This is a guest column by Sex + Cookies 2.0, whose advisers include Feministe contributor Echo Zen and students who’ve been pushing sex-positivity since before Tumblr made it cool. We’re stoked to be Feministe’s first relationship vloggers.
Note: For technical reasons, Episode #5 is being posted out of order, after Episode #6.
Teddy bears, feminist videogames, and tampons. Today’s episode of Feministe’s vlog is on virginity, but also features more Rilakkuma and Chell. And if you’re wondering what the heck we’re talking about, well, let’s say we’ve done a facelift to show we read your comments and knew it was time for a change…
So, whilst we were playing Portal, someone sent in a question which went like this…
“How come I can stick a tampon in myself, and still be considered a virgin? I understand a non-virgin is someone who’s had a penis penetrating a vagina before. But if penetration is that important, how is being penetrated by a tampon any different? It’s like sexuality only counts when it’s involving penises or something.”
Well, you seem to have figured out the definition for virginity is both arbitrary and confusing.
When tampons were introduced in the 1930s, members of the Catholic priesthood were predictably opposed. They claimed tampons would break your vagina’s hymen, and encourage you to touch yourself. And by touch, we mean fingering your dirty, sinful vagina.
So, even in the good ol’ days, stupid grownups assumed breaking your hymen would impact your virginity. Nowadays, if you try Googling a medical description for virginity, you’ll notice two things.
First, everyday stuff like biking, dancing, menstruating, or otherwise acting like a normal human being can break your hymen. So it’s impossible to test if you’re a virgin just by checking your hymen. Second, if there’s no way to test if someone’s a virgin, then there’s no medical definition for virginity either.
Virginity is a strictly cultural idea, not a scientific one, so virginity can only exist as long as folks believe in it.
Because you’re right, why should your virginity depend on our culture’s worship of ****ing penises? What about lesbians?
If you have sex with hundreds of women, but never with men, are you still a virgin? Some may say no, any sex makes you a non-virgin. But if you have sex with yourself by using your fingers, does that mean you lost your virginity to your fingers?
Yes, virginity is confusing, so ultimately only you can decide what virginity means to you. In the meantime, keep sticking those tampons in yourself if you’re okay with it.
Since this project started, we’ve covered mostly “safe” topics, in the sense that most of them don’t attract many rape threats or trolls. Whilst misogynists may rage at how mandating consent for sex is an attack on manhood, they simply lack the critical thinking to debate (or care) if all lesbians are virgins, or whether consent is useful to teach to serial rapists.
But this will change with future episodes. Some students have been pushing us to cover more divisive, un-safe topics, especially rape myths where even feminists sometimes may have missed fascinating details. For instance, most of us know skirts don’t cause rape – but did you know there’s evidence conservative clothing may actually lead to more rape? We’ll analyse that in an upcoming episode.
Now to address some questions on your mind…
1) Yep, we mispronounced “Feministe”. It should sound French, like “femin-eest”, and people even commented about that for our previous episode – but we’d recorded narration for this episode by then. It’ll be fixed by next episode.
2) According to Jill’s stats, 15 times more humans read our episode transcripts than actually watch episodes. So clearly people weren’t kidding in the comments on how the vlog was becoming less engaging. So we revamped the visuals to rectify that – and also to have an excuse to play more videogames. And speaking of games, we promise we’ll only ever play videogames that intersect with feminism somehow, by featuring feminist characters or themes. As SkyTracer pointed out, the list of qualifying games is vanishingly short – but hey, we’re up for the challenge. Any suggestions on what to play next are welcome! After all, the reason we featured “Portal” in this episode was Willemina suggested it. See, comments do shape the future!
3) Finally, Fat Steve has offered to take on narration duties for future episodes, since the current narrator hasn’t been up to par. We want to know if the narrator sounds any better this time around or by the next episode – if not, we’ll shift over to Steve in 2014.
Hope everyone did well on their final exams!
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