I broke my hymen in 7th grade, I was a runner, I played a lot of sports and was always hyperactive. I didn’t really know what it meant to lose my hymen, I was just scared something had gone horribly wrong gauging by the blood in my underwear. I told my mother about it, concerned that all my blood was flowing out of me, and she laughed at my silliness.
She told me it was just an injury and that I tore a little bit of my skin while I was running around. That made perfect sense. Because that’s exactly what a hymen break means. A torn piece of skin but, it’s in your vagina.
So then why is India so obsessed with a broken hymen?
Purity, sanctity and upholding sanskaar, apparently. Here’s the catch, my hymen tore while running around, but most hymens tear during sex. You see the issue now. A woman with a broken hymen indicates that she had sex, which is obviously the worst thing a woman can do. (scoff)
Now, let’s not forget that this nation which has 133.92 crores of people, hates sex. Sex is the devil's work, and God forbid anyone take part in it, except after marriage of course. Because after marriage, whether you like it or not you’re having sex, ladies. I know, I know, it’s confusing, all this contradiction, but try to look at it from the perspective of a man from 5th century AD and it all adds up.
It’s not uncommon knowledge that women are but objects for the beautiful creatures that are men, so they can only measure our worth by making sure we’re not damaged goods. It’s only fair. So they check us out, you know, to make sure. A broken hymen? Beep. That woman has been canceled off all future wedding offers. You’ve had sex, so you’re now impure and not a human anymore. Sorry, I don’t make the rules around here.
But, what I can help you with is this – how to keep your virginity and be the perfect wedding candidate.
First, always remember that your body is a temple, so keep it pure. If you remember this simple tip, you’re golden. Things that ruin your purity? That’s a short list – sex.
DO NOT HAVE SEX.
Just don’t let yourself be carried away by your natural, very normal human instincts. Fight your libido, make efforts to be as unnatural as possible. (Not too much though, you may end up with a liking for women which is another problematic area we do not want to tread.)
Secondly, ward off the evil spirit of autonomy. *shiver* Autonomy is the root of all evil. Control over your own body? Not today. Making your own decisions? Never. Giving yourself space to figure out your own body? Not on my watch.
Then you want to make sure you dress properly. We don’t want men to lose control of their senses when they see you and it’s your job to keep that in check. Cover yourself from top to bottom, do not apply too much makeup, but also not too little makeup. Just enough to turn a few heads, but not so much that they approach you. We’ve got to keep our purity, remember?
Now that you’ve followed these three steps, all you have to do next is never talk to a man unless he’s related to you. If you allow yourself to talk to any man that is not a relative, you’re busted. There will be no wedding, and there will be no marital sex. You’ll lose everything you ever wanted. So, don’t talk to any other men except those in your family.
And the last tip, do not speak about sex or think about sex or picture sex. All of those are signs of a weak female character. And we are not weak, we’re very strong, aren’t we? So no sex-related thinking or you could be forever alone, and we do not want that.
If you keep all these tips in mind, you can make it through the purity test you will have to take before you get married off. And, your virginity will be untouched, except of course if your hymen breaks while exercising or running or playing a sport, in which case you’re on your own, even I can’t help you with that.
On a more serious note, the concept of virginity has been a defining characteristic for women and their eligibility for marriage and most other social standings for decades. India has always put in the extra effort to preserve our age old traditions for the sake of purity, but some of these have no logical explanations making them difficult to be followed.
The idea of keeping a woman’s virginity intact came to existence for the maintenance of sheer power dynamics between men and women. While this tradition still holds its value in conventional society today, women have more autonomy over their body than they have ever had before, even though there is a long way to go. Sometimes keeping up with these traditions seems out of place when we look at the present state of things, where these conventions do not need to be upheld.
Looking into the implications of the virginity pact doesn’t help its cause either. Keeping in mind that women are in fact in charge of their own bodies and can govern the decisions based on their choice, we can start to see why need to stop holding onto these orthodox ideas of sexual conduct and the repercussions that come with it.