Sometimes it is hard to believe some of the stereotypes and discrimination that persist all over the world. From the soccer player who was fired for refusing to fast to … well, THIS story!
I am not intending to say this in a ‘look at how everyone else is backwards’ sort of way, as I could easily drum up 1000 links to sexist / racist / ageist / weightist / religiously intolerant / etc links directly related to day-to-day life in North America. In fact, that is part of my point – in this day and age when knowledge is available so quickly on a global basis, it is hard to believe that so many of these ideas have held true.
Bottom line on this one – in China, there is a huge cultural value to being a virgin. More to the point, of a woman being a virgin! Even in an increasingly well-educated and technologically enlightened society, traditional male-dominated values prevail, which includes men expecting that they should be sexually active as soon as possible but women should marry as virgins.
Young women in China are becoming more liberated and more in charge of their own sexuality, and the move among young women to a more active lifestyle with sports and strenuous activities can also lead to the rupturing of their hymen, which could be misconstrued as having lost their virginity.
OK … I just have to break for a second because I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around someone telling my wife or any of our female friends, that they were going to inspect their hymen to check for virginity before marriage.
I’m back. Anyway, increasingly in China young women approaching marriage are going to medical means to get their ‘virginity restored’, according to this Washington Post article:
“We can fix it so everything is perfect, so the men can believe they are marrying virgins,” said Zhou Hong, a physician and director of gynecology at the Beijing Wuzhou Women’s Hospital. “We don’t advertise it; we don’t publicize it.”
Zhou, 44, said most of her patients are sexually active young women who are about to marry and have told their future husbands they are virgins. She said a smaller number want to forget a bad relationship and “start over,” and a few have been victims of rape.
Zhou is one of many Chinese doctors performing the procedure, which is also done in other countries. She said she restores as many as 20 hymens a month, and the number is increasing. For as little as 5,000 renminbi, or about $737, for a 20-to-30-minute procedure, Zhou is giving women a second chance at having a first time.
Does she worry that she is encouraging people to start their marriages with a lie? “It’s just a white lie,” Zhou said. And she blames men for having unrealistic expectations.
“I don’t agree with this value” placed on virginity, Zhou said. “It’s unfair to the women. The men are not virgins. But we can’t change this male-privileged society.”
The surgery is rare in general practice and illegal in some places; it has been most common in Muslin countries where women are legally placed in a secondary and submissive role, but has also started springing up in Muslim communities in Western countries as well as in traditionalist China.
Don’t want surgery? There is an option:
For women who do not want to have surgery, a cheaper, faster path to “revirgination” is available in most sex novelty shops: a Chinese-made artificial hymen that purports to create a physical sensation for the man and emit fake blood when ruptured.
As someone who grew up during the ‘woman’s lib’ movement of the 70s, I always believed that my own children would live in a ‘post gender’ world … but I find the objectification of women in the world as bad if not worse than ever. These artificial double standards – especially when reinforced by supposedly holy law – are the worst possible thing for both men and women growing up, as they limit the horizons for both genders.
What will it take for all of us to realize that we’re all just people … flawed, imperfect, wonderful people who make good and bad decisions every day!
Source: Washington Post