Glorifying virginity, a social construct, can even be seen through toxic parenting, or rather, toxic parental control.
T.I, a well-known rap artist, has gone viral after sharing on a podcast that he takes his 18-year-old daughter to annual gynecologist visits to ensure that her hymen is “still intact,” reports BuzzFeed News.
Clifford Harris Jr., known as T.I, appeared on Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham’s podcast, “Ladies Like Us”, where he shared his parenting techniques regarding his eldest daughter, Deyjah Harris.
When asked if he has had the “sex talk” with his daughter, he shares that they have not only had the conversation, he also accompanies her on an annual trip to the gynecologist.
These trips to “check her hymen” are reported by The Washington Post to have started after Harris’s 16th birthday. T.I says he “put a sticky note on the door: ‘Gyno. Tomorrow. 9:30.'”
He continues to explain that during the visits, the doctors often talk with “a high level of professionalism,” where Harris is required to sign documents to allow her medical information to be shared with her father. “Deyjah, they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you would not want me to know? See, Doc? Ain’t no problem” T.I insists in response.
Whether or not Harris agreeing to this sharing of medical information is actually consensual or agreed upon due to fear of punishment is left for readers to question.
The rapper also shared that he was informed by the doctors of the other ways that the hymen can be broken other than having sex, such as riding a bike and other forms of athletic activities. “So I say, ‘Look, Doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously,” he demands.
Note that T.I demands the doctor to return his results, which are actually his daughter’s medical records, expressing his control over her body.
The concept of virginity is nothing more than a social construct, as breaking the hymen is not the only indicator, and not always even so, of having sexual intercourse.
Instilling these ideas of purity linked to virginity can often be harmful to adolescents’ sexual health and development. Parental control over an 18-year-old’s body and genitals is highly toxic and an invasion of privacy. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated the “two-finger” virginity test can be “detrimental to women’s and girls’ physical, psychological and social well-being.”
He continues to share with some sort of praise that “as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact,” implying she is still a virgin.
Rightfully so, T.I has faced backlash on social media regarding his toxic behavior.
Planned Parenthood was amongst the crowd, tweeting “Idk who needs to hear this but virginity is a made-up social construct, and it has absolutely nothing to do with your hymen,” critiquing T.I’s possessive behavior of his daughter’s body.
“This hymen talk is very strange and at the core of it teaches your daughters their bodies aren’t theirs. Don’t do that,” tweeted twitter user @sweetseducingdy.
Even Dr. Jennifer Gunter, OB/GYN, took to twitter in response to T.I, writing that “the hymen is no virginity indicator, 50% of sexually active teens do not have a disrupted hymen.” She added that hymen exams are not only “medically not a thing and are unnecessary,” they also support a “disgusting patriarchal trope.”
WHO has referred to “virginity testing” as an outdated practice that is “a violation of the human rights of girls and women,” and agreed with Dr. Gunter that the testing “has no scientific validity.”
Both Harris and her father have yet to comment on the backlash from his featured podcast, which The New York Post reported has since been deleted. They have also reported that although Harris has yet to comment, she has “liked” multiple posts on Twitter referring to her father’s actions as “disgusting”, “controlling”, and “possessive”.
DeNinno, Nadine. “T.I.’s Daughter, Deyjah Harris, Unfollows Him after ‘Hymen Check’ Outrage.” New York Post, New York Post, 11 Nov. 2019, https://nypost.com/2019/11/11/t-i-s-daughter-unfollows-him-after-hymen-check-outrage/.
Lim, Clarissa-Jan. “T.I. Said He Goes To The Gynecologist With His Daughter Every Year To ‘Check Her Hymen.’” BuzzFeed News, 6 Nov. 2019, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/clarissajanlim/ti-daughter-hymen-check-doctor.