out there-and it's probably mostly Islamic women who need this. Of course, there's no way to prove a MAN is a virgin-nor is there really an expectation that he is. It's such BULLSHIT. Why do these pathetic men get off on treating women as lesser people and barely human beings. Ugh. I wish that for a year, men who repress women would be forced to live like women in their countries and of their religions that they treat so badly. They just have no interest in treating women with any respect. It makes me so ANGRY.

Of course these woman have to hide their sexual history-if they have one. Their stupid religion and families are so messed up that they have to or risk being labeled a whore and ruining their family honor if they aren't a virgin. No risk for a man of that, of course.
posted by aacheson at 8:51 AM on April 30, 2007


And besides, I've never had the pleasure of deflowering one, but aren't virgins like way overrated? Seems like it would involve a lot of awkward fumbling, nervousness, some bleeding, and possibly crying during or afterward. I just don't get the appeal from the man's point of view.
posted by SBMike at 8:56 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


aacheson, chill out and read some Rumi.
posted by hermitosis at 8:59 AM on April 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


Ugh. Someone PLEASE tell me something good that comes from Islam.

When you hear the good things about *any* religion, let me know. I'm not dogging religion - I'm just saying we rarely hear about anything other than fundamentalism with *any* faith.
posted by katillathehun at 9:00 AM on April 30, 2007


Ugh. Someone PLEASE tell me something good that comes from Islam. Please. From what I can see, it mostly leads to: Hatred. Fundamentalism. Terrorism. Intolerance. Degradation and dehumanization of women. Intolerance of thinking and questioning. Fear and hatred of different opinions. Fanaticism. Violence. Hyman reconstruction. Female genital mutiliation. Requires rigid, unthinking adherance to ideals. I know I'm getting set up to be flamed, but I'm so TIRED of hearing about all the horrible things that happen in the name of Islam. So tired of it.

Well, the catholic church during the dark ages was a lot worse. If it wasn't for the islamic world during that time we would have lost all of our cultural heritage from Antiquity.

Islam is just a religion. It's a religion held by lots of backward people, as well as lots of modern people. It's silly to take the backwards culture of some people and say that it's the result of "islam" and not the culture itself.
posted by delmoi at 9:02 AM on April 30, 2007


I know what I am getting my wife for our anniversary!
posted by srboisvert at 9:02 AM on April 30, 2007


matty: "Silly straight people."

Please, please tell me you're being obnoxiously flippant and/or intentionally, childishly offensive.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:03 AM on April 30, 2007


If you want to understand the beauty and wisdom of any religion, you'd better be prepared to look deeper than what you see or read in the news, and farther than its most visible representatives.
posted by hermitosis at 9:07 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is great. everybody plays, everybody wins! Is this any more vulgar than some of the cosmetic surgery (and yes, this is DEFINITELY cosmetic surgery) that goes on all over the world?
Well, ok. i guess there is the horrible, oft-times deadly stigma of being an unclean woman in the eyes of Muslim men.

But other than that, just seems like another fun example of what happens when westernization goes crashing into centuries worth of "alien" history and culture. See: Japan, China, the rest of the non-eurocentric world.
posted by es_de_bah at 9:08 AM on April 30, 2007


Dude, she can still choose not to marry the guy. That's why it's voluntary. As opposed to, say, somebody strapping her down so the surgeon can do his thing. You clearly don't know or care what the word really means.

And yeah, "deflowering" isn't all it sounds like -- the adverb "gingerly" kept going through my head.
posted by pax digita at 9:09 AM on April 30, 2007


aacheson, I heard the Koran has a whole chapter devoted to Hymens. I shit you not. God damn Mosolems.
posted by chunking express at 9:09 AM on April 30, 2007


Despite all the PC "this is just cosmetic surgery", I don't really agree. I think it's more than that.

Cosmetic surgery is to make you look more attractive. It's sort of... permanent makeup, in a sense.

This procedure, on the other hand, is a medical way to make a factual assertion about yourself that's not true.

