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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Western women and their vaginas

Ok, this post isn't even close to as dirty as the title makes it out to be, but it's a way of grabbing your attention regardless. Basically I wanted to bring your attention to this piece in the NYTimes titled Our Vaginas, our selves that is supposed to lament the way western women feel about their ..ehhh...vaginas in this crazy modern world we live in. While it's kind of a funny read, there is something in it that caught my attention as slightly distrubing, And if you are familair with the middle-east, you know what I am talking about : the hymenoplasty. But wait, there's more. The future as I see it is also - how to put this? - reforested. Hymen-reattachment surgery, once a desperate stratagem undertaken by young women from Muslim, Asian and Latin American cultures that demonized the loss of virginity before marriage, is now being hawked as a way to enjoy a second honeymoon. If it's unclear whom this procedure is meant for - aging women hoping to catch a flagging penis with the semblance of undeflowered innocence? - it's even more ontologically ungraspable how stitching a hymen back together vitiates the psychological experience of having already lost your virginity. But it is being advertised heavily in print as well as online, and one enterprising doctor who trained with Matlock says he performs about a dozen such operations a month and fields voluminous amounts of e-mail inquiries. So this humiliating medical procedure that girls from muslim/middle-eastern cultures have to go through if they had sex, got raped or broke their hymen while exercising so that their husbands don't call them whores on their wedding nights and/or their family kills them in an honor crime is actually being marketed as a cool hip thing to do for some aging western ladies with too much money to spend? Are you kidding me? I am sorry, but that's pretty messed up right there.


At 1/03/2006 07:57:00 PM, Blogger Kat said...

Dude, I absolutely agree, this is completely messed up.

I can't even imagine why anyone would

a) want to go through the humiliation of re-attaching the hymen, or

b) go through the pain and (sometimes) humiliation of having it breached again.


At 1/03/2006 09:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luckily...I've never heard of anybody doing this. Its crazy!

At 1/03/2006 10:36:00 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

What really sucks is not that women in the west are free to undergo such procedures for personal or even aesthetic reasons; rather it sucks that women in the Middle East are forced to undergo such a procedure for ridiculous, hypocritical and sexist ideologies and rules that are forced on them by a patriarchal society that generally demeans women. To add to the misfortunes of these women,such procedures are done in secrecy and therefore, possibly in unsanitary conditions… and all that so the woman can offer her “virginity” or the illusion of it as a present to her man and his ego. Virginity seems to be a marketing condition in the arab marriage market, but only as it pertains to women…not men! This double standard reflects that it is not about religion or morals as many would claim but rather about male dominance and patriarchy… and that to me is what really sucks! I am not promoting promiscuity or anything like that, celibacy is great and having religious morals and values that discourage premarital sex is also commendable... but if these are the real factors behind the obsession over virginity than it would not only be particular to women (meanwhile, men are encouraged or expected to have sexual encounters).

As for western women undergoing this procedure at their own free will and for their own reasons or pleasure, what’s the big deal? On the other hand, I could see how this may be a big deal for Arab men. They are probably feeling that they are losing control and feelings of empowerment because women are now offered ways to break away from some of the constraints society places on them, if they chose to that is… I guess men will just have to TRUST their women now! )

At 1/04/2006 02:16:00 AM, Blogger Anna in Portland (was Cairo) said...

I think most of the people taking advantage of this "medical procedure" are Middle Eastern wealthy ones, not Western ones. At least, I also cannot imagine why a Western woman to whom virginity is not synonymous with "honor" to want the procedure for any reason.

At 1/04/2006 07:09:00 AM, Blogger The Sphinx said...

Caroline said: (meanwhile, men are encouraged or expected to have sexual encounters)

Who said so?? In this society men who fornicate would be "condemned" just like their female counterparts. The thing is, there is no indication whether a man had sex or not (Men don't have hymens and they definitely don't get pregnant). I can't imagine that anyone (yes, even the most medieval-minded in this country) would encourage men to have sex, and denounce women who had sex as whores.

At 1/04/2006 11:06:00 AM, Anonymous scott said...

Sand Monkey you missed the best part of this whole deal. The author's name. Daphne MERKIN! BWAHAWHAWHAW! Look that up in your fave online dictionary.

At 1/04/2006 01:46:00 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Sphinx, I don't think the encouragement would be direct but look around you... my male middle-eastern friends have no problem boasting about their sexual encounters while women are so preoccupied at proving to the world that they are "innocent" and “inexperienced”. Men are also more likely to be open about their relationships and their past. Even if men are not literally encouraged to be promiscuous, I don’t think they are really discouraged either... men that are promiscuous are boys being boys while girls who have any kind of relationships are girls being “whores”. As for believing that they are expected to have sex, well, how about this… conduct a little informal poll asking females you know whether they expect or even prefer that their men are experienced… I am sure you will find that most females do expect it and some prefer it. So, how exactly are men equally condemned then?

