Last month, Soad Abdel Rassoul from Radio Netherlands published an Arabic translation for a Chinese advertisement targeting Middle East countries. The product? Artificial Virginity Hymen.
The majority of comments on this product have been from men. Interestingly, the only woman to speak out on this issue so far is Abdel Rassoul.
Abdel Rassoul said:
China is a coutnry that has really understood us and revealed our truth, our diseases, and our obsession with image but not content. We are a contradictory nation that suffers from severe schizophrenia.
By selling us prayer beads, Ramadan lanterns, Hajj clothes, veiled Barbie dolls, Islamic swimsuits, and no hymens, China has been caressing the “Islamic” concept inside all of us by providing us with the image of what we want others to see in us, even if it is just a lie.
Afterwards, a lot of buzz started to evolve around the possibility of having such a product in Egypt: many bloggers posted their opinions about it, comments and topics were on several forums, even jokes started to spread about the issue. Sheikh Saied Askar, a member of the parliamentary bloc of the Muslim Brotherhood and a member of the Committee of Religious Affairs of the People’s Assembly, has stated a warning to the Egyptian government from allowing such an action on the bloc’s official website. Sheikh Askar stated:
Girls in general are afraid of committing such a sin for the sake of preserving their membranes and the presence of such products will tempt the weak souls to commit it as the availability of an alternative is now everywhere.
On the same site, Dr. Fared Ismail, member of the same bloc and Health Committee of People’s Assembly, strongly disapproved allowing the entrance of this product in the Egyptian market considering this action—in his own words–“mutilation of the society’s high values”.
In his comment on the issue for the BBC news, Professor Abdul Mouti Bayoumi, a professor at Al Azhar university, said this of the fake virginity product:
“[This product’s release is] Akin to spreading vice in society, a crime punishable by death in Islamic Sharia law.”
So any Egyptian girl who doesn’t have premarital sexual relationships does so only for the sake of staying a virgin? So virginity as a virtue and a concept is all about the hymen? I am not defending the product, nor am I defending premarital sex. I am offended by the implication and questioning the value of “virginity”.
Let’s assume for a second that this is the case, that the hymen is everything. So this is how women are supposed to be treated? Like children who are better kept away from danger cause they are incapable neither of protecting themselves, nor telling right from wrong? Notice how Askar refers to women as “girls.”
According to Askar, a woman is a weak creature who is incapable of choosing what to do and what not to do, and is easily tempted to commit “sins” if they became closer and easier to her. No mention is made of how the fake hymen may tempt men to sin—doesn’t a man face the same temptation?
Rather than asking ourselves what made China come up with such an idea or why there’s a very high possibility that the manufacturer of this product might hit his first million from selling it in Egypt, we are “afraid” that it might just make sex easier and in turn, more common.
In a community that worships appearances and gives minimal—if any—attention to the reality of things, it’s no wonder that news of a product like this can spread quickly.
Also a lot of the buzz surrounded the fact that the existence of such an option will make it harder for men to make sure that their brides are natural virgins or not, as if the worth of a wife was measured only by her hymen. Not to mention the fact that now women can have premarital sexual experiences without detection the same way men have been able to do.
What would make a girl uses such a product and lie such a lie? In a community that never blames a man for having premarital sex (and in fact sometimes considers it a plus), a woman takes all the blame, which can end in ruined reputations, inability to find a husband, or even “honor killings.” So the fake hymen is a way to survive, or at the least, have one’s cake and eat it, too.
Rather than fearing the spread of the complications, I think it’s better to look closer to the main reason of the problem … not just what it “looks” like or what’s on the surface. Otherwise, don’t blame someone who tries to fix the problem in the same way!
Editor’s Note: The story about a fake hymen for sale has recently been uncovered as a hoax, and the reporter who covered it, Amira al Tahawi, has been fired from her position at Radio Netherlands.