Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Virginity, Restored

It's called "revirgination" and it is promoted as follows:

"The virginity of a woman is valued for religious, social, and even economic reasons. Hymen gets disrupted after the first intercourse or even after strenuous physical activity or tampon use. Anyway, you wouldn't want your boyfriend / future husband feel ashamed because your hymen no longer existed.

If you look around the site you'll find some other procedures offered, such as "the surgical removal of the clitoral hood of the woman." The reason a woman would want this done to her is two-fold: "serve for the enhancement of sexual response in the woman" and "for her sanitary reasons. "

Some countries offer the service as part of basic medical insurance. In other words, from taxes collected from citizens to cover the medical needs of all. I wonder about it. Why is it the business of the state to fund some people's superstitions?

From Islam in Europe:

The enthusiastic senator presented a law proposal saying that hymen reconstruction operations will no longer be reimbursed by the RIVIZ national health insurance.

Muslim men in particular want their future wives to be virgin during the wedding night. In some cultures the bloodied sheet is displayed after the first night and girls who had sex previously cannot do so.

Therefore, more and more women are having their hymen reconstructed.

According to Lizin, some immigrant women are even urged to get a virginity certificate.

Hymen reconstruction is currently being reimbursed in Belgium by the RIZIV as "vagina and vulva plastic surgery". This is really meant for repairing damage as a result of births, burns and abscesses. Is there are medical reasons, then there would be reimbursement for the procedure.

In the Netherlands hymen reconstruction is fully reimbursed as part of the basic insurance.

It is also a procedure known to be in demand in Canada and US:

"In The Age Of Innocence, Edith Wharton's novel about old New York society's traditions and expectations, Newland Archer is engaged to marry one of society's favourite daughters....
Archer questions why his soon-to-be wife must be seen as coming to the marriage as a blank page, and why women cannot be allowed the same freedom of experience as men.

For a novel written in the 1920s, Archer's views are progressive compared to the views some men and women express today.

``Once a Syrian girl enters puberty she is a real potential menace to men who are perceived as weak and incapable of resisting `finta' (seductiveness),'' Zahra Rim, a teacher in Damascus, writes in WIN, an online newsletter geared to women's issues. ``Childhood relationships with neighbourhood boys and male friends are usually terminated. Riding bicycles, playing outside, dancing, and even going to co-ed pools are prohibited for they are considered forms of sexual expression.''

It's all about the privileging of false appearances, honour and shame over reality, experience, common sense, and wisdom. There is shame in a girl's being sexually active but no shame in resorting to subterfuge in order to deceive a prospective groom. What matters is not what the girl has done, but how she is perceived to be... an illusion of virginity.


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