June 11, 2008

"Operation Lets Muslim Women Reclaim Virginity"/"Surgery Offers Muslim Women Illusion of Virginity."

The NYT rewrote that headline. I'm still trying to figure out why they wrote it the way they originally did, with the word "reclaim," indicating that hymen repair surgery would actually make the woman a virgin again (as opposed to assist her in perpetuating a fraud). All I can say is that the first headline fits the way the article — written by Elaine Sciolino and Souad Mekhennet — mainly takes the point of view of the women who are intent on deceit as they enter marriage.

The notion seems to be that it's bad for a man or his family to want the bride to be a virgin and that therefore she is entitled to use trickery. I can think of some situations in which such trickery is justified, but these are European women who chose to use their freedom to have sex before marriage and who are now free to find a husband who does not demand virginity.

The article also talks about the recent French case were a court annulled a marriage after it was discovered tha the wife had falsely claimed to be a virgin. I like Eugene Volokh's discussion of the case:
[P]eople are entitled to choose their spouses based on any reason at all, and to my knowledge French law allows them to agree to divorce based on any reason at all (again, at least if both agree). Saying that they may also annul the marriage based on any misrepresentation that they saw as material strikes me as no different: It's an accommodation of people's choices about whom to have a tremendously important relationship with, and we should generally accommodate those choices even when we think they are partly unwise — I say partly because while the insistence on virginity strikes me as unsound, the concern about the lie strikes me as much more proper — or reinforce unsound community attitudes.

28 comments:

oldirishpig said...

"...these are European women..."

Do we really consider these women to be 'European'? Sure, they were born and lived there but they do not seem to have absorbed the essential thoughts that might make them something other than aliens.

Ann Althouse said...

They are European in that they are living in free counties and can choose to have sex and to marry someone who doesn't require virginity. I'd have different ideas about this if the women were living under a repressive regime. They are not

Meade said...

What sort of woman would want to marry a man who wants to marry the sort of woman who would marry the sort of man who she knows can be so easily fooled?

George said...

I've been to wedding receptions where a blood-stained sheet is waved by the mothers of the bride and groom after the newlyweds have gone away, so to speak.

And I've been to marriages where no women were present, and they were heterosexual marriages.

It's a strange world.

AllenS said...

What next? Fake orgasims?

Hoosier Daddy said...

They are European in that they are living in free counties and can choose to have sex and to marry someone who doesn't require virginity. I'd have different ideas about this if the women were living under a repressive regime. They are not

The repressive regime is the Muslim culture that many of these women are raised in. There are more than a few cases of honor killings among Muslim women because they were shagging someone before they were married. So a lot of them are not as free as you may think.

bearbee said...

The certificate of virginity upon hymenoplasty seems a far greater lie. Both women AND men need to change this idea of dishonor. Islam does not require virginity before marriage. Sounds like a medieval carryover.

If one or the other party was found after marriage to have a nose job, would that be grounds for annulment? Perhaps they need to adopt an official checklist - general and culture specific, perhaps 30-40 pages in length - do you or have your ever: plucked your eyebrows, taken viagra, eaten meat (if a vegetarian), etc., completed prior to application for a marriage license.

Christy said...

Years ago I had a pal who claimed there was a "reborn virgin" movement. He couldn't get laid for love nor money.

Pogo said...

I'd have different ideas about this if the women were living under a repressive regime. They are not.

Some women in Europe are in fact living within a repressive regime. Ther are "no go" neighborhoods in France and Denmark, entirely controlled by Islamic men. The women born into this culture do not in fact have any choice in the matter at all. Should they be sexually assaulted or abused, they are not virgins and are blamed for it. This surgeryu, done surreptitiously, offers a way out of an honour killing.

Some women in Europe are adopting the repressive Islamic ways, and their only way in is to feign virginity.

Fen said...

So a lot of them are not as free as you may think.

Agreed. Cultural values can be as enslaving as any repressive regime.

Ann: They are European in that they are living in free counties and can choose to have sex and to marry someone who doesn't require virginity.

Jim Jones and the People's Temple. Branch Davidians. New York Times readers. All Americans living in a free country, all enslaved by their "culture".

/okay, the NYTs bit was a cheap shot, but I counldn't resist.

Robert Burnham said...

The story title in the print edition is "Muslim Women and Virginity: 2 Worlds Collide".

Note the steady move toward a neutral stance in the title choice(s).

Fen said...

Note the steady move toward a neutral stance in the title choice(s).

My first thought was that the NYTs needed to include its Canadian readers, so it must appease their "human rights" council.

Then I remembered we have our own PCBS Nazi's here in America.

William said...