Oh and as for your statement that “there is no indication whether a man had sex or not”, I don’t really understand what the relevance of that is to what you were saying about them being equally condemned. Or are you saying that that’s why they may get away with it easier than women? Because if that is what you are saying then… well, procedures like the one we are discussing will eliminate some of those indications that incriminate women… that way men and women are equal… just like you cant really tell whether a man had sex or not, the same will be in effect for women. I guess now, the fear of god and one’s own set of values and beliefs will be the only motivators for chastity… and not the fear of society and of men.

At 1/04/2006 05:10:00 PM, Blogger The Sphinx said...

Caroline, how about this: Men/boys like to show off and want to appear as "studs" in front of their male counterparts, that's probably the reason why they're more open about their sexual encounters, etc.. Also it's also very unlikely for a man to show off about having sex in front of a woman (I'll exclude the internet here, because people tend to be more open due to the anonymity). And it's even less likely that a man boasts about his sexual experience in front of his family.
Imagine this scenario for a moment: 19 year old egyptian male just comes home late at night. His parents ask him where he's been and he says he was "spending the evening at his girlfriend's house having sex with her". Do they:
a) Nod in approval?
b) Scold him for coming home so late?
or c) Unleash raging hell fires onto the guy?

About this poll you're telling me about, I'm sorry but I don't believe it'll have that result. Find me one Female that requests here future husband be a fully fledged adulterer. After all, a man who has been in bed with other women before is likely to do it again, even after marriage. Is there any woman around that wants her husband to betray her? I think not..
Something else that occured to me just now: In this society women tend to be overprotected by the families, more than men, because the families believe that men can take care of themselves to some extent. So if a girl has sex with someone in spite of all that protection it has a stronger impact onto the family.

And yes, I was saying that men can get away with it easier than women. But now as there is a possibility for women to get away with it too, they will definitely grasp the chance. And I personally think that a person's "fear of God and one's own set of values" should be the ONLY motivator for chastity. If it's only fear of this society then the person probably didn't give a crap in the first place..

At 1/04/2006 07:30:00 PM, Blogger Crazy Girl said...

"fear of God and one's own set of values"

First of all why does one have to fear God to have values? Why does anyone have to fear God at all. Why not respect what God wants and learn and understand what God wants and than follow something that you have knowledge and understanding about? I don't think making anyone fear something is going to make them not do it..

Second of all should we all just start taking stupid practices and make money off it? What the hell.. I also want to know what kind of girl would want to open her legs and have someone dig up there and put her hymen back together. What the hell.. So if a girl thinks a guy should have his foreskin, can he go and have it surgically reattached? I wonder how many guys would go for that if their girl wanted that..
stupidity reeks..

At 1/04/2006 11:43:00 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Sphinx, regarding your first point… I never said that men are directly encouraged by family to have sex, especially not the 19 yr old in your example. It is a little more subtle than that. As for showing off, contrary to your belief, men are more open in front of their female friends and girlfriends than you think. I don’t know a woman that was ever in a relationship with a man that did not openly speak of his past without reservations, when asked of course. Actually, some men even exaggerate their experience to appear more “manly” (this was a social research finding I read a while ago)

In your second point you are relating premarital sex to cheating in marriage. I don’t see the relationship. I don’t agree that someone who had sex prior to marriage is more likely to cheat when married! (Is this a personal belief or do you know something I don’t). Hmmm… and I certainly don’t agree that men can take care of themselves better than women can.

But thanks for agreeing that fear of God and one’s own set of values should be the only motivator for chastity… that means it’s a personal choice because after all, if its done for any other reason than its stupid and petty.

At 1/05/2006 12:51:00 AM, Blogger The Sphinx said...

What I noticed is that lots of people keep saying: In this society men are allowed to do what they want, women on the other hand are condemned once they step out of the line. And sorry to say, I think that idea is dumb. When I hear that I get the impression that families will let their male members do whatever they feel like without any disapproval. And that's very untrue (as shown here by my example of the 19-year old)
Most male people here do what they want to do.. It doesn't make them allowed to do it. It's just that people here don't get themselves caught by their families, otherwise they'd be into deep, deep trouble, right?

And if you read my post you'll see that I said "because the families believe that men can take care of themselves to some extent". I wasn't saying that that really is the case.

Actually our whole life is based on personal choice. Even in Islam, God showed humanity the right way and the wrong way very clearly and showed what consequences lie behind each way. People with their God-given minds and thinking should choose their own way and accept the consequences that they should be VERY WELL AWARE OF. Our society here is a bit different. It's not based on personal choice but on conformity..


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