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Virginity: A Misplaced Concept

Virginity tests. Is that even a real term? It possibly shouldn't be even legal.

A virginity test typically checking whether the hymen covering a woman's or a girl's virgin is still intact, which is based on a flawed assumption that it could be broken only by sexual intercourse. While there might be categorically understood as taking place, under prominent conceptual and theoretical understandings virginity tests are categorically unjustified in every imaginable way.

The widespread socio-cultural dominance of patriarchy and masculinity has brought forth a number of practices for the female gender that are ethically and morally questionable. At its worst, practices like the virginity test is a grave injury and endangerment upon someone's identity, which the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) classify as humiliating, traumatic and painful in terms of being a full-fledged practice. It is done for determining whether a girl or a woman is a 'virgin', which means that someone who has never been engaged in or actually subjected to sexual intercourse.

Practices and Reasons for its Occurrence

There are certainly variations with respect to what practices are implemented in a virginity test. However, the two-finger test is consistently occurring, by inserting two fingers into the vaginal area of a woman's genitalia to test the laxity of the walls. It is thought such laxity is induced by a 'habit to intercourse', and has been considered appropriate by non-medical professionals.

However, its merit has been questioned by medical professionals who employ far more sophisticated techniques in order to determine the question at large. Other ways are also identified as more indicative and standalone in distinct cultures like the Bantu of South Africa. They performing suturing of the labia majora, and they all indicate significantly invasive processes for which a number of reasons are given.

Across many cultures and societies, the most common example given is that of the testing is a condition for the bride's suitability for marriage. The intact hymen is often a religious requirement in terms of which, the test comprises both as proof and a ritual. However, other more acceptable reasons given is to verify whether a woman or a girl is sexually assaulted or not. The requirement of virginity testing for this has been questioned by a number of medical professionals. It is primarily because there might be many other symptoms or signs, which could confirm such an act. One can see how almost all of these reasons are often challenged and repudiated with respect to their possible merits and helpfulness.

Unethicality and its Classification as a Violence against Women

The ethical consideration needs to be considered under theoretical propositions like the social construction of gender and feminist theory. Both of these combine to highlight how the entire state of this practice or process is done without proper consent of the subjects who actually experience it As a result, what they experience is grounded within the inequities of gender and power, all of which combine to portray that women's decision-making capabilities are generally absent. The social norms of virginity testing generally classify itself in terms of probable ways, which combine to indicate and present the fact that they regulate female sexual activity and justify violence against persons of that gender. The perceived sense of purity, which the women are actually subject to is also associated with constructionist points of view that women's bodies are objectified and could be controlled The main perpetrators in terms of roles are generally attributed to father and husbands who enforce social pressure, and even encourage individual violence.

WHO, as a result, have classified virginity tests as an example of violence against women, on the common grounds that it is medically unnecessary and only apply to women, not men. Moreover, many women figures and commentators have noted their traumatic experiences, which have accompanied as well as associated with the act itself. The subtext of consequences largely facilitates and extent those conceptions that are inherently harmful and damaging to the personhood of one belonging to such a gender.

This point effectively points to and guides the ultimate non-justification that associates with the practice specifically.

The way forward

Virginity tests are categorically non-justifiable because of their association of being applied to the female gender. It is a practice or process that is medically unfit, inconclusive and unnecessary, have been logically repudiated in terms of normative ethics derived from the social construction of gender and feminist theory, and has been categorized as violence at the socio-cultural level. With these things apparent, this position seems entirely appropriate to be proclaimed in light of all the reasons.


Krishangi Sinha

Krishangi Sinha

Journalism Graduate, Aspires to be a media and law professional


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