Every one I know has been sending me links to stories on the forced "virginity tests" in Egypt. Nothing like the opportunity of a revolution to justify sticking your fingers in tight, young pussy. How do they even know what they're looking for? Your hymen breaks apart once you reach puberty. I guess it's about tightness.
I hesitated to cover the story because I like D&R to be that one place where women can enjoy themselves without being reminded of all the f*cked up shit that happens to us. Then I got a google alert for "betty dodson". Mona Eltahawy - who I love and admire - was talking about the vagina monologues when she tweeted this:
Link pls? RT @bonjurno: Betty Dodson describes the play as a negative & restrictive view of sexuality & hatred of men & heterosexuality
She goes on to tweet that when she was the one moaning in the audience when the Vagina Monologues was performed at her college.
Betty has taken a ton of heat for calling out the Vagina Monologues. Many women knew that Betty's book Liberating Masturbation had inspired Eve - no one could understand why Betty's name was pulled from the project.
I was so impressed with Mona that I started reading her coverage of the virginity tests in Egypt. I think she hits the nail on the head:
"If the "it wasn't about gender" mantra is stuck on repeat so that we don't scare the boys away, then let them remember the state screwed them too, literally - ask political prisoners, and remember the condoms and Viagra found when protesters stormed state security headquarters.
(...) Let's be clear, "virginity tests" are common in Egypt and straddle class and urban/rural divides. Be it the traditional midwife checking for a hymen on a bride's wedding night, or a forensics expert or doctor called in after a prospective bridegroom's suspicions, young women are forced to spread their legs to appease the god of virginity. But no one talks about it.
But it's different when the state [or the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces] is the one forcing women's legs apart. A protest is planned for Saturday. It's a perfect time for gender to come out of the revolution's closet.
This must be our moment of reckoning with the god of virginity. The rage against the military must also target the humiliation brought by those tests, regardless of who carries them out."
I say "let's go" - let's put an end to the whole notion of virginity. There's no hymen anyway. It's a myth - something used to manipulate and intimidate women. I think we've had enough virginity tests and plays that celebrate female sexuality only to clobber you over the head with bleakness and violence for one lifetime. I'm ready for some real rage followed by a healthy dose of honest sex education.