By Nimisha Jain:
As the generations come and go, so do the beliefs and principles. But there are a few which find themselves cemented on the surface of the society and stay there fresh and undying. One such perception is about sex and virginity. Sssshhh…how can these words even be uttered? How can these be talked about? The interrogations seem to be vague because very often, these subjects are discussed and debated upon and therefore it genuinely appears that there exists no more shyness in this respect. But is this picture a vivid depiction of the reality? Certainly not. Society still has the same perception as it had 100 years ago. It is still reluctant when it comes to changes. It’s still obsessed with virginity and that too on a biased scale.
The dictionary defines a virgin as someone who has never had a sexual intercourse but the definition put forward by the people is absolutely unalike. It means a pure and innocent soul. And it is the latter one which sets the standards of respect and dignity for the individuals. These standards are based on the distinguishing elements of virginity and chastity. Chastity, which is an act of having an intercourse with the one a person is married to, is regarded as the most sacred and divine act. On the other hand, the same act for an unmarried takes the form of a dirty and shameless one. Aren’t the opinions disappointing? And the disappointment reaches its height when such a limit to freedom is focussed to one section of the society- women. This isn’t just an opinion but a fact.
The books on ‘virginity retains purity’ are read aloud to girls on a regular basis but the same remain out of syllabus for boys. History suggests that men have never been questioned on their visits to brothels and on their relations with concubines. But in the same era, women, when unmarried, were behind the veils protecting their virginity or waiting for their husbands (after marriage) to make them complete. The times have changed and veils have disappeared but the notion remains unchanged. And the most insane part of this discrimination boils down to the ignorance towards rationality in this respect.
Even today, the society is reluctant to re-marriages of women and acceptance of rape victims, both of which the people relate to purity. Though chastity is the purest of all, this attribute gets violated when a married woman is considered for remarriage. Though the worst nightmare of rape wasn’t a choice of the girl, she is still boycotted, for an obvious reason- she is no more a virgin. Isn’t the thread that the society has been tying between virginity and purity of complete worthlessness?
Is virginity above every other virtue of a being? Is it a just criterion of judging a person? I am totally in disagreement! The society considers it of utmost importance and itÂ couldn’tÂ be blamed entirely for this attitude. After all, this is what every generation is taught by the preceding one. But it’s here where are we losing our brains andÂ wisdom.Â WhyÂ isn’tÂ anyone giving a thought towards the origin of such a notion? Let’s go back and explore history. From the ancient times, when men and women were equal and marriageÂ wasn’tÂ a concept, having sex was one’s choice whose only determinant was the willingness of the two involved. As time flew, separation in work gave rise to the roles of men and women, further giving rise to women’s dependence on men and thus the concept of marriage.
The authoritative attitude of man allowed him to treat his wife as only his property and therefore emerged the coin with two sides- chastity and virginity. But with the changing times, even the direction of change has reversed. We are moving towards the path of equality and independence while leaving behind the contradictory notions which are a hindrance to this journey. The prevailing perception towards virginity is one such hindrance. Let’s drop it!
Let’s accept the fact that nothing is absolute- neither the time nor the ideologies. Both are complements and move together. A transformation in one will surely produce a related modification in the other. The concept of virginity, therefore, deserves a re-consideration. Let’s not be the blind followers of the bygone societies but be the sensible ones to address the new time with new thoughts, new ideologies and a new attitude towards virginity.