By: Alexandra Kinias
“Women’s purity is like a matchstick that flames but once.” This quote that was first introduced in a 1940s Egyptian movie became very famous for generations to come. It is still widely used today; maybe just as a joke, but none-the-less it describes a disturbing social state of mind. In Egypt and other countries, women’s virtue is still judged by the existence of their hymen on their wedding night. The most disgusting scene I remember from another Egyptian Black and White movie was set in a village. On the wedding night of the two main characters, the whole village waited in anticipation in front of the newlywed’s home for the groom to come out and show them the white bed sheet stained with the bride’s purity — blood of her virtue. Only then the parents were relieved, the crowds cheered, music played and life went on.
Hymenless unmarried women are exposed to severe emotional, mental and sometimes physical abuse, but these are the lucky ones. In other harsher environments they are slaughtered like sheep for losing their virginity to someone other than their husbands in what is known as Honor killing; which is often above the law.
In some of these societies men walk away from their crimes as it is simply viewed as domestic violence. A male relative who cleanses the family’s scandal and retains its honor is viewed as a hero. He could be a father, brother, uncle, husband or all of the above together.
These cultural and social trends are not just contained anymore in their societies, but have succeeded in crossing borders and settling in new lands. As it may come as a surprise to many, honor killings have been committed in Northern America by the immigrants from such cultures.
To survive within the medieval mentalities that exist in these societies, women are now seeking hymenorophy, or the operation that restores their virginity. And who should blame them if they did. The hypocrisy in such societies has encouraged the soaring of such operations that are performed few days prior to their marriage, and with it their past is buried forever. Performed in underground clinics and under sedation doctors stitch up the hymen, and thus maintain men’s pathetic delusional vision of virtue.
These operations are not affordable to most women, but China surprised the Middle East with its newest product: an artificial hymen that is sold for a fraction of what an operation costs and simulates the bleeding a virgin bride experiences on her wedding night —- And that is not a joke.
The custodians of women’s virtue (men of course) in the Egyptian parliament dropped every other issue that might help a country that is on the verge of an unprecedented and inevitable economical crisis and spent long sessions discussing the ban on importing fake hymens and drafting laws that punish those who import and sell them.
I despise cheating in any shape or form, but I wonder that maybe men with such mentalities do deserve to be cheated by women who had sought such operations to salvage their lives from an inevitable fate.
I gravely fail to see any honor in a violent crime committed against women. Imagine the fear, submission and the pleading of a victim who in her last breaths begs for her life to be spared by those who are supposed to protect her. Where is the honor there?
To read more about Honor Killing in America check these links: