A good number of times when a girl commits suicide and I ask someone close to her, why did she did so? An answer comes like, “what else could have she done? She gave somebody ‘everything’. He betrayed. She couldn’t take the shame.” I get amazed and ask again, “What is this ‘everything’?”
-“Aha! Don’t you get it even though you are a girl yourself? Virginity.”
No dear! I am really sorry, but I really don’t understand though I am a girl myself that how can ‘everything’ of a human being of flesh & bone and sense & sensibilities can be defined by a ‘tissue’ of her body! This very tissue called hymen also has a big name. ‘The screen of virginity’! And it is a tissue, that a lot of girls might not have by birth, (so they are not virgin by birth), some girls might tear it while participating in sports, running, riding a bike and etc. These are known facts.
My today’s writing is for those, who dare to tear this ‘screen of virginity’ before marriage and also for those who cat call these women day and night. Firstly, the concept of the screen of virginity is very conspiratorial, very much male chauvinistic and inhuman. Suppose, you are educated, you have taken responsibility of your family, and maintain that, and if seen from that perspective, you are also working for your society and country. You have enough intelligence and depending on your decision you became very close to someone.
I want to say something here – we women are human beings too. Very common human beings with full physical and psychological needs. We are not born with some kind of angelic goodness.We also want to have physical and psychological love like men. It does not mean that we always think about sexuality and have bad character. Those who define ‘good girl’ to be always quite about sexuality does not know that inside all ‘good girls’ live a lot of ‘bad girls’.
What I was saying – the man you loved, and trusted the relationship to a level that you became physically close; yes you became physically close before marriage. Where is your fault here? Or where is the fault of your partner? Later somehow you found out that you loved the wrong person. Or may be you got cheated. Or only because the relationship didn’t last and so the whole thing suddenly started appearing like a ‘bad sin’, if you start to think that you had been ‘used’ then you are a very ‘patriarchal woman’. Yes. You read it right. You are beaten by the tricks and conspiracies of patriarchy. When you loved and became close, did your partner alone enjoyed those moments? Didn’t you? Only because the relationship didn’t last, all the good memories became ‘sin’ and you start hating yourself?
You loved someone and thought that to be a big mistake by deriving a decision ‘your everything is gone’, then I would only say you still didn’t manage to learn what your ‘everything’ is. Yes I know there are a lot of people who will come to our life only because of physical need and break up the relationship by cheating. There are men like this as well as women. And for this we should also use intelligence alongside emotion while choosing partner.
Still if someone comes to your life, and the moment you say after being cheated, ‘he left me after using’ that moment you yourself are making your body an object. It is ‘objectification of women’. That very man is a cheat, fine. But is your body a play doll or a tissue paper that someone can use and through away? Isn’t anybody else interested to play with it? Or swipe his nose in it? Not so right? Then think clearly. You chose a wrong partner, which was undoubtedly your mistake. But do not torture yourself why you trusted him so much for that. And just because he took your virginity; do not think you lost everything, rather think if that tissue screen is your ‘everything’ or all the things you can give to this world is your ‘everything’?
But yes, if any offensive incident happened to you; be it eve teasing, molestation or any other criminal offense, do not hesitate and get legal help. Get help from social media. But have you ever seen any cheat ex-boy friend think about virginity? Or the man who got cheated ever say his body has been used? Then why are you thinking that just because your hymen is torn, your value is gone or lost? You had two eyes, two ears, two hands, and two legs. You are still the same. You had a beautiful mind before that you still have. You chose a wrong partner before, you will choose better next time. You are the same as before. Believe it!
And those who are still valuing the traditional concept of this screen of virginity, I only want to urge them to be a little more humane, if unable to use brain someone looses ‘virginity’ before marriage (this term is also very objectionable), it is inhuman to blame her to be ‘sinner’ for the rest of her life. Do not make them feel disgusted about their life.
We are in the loop of patriarchy. The idea of virginity is one of the most important of it. The era when some of the women were glorified to be goddesses, a lot of others were burnt alive said to be witches, don’t forget that. If you do not leave patriarchy, patriarchy will not leave you.
When someone wants to know, ‘ you don’t believe in virginity at all?’ I say, I do. If there is no darkness in my mind, if I have trust in my relationship, then I am a virgin. Because Virginity is not physical, it is a psychological metaphor.
The original article was published in Bengali language in Women Chapter Bengali site on April 24, 2017. The artice has been translated by Tinni Rahman, a design professional . A multi-talented individual, her passions include travelling and learning new languages. She speaks 5 languages and traveled extensively across Asia and Europe.
Amendment: The article was originally titled as “Virginity is not physical, it is psychological.” Upon the writer’s request, we amended it to “Purity is not physical, but a psychological phenomenon” on 16th May, 2017 11:21 PM.
About Sharbani Datta:
Sharbani Datta hails from Chittagong, Bangladesh and is currently pursuing doing undergraduate studies in Economics (Hons.) from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. The fractures of our surroundings always drove her to take the pen in hand. Hence writing has not only been a hobby rather it’s always been a space for her to breathe freely, a means to understand the contemplation of life. She prefers to be known as a Bengali feminist who wants to break the ancestral ‘meek-coy-timid’ image of Bengali women.
Link to original article: