Interesting story on the Beeb today about the virginity industry – young Arab and Asian women who see doctors to have their hymen restored prior to marriage. I feel quite sad reading this – the thought that women feel under pressure to get it done for the man’s sake and live in fear of being ostracised by their communities.
The operation is called hymenoplasty (reconnecting the hymen), takes around 30 minutes to perform and costs around £1,700.
I can’t recall any blood spilling on the sheets when I lost my virginity so it’s not always a clear cut she has/hasn’t lost it on the night. Most women are active and do sports and use tampons, so the hymen may already be broken.
Having to provide a virginity certificate prior to marriage *shudder* – it seems prehistoric. Who assesses the woman for this, I wonder? A family doctor might decide to break the rules for the woman’s sake, if she asks him to.
The piece quotes Arab writer and social commentator Sana Al Khayat, who believes the issue is more about ‘control’. He says in the article: “If she’s a virgin, she doesn’t have any way of comparing [her husband to other men]. If she’s been with other men, then she has experience. Having experience makes women stronger.”
I had to smile at the reference to fake hymens (£20) from a Chinese manufacturer. They are made of elastic and contain fake blood. Well, it’s a solution of sorts I suppose and far less expensive and invasive. Not sure how eco or body-friendly this option is though.
I’d love to hear from women who have had a hymenoplasty – feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s an interesting post on ‘fake hymens’ from Dalia Ziada – a liberal human rights activist and blogger based in Cairo, Egypt.
The Artificial Virginity Hymen Kit is made in Japan and distributed by the Chinese company Gigimo.