Virginity: A Lackluster Powerhouse

By Briana Shinhoster, Contributing Writer

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Virginity may just be a social construct that has done more harm than good. Photo courtesy of Wayne Stadler (Flickr)
Virginity may just be a social construct that has done more harm than good.
Photo courtesy of Wayne Stadler (Flickr)

Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized because of your virginity, or lack thereof. I have not met a female over the age of 16 whose sacred thoughts about herself have not been prodded by outside voices.

The destructive force of virginity is gauged by the blood of a broken hymen, which is not even reliable. Technically speaking, it can tear for numerous non-sexual reasons or not tear at all even after sex. So what else does a woman have to show for her word? Is her word even enough?

The concept of virginity involves the amount of control one person can have over another. The push to hook up clashes with the expectation to remain celibate. To further complicate the matter, it all blurs across gender expectations.

Not much is clear about virginity except that it’s a societal concept that is molded at the hands of everyone. The problem is, it can be altered by the hands of anyone at all. We are giving it our own energy to create a powerhouse, forming judgment on topics that were never our business to begin with. It’s pervasive how much forethought goes into the human body. As humans, we are conditioned to believe that all of the world has our best interest in mind, and now the world will be sadly disappointed.

Women have become so comfortable with pitting themselves against each other. This might be the reality that hurts the most, because I find comfort in discussion with and leaning on women. It’s always such a big deal when someone has lost their virginity. The news is whispered among friend groups and no doubt, spread to outside sources. All of the sudden it becomes all about comparisons and marketability, or disdain and shock. All of the sudden we are no longer in the same boat. What I’ve heard more than the actual opinions of women is the taunting of other women on how men are going to view them. I can’t help but feel as though this thought process has been adapted from the behavior of men.

After the information of who lost “it” begins to spread, it’s important that men don’t find out. The judgement young men and grown men impart into women is goosebumps worthy. Men rarely experience the same shame women do when it comes to holding on to virginity or letting go of it. Most men are applauded when they lose their virginity. Not only do they lack experience in having this shame piled on them, they’re also a leading cause of this experience in women. Their words carry so much weight—more than even I’d like to admit—and it’s been that way for centuries.

Just look in history textbooks. They are the reason these young women are being branded with labels. When they spew rude comments, it stains the esteem of many young women. This expands beyond high school walls and exists in college, in churches, within families and even between couples.

Do you know there are men who laugh in the face of women who confide in them about their celibacy? Do you know that men are so keen on monitoring the private lives of all women, even their daughters, that they disregard promoting safe sex at all? The problem is that men couldn’t care less about the damage being irreversible, unless it’s related to them.

The classic rules of the game are that there’s shame at either end of the spectrum. Either you’re a prude or a slut. The easiest way to win always seems to remain ambiguous. This means you won’t be faced with ridicule. However, this indicates that people—sex workers, sexologists and those who simply embrace their sex lives—should feel shame. The real way to win means not to care at all.

It sounds simple on paper, I know. To this day, I can admit it’s a bit of work to unravel all that’s been instilled in me. I am not less worthy because I don’t cling to this societal concept. It’s liberating, actually.

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