Famous people say and do a lot of stupid shit. Remember when rapper B.o.B. tried to start a GoFundMe because he genuinely believed the earth was flat? Or when Alec Baldwin was kicked off a flight for refusing to stop his game of Words With Friends. But this week the rapper T.I. made these incidents look almost sensible with the revelation that he takes his daughter to the gynaecologist every year to check her hymen is still in intact.
In an interview on the Ladies Like Us podcast T.I. discussed being a parent, and was asked whether he’d had the “sex talk” with his daughters. He then went on to explain that he takes his 18-year-old daughter Deyjah Harris to the gynaecologist every year to “check her hymen” and see if it’d been broken, as in the mind of T.I. a broken hymen is indication she’s sexually active.
Not only does he head into the doctor’s appointment with her, with Deyjah signing statements so he can see the confidential post-appointment information, when it was explained to him by health professionals that the hymen can be broken in a multitude of other ways that aren’t sexual penetration (like riding a bike or doing sports) he tells the podcast hosts he said: “So I say: ‘Look, Doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously.’” He added that as of her 18th birthday she still had her hymen intact. Unsurprisingly the episode in which he made this unsavoury claims has now been deleted.
Removing the episode won’t make us forget the incredibly bleak revelation that T.I. makes his eldest daughter, who is legally an adult, go through an unnecessary and invasive medical procedure so he can ensure she hasn’t had sex. There’s so much wrong with this, so let’s break it down.
T.I.’s actions reinforce the idea that a woman’s body isn’t her own, and should remain “pure” until she’s married. It also pushes the idea that sex is only penis-in-vagina penetration, and ignores the idea that sex means many different things to many different people. The whole thing is disgusting, and focuses on outdated ideas of how a woman should behave. It pushes a sex negative, patriarchal narrative, and teaches young women to be afraid of sex.
There have also been countless reports that this type of testing can also be inaccurate. A review of “virginity testing” that appeared in the Reproductive Health journal said that “the inspection of the hymen cannot give conclusive evidence of vaginal penetration or any other sexual history”. You can break your hymen doing exercise or sports, so if your hymen’s “broken” it doesn’t mean you’ve had sex. And you can be sexually active and have an unchanged hymen.
Additionally, these “virginity tests” have been deemed painful, humiliating and traumatic by several United Nations agencies, who have called for a ban. The review in the Reproductive Health journal added these disgusting tests commonly lead to “psychological trauma with long-lasting adverse effects, including but not limited to anxiety, depression, loss of self-esteem, and suicidal ideation,” and concluded that “virginity testing is a form of gender discrimination, as well as a violation of fundamental rights, and when carried out without consent, a form of sexual assault”.
These tests have literally no way of proving if you have had sex and can be deeply traumatic. Even Planned Parenthood have Tweeted: “virginity is a made-up social construct.”
The United Nations are in agreement: “The term “virginity” is not a medical or scientific term. Rather, the concept of “virginity” is a social, cultural and religious construct – one that reflects gender discrimination against women and girls”. Virginity tests feed into the idea that when women have sex they lose something, and women should remain “virgins” until they’re married, both antiquated stereotypes that are deeply damaging for women worldwide.
T.I. should, frankly, be ashamed of himself. It’s horrendous that he’s putting his daughter through these invasive procedures for no reason other than to appease his worries that she’s sexually active – which would absolutely not be a big deal. He shouldn’t be shaming his daughter into making choices about her personal life, instead he should be educating his children on the importance of consensual, safe sex and not feeling pressured into doing anything they don’t want to. His comments are ghastly, old-fashioned and medically dangerous.
Be safe, have fun, don’t feel pressured into making any decision and whatever you do don’t listen to T.I..