Back where I grew up, they had a colloquial term for this: "lying".
posted by Malor at 9:15 AM on April 30, 2007


(and it's a damn shame they feel the need to, but it's still lying.)
posted by Malor at 9:17 AM on April 30, 2007


Dude, she can still choose not to marry the guy.

Really?
posted by transona5 at 9:20 AM on April 30, 2007


C'mon guys. Let's not all jump on the Chuckwagon, here.





*sporfle*
posted by katillathehun at 9:27 AM on April 30, 2007


Azaadistani, nicely said. Buying a hymen will, hopefully, make the damn hymen thing less important.

Talk about fashion police. Now in Iran men aren't allowed to get their eyebrows plucked. Egads! Only unabrows or unplucked permitted.

Video of a woman being hauled in by the police and pictures of men being held for 'improper dress' (T-shirt and shortish curly hair).

Also for men only sectarian haircuts and no styling gel or spikes, no short beards, no sleeveless T-shirts even if worn indoors.

Maybe they will eventually partially stitch a man's foreskin when born to prevent any pre-marital monkey spanking?
posted by nickyskye at 9:28 AM on April 30, 2007


This procedure, on the other hand, is a medical way to make a factual assertion about yourself that's not true.

Well, as Dolly Parton said about herself, "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap."

But is the "not true" bit more or less the same hair transplants, hair removal, rhinoplasty, botox and any other sort of medical intervention that changes how one looks? It is all deception. A guy marries a woman who he thinks is a virgin without a moustache, she thinks she has married someone with a full head of hair and a button nose.
posted by three blind mice at 9:34 AM on April 30, 2007


Man, this is why horse-back riding is so popular among the young women I've dated. Also- climbing a fence! Gymnastics!
posted by 235w103 at 9:42 AM on April 30, 2007


I honestly don't know what the big deal is. I had this surgery done on my cat.
posted by found missing at 9:52 AM on April 30, 2007


Though I have no first-hand knowledge of this ritual, I understand that there is a procedure (either formal or informal) in some cultures to actually check for a hymen at some point just before marriage, thereby insuring the woman's "suitability".

Sometime after Charles and Diana were engaged, it was reported in the press that she had been examined by a doctor and declared a virgin and "intact". I remember it well.

Also, I don't think all of you who are saying "she doesn't have to marry the guy" understand the level of social pressure and cultural expectation here. I think we all know how difficult and traumatic it is for some people to come out to families who may reject them-- think about it in those terms, perhaps.
posted by jokeefe at 9:58 AM on April 30, 2007


This procedure has been going on for a while in the non-Muslim community. I've read more than several articles focusing on it among Latinas over the years. I suppose it was only a matter of time before it jumped into use due to yet another religion.

It's still a lie all the way, and a wonderful way to start a marriage. Don't these organized religions consider it a sin to lie? It's just sad that some people can't accept a woman expressing her sexuality.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:58 AM on April 30, 2007


anal sex is the answer
posted by matteo at 10:02 AM on April 30, 2007


what was the question?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:19 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


matty: "Silly straight people."

Please, please tell me you're being obnoxiously flippant and/or intentionally, childishly offensive.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:03 PM on April 30 [+]


Of course I was. Although I do have to say you'd never catch me going around trying to get my ass sewn up just to land me a husband... But that's just me personally, I can't speak for the rest of my people.
posted by matty at 10:23 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, I don't think all of you who are saying "she doesn't have to marry the guy" understand the level of social pressure and cultural expectation here. I think we all know how difficult and traumatic it is for some people to come out to families who may reject them-- think about it in those terms, perhaps.

Well, that's how social change happens. It ain't easy.
posted by treepour at 10:34 AM on April 30, 2007


Well, that's how social change happens. It ain't easy.

