Virginity is not a scientific term, but a social and religious construct. Women are expected to retain their virginity prior to marriage and continue to be subjected the patriarchal doctrine of the Indian society. In India losing of virginity before marriage is considered a taboo. The notion of the bride being a virgin on her wedding day is tied to the Hindu tradition of Kanyabandhan. Additionally, a newly wed bride is expected to bleed after the first intercourse post her marriage. A woman who bleeds on her wedding night proves that her hymen is intact and emerges as a symbol of purity. In several communities, women are beaten up if they fail the ‘test’ and their family is expected to pay a fine to the groom’s family. Not just rural areas and tribal communities virginity tests are also widespread in urban areas. Specifically, both in rural and urban areas women are expected to embody this ‘purity’. A bride is considered the epitome of traditional value and virtues.
Let’s have a look on the issue of Hymenoplasty or hymen reconstruction Surgery, has now become popular as several women are now undergoing Hymenoplasty. Women between the age of 20 and 30 years availed of this surgery to avoid being humiliated by their husbands on their wedding night. Though premarital sex is considered the most common reason for Hymenoplasty. The tearing of hymen is common among athletes and dancers because of rigorous physical activities. Additionally the procedure of Hymenoplasty involves certain risks. Given the overemphasis of virginity in India, the medical practitioners and the market making a quick buck. Instead of advising women against undergoing the surgery, most doctors aim to benefit from the rising trends of hymen repair. I
It is important for men to understand premarital sex is not the only reason why hymens break. Nonetheless, a women’s right to retain her virginity is her right to privacy and confidentiality. And forcing her to undergo surgeries to remain ‘pure’ on her wedding night is an act of violating her privacy. State and international bodies should take up the responsibility to break cultural barriers and create campaign which project women as human beings.