Doctors who “repair” women’s hymens are being threatened, apparently, by people who judge women’s value by the state of their hymen. While the stereotype of someone getting this surgery is a veiled Muslim woman, that isn’t entirely accurate.
Young also said that it’s not just women with Middle Eastern backgrounds seeking the surgeries. There has also been an increase in the number of women requesting hymen repair from both the Orthodox Jewish and Christian fundamentalist communities, as well as from women of all nationalities who want the surgery as a sexual enhancement.
“Within the fundamentalist Christian population as well there has been an apparent recent movement towards ‘traditional family values’ and there is pressure put on women to be virgins,” Young said.
Hymen repair is “sexual enhancement”? That’s odd to me… I don’t really understand how having a piece of tissue torn is sexually pleasurable for anyone, especially when that tearing comes complete with blood spillage.
So what exactly is hymen repair?
Typical hymen repair surgery involves stitching the remnants of a torn hymen together and inserting a gelatin capsule that contains a blood-mimicking substance. After the hymen has been surgically repaired, a woman will bleed the fake blood the next time she has sexual intercourse. The surgery, which costs from $2,500 to $4,500, is performed on an outpatient basis. Healing can take from a few days to a few weeks.
Fake blood. How sexy. The article is interesting, but what nags at me is the fact that no one really discusses the real problem: the fact that women’s hymens are equated with their purity, value and general worth, and the fact that women are ostracized and sometimes even killed for making their own sexual decisions (or for having those decisions made for them). While I obviously don’t believe any doctor deserves to be threatened or killed for doing their job, I would hope that this problem is being more seriously attacked at its roots. And I would also hope that these doctors are offering their patients information about domestic violence and family abuse resources. If a woman comes in and is afraid of being beaten or killed for having sex, repairing her hymen isn’t going to solve the problem.