Childrearing

Presenting Fathers with Certificates of Purity is the Most Vomit-Inducing Wedding Trend

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giphy-22A lot of people choose to abstain from sexual relations before marriage, and that is just great for them if that is how they choose to live. But a lot of the narrative behind the fetishization of a woman’s “purity” or “innocence” is frankly gross and indicative of a worldview that considers women to be property of their fathers and husbands rather than actual human beings. When that narrative gets out of hand, we get grotesque events like “purity balls” where adolescent girls pretend to marry their fathers and swear to remain virgins as a way of metaphorically signing over their vaginas until the day their fathers see fit to hand the privileges over to some other man. (There is no way to talk about this that is not nauseating.) But according to Yahoo Parenting, apparently a new trend in weddings is for virgin brides to actually have a doctor test them to prove their hymens are intact, and then present a doctor-notorized “virgin certificate” to their fathers at their wedding receptions.

One bride recently posted a proud photo of herself with her father at her wedding and said she was proud to be able to present him with a certificate that a doctor said her hymen was still intact. According to the musicians at her reception, the father in question is a minister, and the presentation of “hymen certificates” is a new trend among brides from the purity ball set.

I can see where a person might want to “save themselves” for marriage, and that is lovely if that is what they want. But while I am totally in favor of waiting for marriage if that is what a person wants, the idea of presenting one’s father with a doctor-certified note of hymen intactness is still utterly repulsive on many levels.

For starters, hymen tissue is not a reliable indicator of virginity. Women are born with different amounts of it. Some women don’t have much hymen to start with, and others lose theirs through physical activity. Other women can have sex without actually tearing their hymens at all. Other women have a lot of hymen tissue and sometimes have to resort to surgery to even be able to use things like tampons. Hymens are not proof of virginity!

It is also a matter of trust. If a woman says she is a virgin, the people she is telling should damn well believe her, especially if they are supposed to be people who love her. It is utterly repugnant that a woman would have to submit to a physical examination and have a man write her a note to “prove” her virginity, as though her word were not enough. Anybody who requires a signed note of virginity from a doctor is disgusting.

Who are the doctors writing these certificates, anyway? They can’t possibly be certifying virginity, because as we established the presence of a hymen does not do that. Furnishing these certificates is irresponsible behavior on the part of the medical professionals doing so. And you know they are not furnishing certificates for any male virgins.

If that wasn’t weird enough, why is this certificate being given to the bride’s father? It would be gross enough giving it to one’s new husband. But one’s father? And not one’s mother? The patriarchy is like an onion. The world is just layers and layers of misogynist onion. You peel them back, and there is more underneath, and you cry.

Finally, there is the fact that these certificates are reportedly being handed out at wedding receptions, and that just explodes the etiquette centers of my poor little brain. I always thought that above all other things I was opposed to guests being judgmental at weddings, but apparently I am wrong, because if I were at a wedding when a bride stopped the festivities to announce to the assembled guests that she had a doctor look into her vagina to “certify” that her hymen was still intact so she could make a public gift of that knowledge to her father, I would definitely be this lady:

giphy-21(Via Tumblr)

For the sake of the guests, I really hope that was not a dry wedding.

Save your virginity for marriage if you want to! But nobody should have to get their hymen certified for their father’s happiness, and no father should expect that sort of thing.