Article by Chloe Whitestone
Virginity is a social construct.
This is a common phrase, but not ubiquitous or known or accepted enough.
From “the talk” we are given in our youth to the end of our sexual lives, we are told many things about virginity, sometimes blatantly and sometimes in subtext. However, the fact of the matter is that “virginity”, whether a person maintains it or not, is used against us no matter what we do, to stereotype and judge us, to erase and demean us, to create a false image about sex.Virginity is, firstly, sexist. A man is expected and encouraged to have lost his virginity early on in his life, and rarely is the word “virgin” associated with a man. Meanwhile, women have always had strong association with their virginities, throughout history.
Furthermore, a man’s virginity can never be “proved”, but by society’s standards a woman’s can if her “first time” causes her to bleed—which ignores factual information about the hymen and discredits a woman’s body.
Virginity is, additionally, heterosexist—it subscribes to the belief that heterosexuality is the norm. It assumes that everyone is heterosexual, as “virginity” clearly refers to male/female sex. By so doing, it erases anyone who is not heterosexual, eliminating them as a person entirely, as they cannot “lose” their virginity by virginity’s heterosexual guidelines.
Virginity turns both “sex” and people into worthy things to be attained. It ignores the fact that people are, in fact, people, who can make educated decisions for themselves about what they do or do not want to do. It gives sex a double-sided pedestal that either congratulates you or demeans you, depending a wide variety of factors, most of which are not in your favor.
Virginity advocates slut-shaming, a mindset I live trying to stop. Because a woman wants to have sex, or because a woman wants to dress sexily, or because a woman has had sex for any reason, or because a woman talks about sex, or because a woman exists in any manner that correlates her with sex is no reason for her to be subjugated by society or her peers.
Instead of shaming a girl for having sex or “losing her virginity”, encourage girls to have safe, educated sex with someone they are comfortable with when they are ready, and speak out against the severe problems of rape culture and slut-shaming.
Virginity implies that once you have sex you are losing something. In reality, you are simply being a human being. It does not add to your maturity; it does not decrease from your worth. Innocence related to virginity is an archaic conviction that has no substantial value and only stigmatizes those who have become sexual.
Virginity suggests that one is defined by sexual experience. The idea that if she has or has had sexual partners, she has less worth—this is obscenely false. People are not more or less worthy by how much sex they have had; they are not better or worse people because of it. No person owes the world anything, especially sexually.
Virginity is a social construct, and I hope you remember that when discussing virginity, when contemplating your or someone else’s sexual life, and when someone experiences shame as a result of sex or lack thereof. You simply don’t know the circumstances, and, as it is not your life,
you are not qualified to inflict your own opinions on to another person, just as I assume you would not want someone else to do so to you.
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