That's asking rather a lot in the way of personal sacrifice from women who may well be coming from cultures where honour killings are not uncommon...
posted by jokeefe at 10:59 AM on April 30, 2007


The only possible explanation for her statement is that she wants to decive this guy into thinking he's her first. No one can coerce you into lying to them.
posted by delmoi at 11:02 AM on April 30


But someone who has this surgery (and doesn't want it) is being coerced into lying. Maybe not 100% by her boyfriend/fiance, but by the cultural expectations and norms that lead her to believe things like: I need a husband or I'm nothing, if my parents/fiance knew I wasn't a virgin they would have a breakdown, I have to start having kids soon or I will be a laughingstock, a proper Muslim woman is a married Muslim woman, I will be the last one in my social circle to get married, this guy wants to marry me and probably no one else ever will so I'd better get him at all costs, etc., etc.... (Bet every woman reading this recognizes most of these feelings.)

A woman whose culture tells her she is not worthy to have her own needs or feelings, will easily deny them when there is a choice between listening to herself or to her culture.

Anyway, her fiance can coerce her without realizing it: say she has already assured him she is a virgin (because she feels she needs to get married for any of the above reasons, or even because she loves him and doesn't want to lose him). His reaction may be, "Oh, thank goodness, I could never marry a woman who wasn't a virgin, that would be disgusting and wrong, I would dump her the second I found out". She is motivated to marry him. He has told her that he could not marry her if she weren't a virgin. She doesn't realize that he may or may not be able to tell if she is a virgin, or she suspects it, but this is too serious a matter to her to assume he can't.

What are her choices? How many people are strong enough to overcome a lifetime of cultural norms AND (what they believe to be) a feeling of love towards another person, and suddenly find the self-esteem to take their own path, come what may? I wouldn't be that strong. Thank goodness I was raised a feminist to begin with...!
posted by gillyflower at 11:05 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Marjane Satrapi has a great graphic novel called "Embroideries" that is about this, and sex in general. Great book.
Amazon link
posted by The Castle at 11:08 AM on April 30, 2007


I'm a born-again virgin.
posted by po at 11:14 AM on April 30, 2007


Not for nothing, but I regret getting my asshole sewn shut.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:14 AM on April 30, 2007


OK, if it's between an "honor killing" and this, I guess that does redefine "voluntary" unless you're willing to die for your freedom.

I guess the horseback-riding story ain't gonna fly?
posted by pax digita at 11:16 AM on April 30, 2007


"I wouldn't have had the surgery if I hadn't met him."

This is the key phrase. Unlike in the past, in every culture of the world, where marriages were arranged according to property transfers and social linkages, Muslim women today have the freedom to marry based on Love. That is a real and fundamental change for the better. The issue of virginity is a vestige, like the appendix, it can be safely removed with time.
posted by stbalbach at 11:27 AM on April 30, 2007


I guess the horseback-riding story ain't gonna fly?
posted by pax digita


I rode horses intensively for over 17 years, and all I got was...

Well, I -still- got pain, gore, and carnage enough to convince me that it had no effect whatsoever.
posted by po at 11:29 AM on April 30, 2007


"All that aside, it seems like the bigger problem is starting a marriage off with an involved act of deceit. Doesn't seem like an expensive lie is the best way to lay groundwork for marital bliss."

I tend to agree, its the cheap inexpensive lies that make it a healthy marriage for the long run...

...sadly I don't think I'm kidding...if you're in a healthy marriage and have *never* lied to your spouse on even the smallest thing, please speak up!
posted by samsara at 11:35 AM on April 30, 2007


Sadly, I think if I *had*, we might still be together.
posted by pax digita at 11:36 AM on April 30, 2007


Seems like it would involve a lot of awkward fumbling, nervousness, some bleeding, and possibly crying during or afterward.

Hell, you don't even need a partner to experience this.
posted by horsewithnoname at 11:39 AM on April 30, 2007


Thanks, gillyflower... that was well put. After I was turned into a punching bag earlier I went back to lurk mode... but I wanted to thank you for summing up what I was trying to say so succinctly.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:53 AM on April 30, 2007


> Is there some kind of surgery that would allow me to regain my romantic youthful optimism?

Beer is cheaper.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:58 AM on April 30, 2007


« Older How to interview   |   Peak Performance Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments