Artificial ‘Intact’ Hymens Define Virginity in Egypt

Holy Hormones Honey! Pelvic goldmine abuse is rampant in Egypt and other countries. This is an interesting article about the value of female virginity and premarital sex. Blaming women for not abiding by religious and social parameters about having premarital sex.  I think how we need to look at the other side of the issue – and that is the high percentage of virgin rape, and incest – that ‘deflowers’ women marking them for life – and making them unable to marry.  I think just like the question being asked in Ireland – about whether the government loves its women – or wants to control them – needs to be asked of the Egyptian government.  And why stop there?  Every woman in every country needs to be asking this question.

Actually, with all of the advances women have made in Egypt – there is certain to be a backlash just like everywhere else.  The more advances – the more control over women’s bodies.  Same in the U.S.

Egypt’s High Value on Virginity Fuels Hymen Fixation

Women’s E News

By Shereen El Feki
WeNews guest author
Sunday, April 28, 2013

From artificial hymens to restoration surgeries, various methods have popped up to underscore the significance placed on female virginity in the country–and Arab world– says Shereen El Feki in this excerpt from “Sex and the Citadel.”

egytian woman(WOMENSENEWS)– Just because female genital mutilation is declining in Egypt doesn’t mean that premarital sex is any more acceptable in most quarters. Across the Arab world, female virginity– defined as an intact hymen– remains what could best be described as a really big deal.

Just how big was demonstrated by a furious debate in the Egyptian parliament in 2009 over an “artificial hymen” from China– essentially a small plastic bag filled with red fluid, designed to simulate the resistance, and bleeding, of defloration. News that it might be making its way onto the Egyptian market was enough to send some parliamentarians into a frenzy and provided a convenient stick with which to poke the Hosni Mubarak government.

“It will be a blot on the conscience of the NDP (the now-disbanded National Democratic Party) government if it allows these membranes to enter,” a representative of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood warned, arguing the product was a dire threat to Egyptian womanhood, tempting “vulnerable souls into committing vice.”

Despite the best efforts of several young women I know to find them, I have yet to meet anyone who has actually managed to buy one of these fake hymens on the local market.

The Quran makes no mention of the hymen (ghisha’ al-bakara in Arabic) per se, but it does talk at length about private parts and the importance of protecting them from view. While virginity is, in principle, gender-neutral in the Quran, female virgins get special billing, the Virgin Mary coming in for particular praise. Then there are the hur, the perpetual virgins of paradise, “maidens restraining their glances, untouched beforehand by man or jinn,” whom Muslim men will marry as a reward for a righteous, God-fearing life, so the faithful believe. According to hadith, the Prophet is said to have joked with a newly married companion that he might have had more fun with a virgin than the “mature woman” he took as his wife.

Female virginity became yet another tool to keep women in line, all the easier to enforce through its intimate connection to family honor, making it a matter of collective concern rather than a private affair.

Firmly Held Belief

Opinion polls show the line on virginity, in word if not in deed, holding firm, even in countries, such as Morocco and Lebanon, with a reputation within the Arab world for sexual openness.

There are certainly some women who don’t care and some men for whom virginity is not a deal breaker. “I have a friend of mine who did it,” Marwa Rakha, an Egyptian relationships and dating writer, told me. “Before she got engaged, she confessed to her fiance that she slept with two guys. And he married her. One of the few very respectable guys.”

But I’ve met plenty of women across the region who distrust such seeming liberality, fearing their premarital experiences will come back to haunt them when the marriage turns rocky and their sexual histories are thrown back in their faces. As my grandmother used to say, “The woman who trusts a man is like a woman who stores water in a sieve.”

In Egypt family honor is still bound up with female virginity; it’s possible that as family ties unwind, or as personal freedoms come to be recognized in an emerging democratic order, this tight association might weaken and that virginity will become a private affair, between husband and wife only, as it is among some couples I know.

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