The Myth Of The Hymen – An Instrument To Subordinate Women

Posted by Divya Antil in Specials
December 14, 2017

Myths about women are continuously being uncovered by research studies. Yet, there are many such myths that continue to be followed, especially in rural and traditionally-conservative societies. These myths are often used to traumatise women and control them. The myth of the hymen and virginity is one of them.

First, let’s have a look at what the myth of the hymen is – and how it is related to virginity. In several societies, especially the ancient Greek and other western societies, it was believed that when a woman’s body united physically with a man’s for the first time, the hymen of the women broke away to seemingly accommodate the man’s penis. The hymen lies in the vaginal opening, and is often termed as a ‘cherry’. Consequently, the time women lose their virginity is idiomatically referred to as ‘popping the cherry’.

The idea behind the use of white bed-sheets on the first night is often justified as a method to test whether a woman is virgin or not.  If the woman is not able to provide the ‘proof’ (that is, if her hymen does not break), then she is often declared to be impious. This not only leads to the subordination and traumatisation of women – it can even lead to cases of honour killings. Being afraid of this, women are now using other methods such as artificial hymens to prove their piousness. Meanwhile, this myth continues to be followed in our society.

Research studies have already proved that this is just a myth. One of these studies, which was conducted on 36 pregnant teenagers, found that only two of them damaged their hymen during intercourse. Researchers have claimed that it is not binding that the hymen breaks whenever a woman has sex for the first time – majorly because the hymen’s size varies from woman to woman. It has also been difficult to conduct a test of a woman’s virginity based on the state of her hymen.

There is an urgent need to spread awareness, so that this myth can be removed from society. In my opinion, women should understand that their body is only theirs, and that they are always pious.

So, stand up and speak to spread awareness about this.

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Featured image used for representative purposes only.