Hymenoplasty is the restoration of a woman’s hymen. A hymen is the thin vaginal membrane that normally breaks during the first act of intercourse. Hymenoplasty and hymen are the subjects of a newsarticle that appeared in the International Herald Tribune headlined with non other than “For Muslim women in Europe, a medical road back to virginity”.
As I was reading this article I kept on getting increasingly uncomfortable with the subject matter and the way in which it is exposed. Why label Moslem women? Why not expose the matter as a tradition inflicting conservative societies regardless of religion and nationality? Moreover, it bothered me because it touched on a topic that has occupied us under the pretext of attaching notions of honor to it. An honor I am still grappling with the true definition of it. A form of honor that has produced nothing but a monopoly to a retarded pattern of thinking. A pattern that has served at nothing but to reinforce a stifling culture that is more concerned with women’s tissues than with issues that really make a difference.
After reading the article, my immediate reaction was to resent the fact that this topic is now exposed for the whole world to read. I hated how this topic is targeting and stigmatizing Moslem women. I abhorred what is obviously yet another form of Moslem bashing. I was disgusted by the fact that our double standards in dealing with everything has now been drilled down to this minute level. The resentment that started with anger at the reporting of this story was soon redirected towards the reasons why we even have this dirty laundry exposed in the first place.
Why is the hymen so important? And how does a hymen break? Doesn’t it always take two to Tango? If one Tangoer has a hymen and can be punished for breaking it, then how about the other Tangoer, the breaker? How come he gets to have the choice to “dishonor” his partner and then in the same breath turn against her and call foul.
A closer look at the "breaker" would also suggest that he probably has sisters who are losing their virginity to the same type of hypocrite who might also have sisters who are as well being treated by yet another coward with the same disdain, hypocrisy and denial. And the circle of deceit keeps on getting bigger and more incestuous.
The whole hymen issue is only reinforcing the web of lies that we find our young people entangled in. Whether we like it or not, young people are humans who have feelings and who would and could act on these feelings in ways that are romantic and sometimes physically intimate. Denying this fact of life will only perpetuate an implicit endorsement of dishonesty and deception. Virginity be it for men or for women is a matter of choice. Denying this right to choose is as futile as our attempt to believe that our honor hangs on whether a hymen is in tact or not. If it were that simple, we should then always remember that hymnoplasty is there to restore what we so dearly cling to as our cherished honor.