It's Time to Stop Policing Women's Bodies
It's no secret that our culture has an unhealthy obsession with women's bodies and sex lives. In particular, fathers controlling their young daughters’ bodies by insisting they stay untouched and pure.
For an 18-year-old young woman, life is overwhelming enough with trying to figure out life and themselves. So, when I heard rapper T.I. on the Ladies Like Us podcast interview explaining how he polices his daughter’s body, it made my skin crawl.
Let’s be clear. This is not cute. This is not his duty as a father. What's even more disturbing is the fact that he was comfortable telling us he accompanies his daughter to the gynecologist to make sure her hymen is “still intact.” He even joked about it, and the women interviewing him laughed and joked as well.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, T.I. is a classic misogynist. He’s a man who believes that he’s doing women a favor by enforcing sexist double standards. We’ve seen examples of this over the years with the treatment of his wife Tiny, as well as his shenanigans on The Family Hustle.
It’s okay that his 15-year-old son revealed he was having sex, during an episode of the show. T.I. laughed and reacted as if it was not a big deal. However, placing authority over his daughter’s vagina is somehow normal?
Is sex really the issue or is womanhood? Boys get to keep their value no matter what. However, girls become tainted and unworthy.
Instead of obsessing over his daughter’s hymen, what about the huge range of reproductive health topics that can affect her? He has an opportunity to help her facilitate healthy practices and care for her body. Instead, he’s only concerned with whether or not she has had sex. “Just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously,” he said. Your results? Her hymen does not belong to you, sir.
Virginity is not an achievement or accomplishment. It's certainly not a barometer of worthiness. Young women have always carried the burden of being morally upright. Young women are dumped with the responsibility of making sure boys act right and for their sexual urges. Because who would expect young men to be responsible for their own bodies, right?
Remember when the Jonas brothers wore purity rings? It was big deal, especially since young men don't typically do this. They recently joked on the Larry King Show about the naivete of making a vow to “save it.” They said, “We just kind of decided at one point that, look, this is not who we are. We don’t need to be, like, wearing these anymore. This is annoying. People are making fun of it anyway. We can make fun of it ourselves.”
Purity agreements rely on shame. The purity ceremony for young women includes their father placing a ring on their finger, vowing to be a good girl and wait. It’s supposed to be a promise before God. However, some fathers misinterpret this as permission for them to have a right over their daughter’s virginity.
In reality, the ceremony pushes the narrative that good girls have to wait for men who never had to wait. Hmmm. Read that again.
So, what if her hymen was broken? Would that mean that she’s now broken? Not worthy anymore? Tainted, damaged, impure, unclean? She would be shamed, by him for sure. Almost as shamed as knowing her hymen was trending on Twitter – thanks to her father.
T.I., here’s a newsflash: Your daughter’s virginity is not to be preserved for you, but for herself. You’re leading by example, sending her a dangerous message that she’s not the only person that has claim to her body.