The way we express our sexuality is coterminous with our culture. Socrates, Jefferson, and Tolstoy were fine men who by contemporary standards would deserve long prison terms for their sexual habits. And in prison they would have to be isolated from the other prisoners because of the monstrosity of their crimes... These Muslim women both in losing their virginity and in surgically restoring it are expressing our contemporary values. If their purity is a surgical construct, there are many men whose virility is a pharmaceutical construct. The most useful virtue a person can have in modern times is adaptability. These women are to be congratulated for the purity of their commitment to change.

Hoosier Daddy said...

These Muslim women both in losing their virginity and in surgically restoring it are expressing our contemporary values.

Define 'our contemporary values' please. I'm pretty sure few Western men are inquiring whether or not their bride to be had their hymens perfortated.

Trooper York said...

The only hymen I ever saw perforated was when Rocco Lampone put two into Hymen Roth in the Airport in Two.

Trooper York said...

That was corrected surgically of course.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well I heard that the place to go for this type of procedure is Hyme Town.

Kind of like with tonsil surgery, after the procedure you get a sundae except you get a cherry on top.

knoxwhirled said...

Some women in Europe are in fact living within a repressive regime. Ther are "no go" neighborhoods in France and Denmark, entirely controlled by Islamic men.

You would think this would be headline news. Instead, even outside Canada, it's a fact viewed Politically Incorrect by the MSM. And therefore ignored. If it weren't for the blogosphere coverage of people like Theo van Gogh, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Mark Steyn, I would have no idea this was the reality in Europe right now. I don't think most people have any clue.

Moose said...

So this is different how from labia piercings and clitoral rings in what way?

Live by other peoples interpretations of your mores, die by that very same interpretation. In a racially monolithic view of genital mutilation (say Western Protestant White people), piercings are as repugnant as clitoral circumsion or hymen replacement.

However in our multi-culti world, such outright condemnations are considered narrow minded and uneducated.

Now, don't you all feel bad about this thread?

Duscany said...

Hymen surgery is carrying coals to Newcastle. Every woman is a virgin again every full mooon anyway.

Duscany said...

Hymen surgery is carrying coals to Newcastle. Every woman is a virgin again every full mooon anyway.

Duscany said...

Hymen surgery is carrying coals to Newcastle. Every woman is a virgin again every full mooon anyway.

Hoosier Daddy said...

So this is different how from labia piercings and clitoral rings in what way?

Different because Western men don't see labia piercings and clitoral rings things as a pre-requisite for marriage.

In a racially monolithic view of genital mutilation (say Western Protestant White people), piercings are as repugnant as clitoral circumsion or hymen replacement.

Perhaps but Western girls aren't being honor killed by their fathers and brothers for getting a genital piercing either. Oh and don't forget the choice thing. I'll wager the women getting clitoral circumcision aren't doing so of their own free will.

Trooper York said...

You never want to get a hummer from a girl with a tongue piercing. It's like sticking you dick in a jar of washers. Ouch!

Allegdedly!

Moose said...

HD, it *is* a choice.

They don't have to stay in that culture, in that community. It's their choice to stay with the people that threaten her, as it is her choice to have the surgery.

The fact that her culture and its interpretation of her religion is repressive is not even germane to the question of choice.

Look, she's having elective surgery done - that's not cheap and I don't think its covered under National Health. She's doing it to maintain her position in her culture - not to save her life.

Same reasons that people do stupid things to their bodies all the time.

Hoosier Daddy said...

They don't have to stay in that culture, in that community. It's their choice to stay with the people that threaten her, as it is her choice to have the surgery.

Its evident you know little about Muslim culture, particularly that which refuses to assimilate with their host country.

B said...

The article suggests that the surgery is mostly intended to fool a groom's illiberal family. The bride is not a virgin; the groom knows she's not a virgin; but the groom's family, understanding this dynamic, insists on an inspection and a "certificate of virginity" or somesuch bullshit from an ob/gyn that the family knows personally.

In other words, it's a way to pull the wool over the eyes of an overbearing older generation. And really, that's a-okay with me. I also think, for example, that it's a good idea for gay children in repressive families to be true to themselves but lie their asses of to their parents, to the extent possible.

Jimmy said...

Anne,

As someone who comes from an extremely conservative family I'd have to disagree with you. I am a gay man from an immigrant Indian family and it took me a lot to breakaway from my family's expectations. I bet these girls probably have 3-5 siblings and about 40-50 cousins. From the very beginning they were probably taught to only socialize with their extended family. In addition they were probably told by their parents that their value as humans lay in them preserving their honor (virginity) and without it they are scum, garbage.

Disclosing their sex lives would require these women to basically be considered whores by their family/friends and cause their entire family to be mocked everywhere they go.

If you want to take a libertarian approach and see this as a purely contractual issue, go ahead. But I think government should be taking proactive steps to prevent women from being trpped by medieval ideas.