Let’s thank the Goddess we’re into the time of new beginnings, and a freshening of our intent. We could do with embracing the positivity and courage a snowdrop finds to push through our winter’s frozen earth. Looking perfect in its cloak of gleaming white, and laced with the prettiest of frills, it seems pure and virginal. But behind that delicate demeanor, the snowdrop has a force we’d all like to harness. Picking it, so it may sit in a posy vase to pretty our homes, unwittingly cuts the bloom from the power source, the nectar, we wished to harness.
Does the word ‘virginal’ make you shudder too? In your mind’s eye, what image is evoked? Think about it for a moment. We could liken young girls, daughters, granddaughters, and sisters to being snowdrops.
Chasteness, honour, and virtue are all standards of conduct depicted by a culture of judgement. Like the snowdrop cut from its wild life source, virginity must be ‘taken’, or ‘lost’. It’s never given. To make a gift of it just wouldn’t be, well...virginal. So it feels, to me, like it’s an attempt by the ‘taker’ to steal or harness that power source. Where the differences become apparent, though, is that the snowdrop slowly dies in that posy vase, and life for the virgin doesn’t really change, the earth probably doesn’t move, and the power source isn’t actually lost.
It strikes me that ‘virginity’ is simply a word/description created to bolster masculinity. A woman has virginity for the taking (And a boy has virginity for ridiculing). It’s a plastic coin to fill out his wallet. It’s empty, self flattery that a man imagines he’s cut a girl from her virginal life force.
Now let’s take our minds back to the books on the school library shelves. Anatomy and Physiology, for instance...But let’s mix it up a bit and look at Anatomy and Physics! Virginity has more recently come into the light as a PHYSICAL description of a woman’s chasteness, honour and virtue. But this physical classification is, at best, farcical. It depends solely on the presence of a fine band of tissue, the hymen, enclosing a woman’s vagina from her perineum. Sex will certainly tear this delicate tissue (hence the oh, so judged blood on the sheets), and so will many sports, physical activity, menstrual flow management and masturbation.
So, wouldn’t it be fair to say this ‘classification’ is flawed? Would you be shocked to know there are at least 20 private clinics in UK that will take £150-£300 from a family to physically examine a girl to ‘certify’ she is a virgin? And even more shocked to know there is ‘virginity hymen reconstruction surgery’ for £1,500-£3,000?
Virginity ‘testing’ before marriage, or even before taking on professional jobs, is expected in over 20 countries, when there is absolutely no scientific validity or evidence to support it. It is highly intrusive, potentially traumatic, and breaches women’s and girls’ human rights. ‘Consent’ is often given by coercion, or by the family. In either case, it isn’t consent. It is ethically and morally wrong, humiliating and degrading, and boils down to basic sexual assault.
The good news is a new law to ban virginity testing in UK has past its first hurdle. The all party supported ’10 Minute Rule’, Virginity Testing (Prohibition) Bill 2019-2021, brought by Richard Holden seeks to prohibit virginity testing procedures. Please watch out for it. Sign petitions. Spread the word.
The only reason these practices are still offered is a backward mentality about ‘virginity’. It’s a plastic coin in a man’s wallet. It’s not for the taking, not in the name of religion, respect, or honour. A woman’s hymen is no measure of her, and is her business alone. Not her partner’s, her family’s, and certainly not a stranger in a white coat.
Are you tired of all these women’s rights issues? I really am! Let’s be snowdrops. We still have a long way to go. Just when I think women’s rights are moving forward, I get smacked in the face by something like this. Let’s keep pushing through that hard soil. Let’s glow in the sparkly winter sunshine, with our white cloaks and our petticoat frills, strong and united in the knowledge that a stolen flower head is no measure of our spirit.